Zion Ministries - Bible prophecy
SHOULD THE ANNUAL HOLYDAYS BE KEPT TODAY?
The annual Holydays, the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, the Old Covenant , the New Testament - what is the link between these? What are the obligations of Christians today concerning these things? Are Christians still obliged to observe the Old Covenant or has it been done away and replaced by a better covenant? Don't be too sure you know the answers to these questions.
By Neville V. StevensNew International Version used throughout unless otherwise specified
Some have assumed that the annual Holydays were a part of the Old Covenant and are no longer to be a part of the New Covenant. This assumption is made because these Holydays were formally given in writing at the time of the formation of the Levitical priesthood(Lev 23). Some would argue that they are a part of the Old Covenant and are no longer a requirement of Christianity. But is this true?
Those who have proposed the forsaking of the Holydays have confused the differences between the Old and New Covenants. A covenant is an agreement. God made a covenant with Abraham. He also made covenants with Noah, David, and others. After the Exodus, He remembered the covenant with Abraham and renewed it with Isaac, Jacob and the children of Israel. The first or Old Covenant included an agreement between the tribes of Israel and God. It was structured on mutual agreement and conditions. On the one hand, Israel offered obedience to God, and God in return promised them the land of Canaan and certain other blessings.
Very early after entering this covenant, Israel broke it. They made a golden calf to worship. An enraged Moses called for a division of those who were with him and those who were against him. Moses' own people, the Levites stood with him. Moses then commanded them to destroy those who had taken part in the rebellion. The Levites slaughtered some 3,000 people. This was a poignant reminder of the penalty of blood for sin. The 3,000 died by the sword for their rebellion(Ex 32:26-29).
Moses then had to approach the Creator and seek reconciliation.
Aaron told Moses that the people had become alarmed that he, Moses, had been gone for many days and probably wouldn't return. It was then that they decided that they should have a god to go before them. Aaron said to Moses,"You know what these people are like." (Ex 32:22). Moses and Aaron certainly knew what they were like - and so did God! God knew from the very start what they were like! They were ordinary, carnal, human beings, but with the potential to be like their father Abraham if given the right guidelines. God knew well in advance that they would violate His law, and He had already set contingency plans in place. While they were in the very act of making the golden calf, God was advising Moses on the procedures for setting up the Levitical priesthood.
Prior to all this, Moses was instructed on the Sabbath laws(Ex 16:28-29, 23:10), the annual holydays (Ex 23:14-17), supplies for the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and the lampstand (Ex 25), the construction plans for the Tabernacle (Ex 26), the altar of burnt offering, the construction of the courtyard, and the supply of olive oil (Ex 27), the priestly garments, the Urim and Thummin (Ex 28), the consecration of the priests, and the procedures for the animal sacrifices (Ex 29), the incense altar, procedure for offering incense and its supply, recipe for the anointing oil (Ex 30), the appointment for the artisans to build the Tabernacle and the Ark, and another reminder to keep the Sabbath (Ex 31). In the very next chapter of Exodus, while Moses was still up on Mount Sinai, the children of Israel decided to build a golden calf.
Importantly, the covenant had been ratified with blood. Agreement had been reached and all the formalities completed. This is why Moses was in the mountain with God - to receive the engraved tables of the testimony(Ex 31:18).
After the disobedience of making the calf idol, it was necessary for God to provide many guidelines and fail-safe mechanisms that would lead them to understand the prudence of obedience.
WERE THE HOLYDAYS ADDED?
This is where the lines become blurred in the minds of some who believe that the Holydays are no longer a part of the New Covenant. Because the description of the Holydays was later recorded in the book of Leviticus after the Levitical priesthood was established, they have wrongly assumed that this was the time of the establishment for all the Holydays. This is not so! They had already been told of the requirements of keeping the annual Holyday Feasts when they first arrived at Mount Sinai(Ex 23:14-17).
Even before leaving Egypt, the Israelites were introduced to God's Holydays. This was before any formal covenant was entered into. They kept the Passover and the days of unleavened bread. Clearly, God was introducing them to His Holydays.
Well it's very clear that God gave ancient Israel His Holydays as a perpetual covenant, but what of Christians and the New Covenant? Christ didn't do away with the old priesthood, but He certainly established a new one. Not to replace the old but to establish a whole new order of things. And since there was a change of priesthood, it follows that a change of law was required. Paul clarified this:Heb 7:11 "For if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come - one in the order of Melchisedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, THERE MUST ALSO BE A CHANGE OF THE LAW." So although the Levitical priesthood is established forever, together with all the laws that accompanied it, a new priesthood has arisen - after the order of Melchisedek. How long was the Levitical priesthood to last? Was it only to last until Christ - the son of David? This is what the Bible says: Jer 33:17 "For this is what the LORD says: 'David will never fail to have a MAN to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are LEVITES, ever fail to have a man to stand before me CONTINUALLY to offer BURNT OFFERINGS, to burn GRAIN OFFERINGS and to present SACRIFICES." So even though Christ was born of the line of David, and He was born to be a king, He doesn't currently sit on the throne of the House of Israel. When asked by Pilate if He were a king, He said: John 18:37 "...You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth." Jesus currently sits on the Father's throne awaiting the time when He will receive the crown and return.
But the scripture speaks of a MAN who will sit on throne of the house of Israel. Just as surely as Christ is NOT a priest of the Levitical priesthood, neither is He the MAN who is currently sitting on the throne of the house of Israel.
It's not by chance that the throne of David and the Levitical priesthood are linked in this scripture in Jeremiah. It's on these two great covenants - the one to David, and the other to the Levitical priesthood, that everything in the scriptures - including the prophets, revolves. Both the throne of David and the Levitical priesthood were established by covenant - eternal covenants! And God affirms that He will never break these covenants!Jer 33:19 "The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: "This is what the LORD says, 'If you can break My COVENANT with the day and My COVENANT with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, THEN My COVENANT with David My servant - and My COVENANT with the Levites who are priests ministering before Me - can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. I will make the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister before Me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.'" What we are being told here is that nothing that humanity can do will result in God breaking these covenants! And what is more, the Levites are to be 'as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.' This certainly hasn't yet happened!
So the covenant with David and the covenant with Levi are still in effect! And so are all the laws that were part of that covenant. Nothing is diminished. If any of the laws that were a part of these covenants have been done away, then God has broken the covenant. But God gives His absolute assurance that He has not broken these covenants. When we therefore speak of the Old Testament, or more correctly, the Old Covenant, we are speaking of the COVENANT with the Levitical priesthood - which God has established forever! And that Old Covenant encompasses all the laws, statutes, holydays, procedures, AND the law of Moses. Nothing is diminished from that COVENANT! It's still in effect!
But for whom? Jeremiah explains:Jer 33:2 "This is what the LORD says, He who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it - the LORD is His name: 'Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things YOU DO NOT KNOW.'" Here God reaffirms that He is the Creator who formed and established the earth. Then He speaks of 'unsearchable things'. Everything to do with God's Word is searchable in the scriptures if we follow all the principles that God has set out, therefore, what is being spoken of are things that fall outside of the doctrine of the Bible - unsearchable things! Since God is speaking of the earth, its formation and establishment, He is speaking of things to come - that pertain to the physical earth. Jeremiah continues to speak of the physical return of Judah and Israel, and of the physical conditions that will exist at that time: Jer 33:6 "Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it [Jerusalem]; I will heal My people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them AS THEY WERE BEFORE. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against Me. Then this city [Jerusalem] will bring Me renown, joy, praise and honour before all nations on earth that hear all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it."
This has certainly not yet happened! But these things are not the 'unsearchable things' since they are all prophesied in other places. God is speaking of His creation - the earth and what it was, and what it is to become. It is these things that the world cannot understand, and of which God says:'Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things YOU DO NOT KNOW.' Through the prophet Isaiah, God taunts those who think they know: Isa 41:21 "Present your case," says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King. "Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so that we may know you are gods." Again through the prophet Isaiah, God hurls ridicule on those who think they understand the great mysteries of God's creation: Isa 44:24 "...I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of His servants and fulfills the predictions of His messengers." Failing to acknowledge God as the Creator is idolatry!
So for whom is the Old Covenant going to continue?Jer 33:14 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of ISRAEL and to the house of JUDAH. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land [of Judah]. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: 'The LORD Our Righteousness.'" Clearly this promise is the reward of obedience to the Covenant - the physical inheritance and possession of the Holy Land - 'AS THEY WERE BEFORE' (Jer 33:7). So God will again establish the whole House of Israel - all 12 tribes, back in the Holy Land, and they will again keep the COVENANTS that God made with David and with the Levitical priesthood. And just so there is no misunderstanding on this point, we should understand that Christ is the High Priest only to those He has called under the New Testament. If Christ was on earth today, He would not be a priest! We need to understand why! Paul explains: Heb 8:3 "Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this One [Christ] also to have something to offer. IF HE WERE ON EARTH, HE WOULD NOT BE A PRIEST, for there are ALREADY MEN WHO OFFER THE GIFTS PRESCRIBED BY LAW. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the Tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which He is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises." Did Paul suggest that these men who were offering these gifts according to law - many years after Christ's earthly ministry, were doing it in violation of the New Testament? No, he didn't! He said they were doing it 'AS PRESCRIBED BY LAW.'
Here was the perfect opportunity for the Apostle Paul to nail it down once and for all! He had already proven that the priesthood had been established through the order of Melchisedek, together with the necessary change of law(Heb 7:12). He even explained that the priesthood of Melchisedek preceded the Levitical priesthood in that it was established with Abraham - before Levi was even born (Heb 7:1-5, 10). So if the Old Covenant was to be done away, Paul had the perfect opportunity to say so! Instead he said that these Levite priests who offer the gifts were doing so as 'PRESCRIBED BY LAW.'
Now it should also be stressed that Melchisedek collected tithes from Abraham. When you stop and think about it, who else could Abraham pay tithes to? It is to the priestly order of Melchisedek that all the descendants of Abraham should be paying tithes - not anyone else! And to whom did Melchisedek, the priest of God, designate the responsibility of collecting tithes? Let the Apostle Paul explain:Heb 7:4 "Just think how great He was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave Him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people - that is, their brothers - even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This [person], however, did not trace His descent from Levi, yet He collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by Him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tithe, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchisedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor." Yes, you read it right! Melchisedek entrusted the collection of tithes to the TRIBE OF LEVI and no other! Little wonder that the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong tried to convince everyone that the majority of those in the ministry were of the TRIBE OF LEVI. It was a bare-faced lie in that Herbert W. Armstrong had already claimed to have ancestry into the British royal family - who are NOT of the TRIBE OF LEVI!
Under the new order of things, and under the administration of the two endtime prophets, the LEVITE - who is a type of John the Baptist and the Elijah to come, will collect the tithes, and God gives very specific instructions on what this money will be used for!
What about this priesthood of Melchisedek? Is it to last forever like the Levitical priesthood?Heb 7:17 "For it is declared, "You are a priest for ever, in the order of Melchisedek."" (See also Ps 110:4 from where this verse is quoted, for further proof that Christ is Melchisedek). If both priesthoods are to continue to exist, what is the purpose of each? The full answer to this question will shock many people, because they have never known the purpose of 6,000 years of human suffering.
Let's recap on what has been established from the scriptures so far: The Levitical priesthood is the only priesthood on earth today. If Christ, the High Priest of the order of Melchisedek were on earth today He would not be a priest because there are others who perform this function(Heb 8:4). They serve as the representatives of Melchisedek, in collecting tithes and administering the law. They have been appointed by God to this role, and their function is to continue forever. This much was made very clear by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Hebrews. As always, with Bible study, we must go to other scriptures for the expansion of concepts. The Bible always explains! In this matter, the Book of Malachi clarifies it. This Book gives specific detail on the function of Levi. Does it speak of the whole tribe of Levi? No, it doesn't! It speaks of one man - from the tribe of Levi! Let's now, once and for all, establish what the Book of Malachi is telling us!
The Churches of God believe they fulfill the role of Levi. They don't! They were called to an entirely different priesthood, and their High Priest is in heaven serving the Father at the True Tabernacle - not an earthly copy(Heb 8:2). God knew at the very outset that the Churches of God would fail in their duty to complete the task set before them. For this reason, He designated seven spirits to the seven Churches to go out to the world with a message that was variously corrupted. He chose seven Churches in Asia Minor - where Satan the devil lived - to complete this task. In complete accord with God's intentions, these Churches became established in this endtime with a corrupted message. God is about to conduct the purification process and lead them to truth. The prophecy states that only two of these will willingly listen and be purified. The others will resist.
THE BOOK OF MALACHI
The Book of Malachi is an endtime book - few Bible students would doubt this. The very name 'Malachi' means 'messenger.' Neither the Bible nor secular history identifies who this man 'Malachi' was. This book speaks of two messengers: one is Levi, and the other is Christ. The message is to the House of Israel(V1). The third chapter details these two messengers. Mal 3:1 "See, I will send My messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to His TEMPLE; the Messenger of the Covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of His coming? Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifer of silver, He will purify the LEVITES and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD as in days gone by and in former years."
These verses are NOT referring to Christ's first appearance, even though Christ and John the Baptist partially fulfilled this prophecy. It speaks of a time when many will not be able to endure the Day of His Coming. Nor were the Levites refined like gold and silver, and nor did they begin offering sacrifices that were acceptable to the LORD as in former times. And just to ensure this is clearly understood, God speaks of these sacrifices:Mal 1:13 "...When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD. "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the LORD. For I am a great King," says the LORD Almighty, "and My name is to be feared among the nations." (See also V7-11). God makes very clear what He is referring to when He speaks of acceptable offerings.
In the opening verses of Malachi chapter one, God speaks of His love for Jacob and His hatred for Esau. Of Esau He says:V4 "...They will be called the wicked land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. You will see it with your own eyes and say, 'Great is the LORD - even beyond the borders of Israel.'" Who is Esau today? They are among those who live in the land that God promised to Abraham. They are the driving force behind the Palestinian movement. A treacherous and loathesome mob whom God has continually cursed - and hates! He refers to them as the 'wicked land' and this land extends beyond the promised land (V5). God says He will turn their mountains into wasteland, and whenever they decide to build, God says He will demolish! (V4). Is there any land occupied by these disgusting people that is not a wasteland? The homeland of Judah, modern Israel today, on the other hand is thriving. They have reclaimed the desert areas, built houses, industry, and established many Godly principles by which they live.
In short, God has cursed Esau and plans to erase them from the face of the earth. This is what He says:Obad 1:17, 21 "But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the House of Jacob will possess its inheritance. The House of Jacob [the Jewish nation of Israel - Isa 48:1] will be a fire and the House of Joseph a flame; the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it. There will be no survivors from the house of Esau." The LORD has spoken." V21 "Deliverers will go up from Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the Kingdom will be the LORD's." A further description of this event is found in Zech 12:1-6.
Why did God mention this about Esau in the opening verses of Malachi? The reason is that God is to show the nation of Israel - the Jewish nation - to be invincible immediately before He pours out His Spirit of grace and supplication on the clans of David and Levi (See all ofZech 12). Just 'beyond the borders of Israel', another 'wicked land' will be eyeing Jerusalem with envy. The Palestinians will be the cannon-fodder in this great display of God's might. This other wicked land will be headed by the second beast - the beast of Babylon who will be planted in a house that is currently being built, and which features the throne-room of Nebuchednezzar (Zech 5:7-11). (See the article: The Beast of Daniel). From modern Iraq will arise the beast of Babylon - Satan incarnate - who will use flattery to gain access to the Holy Mountain where he will set up an image of the first Beast. This will be done through treachery and rebellion in Judah (Dan 8:9-14). Supporting this beast will be two Churches - Thyatira and Pergamum. They will revert to type and use the wily deception of Balaam and Jezebel to entice people to participate in idolatry and the fornication that accompanies it (Rev 2:14, 21). But the people who know their God will firmly resist this beast! (Dan 11:31).
THE LEVITICAL COVENANT
There are many scriptures that prove that the Book of Malachi speaks of the very latter days; for exampleMal 3:1-2, 4:1, 5. These speak of the return of Christ and the 'great and terrible day' of His return. It speaks of the re-establishment of the covenant with LEVI, the sacrifice of animals, and the appearance of the messenger of Levi - the latter-day Elijah. It's clear that this messenger is to prepare the way for another Messenger - the Mighty Christ (3:1). It's also clear that Christ is to come to the temple in Jerusalem (same verse) - not as the humble carpenter, but as a mighty conqueror - the King of kings and the Lord of lords. If Christ is to appear at the Temple, then it's obvious that one is soon to be built - otherwise this prophecy would fail. From the detail in Malachi chapter one, it is obvious that sacrifices will be reinstituted in this Temple. God says He will refuse to accept the offerings at the hands of these priests and gives the reasons why: Mal 1:6 "A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due to Me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who despise My name. But you ask, 'How have we despised your name?' You place defiled food on My altar. But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with YOU? Would he ACCEPT YOU?" says the LORD Almighty. "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from YOUR HANDS, will He accept YOU?" - says the LORD Almighty."
Who are these priests that God won't accept? The answer is they are self-appointed frauds! God makes this very clear! Even in the days of John the Baptist, this same situation existed. The Jews were priests instead of the Levites! NoticeJohn 1:19 "Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests AND Levites to ask him who he was." Even at that time the Jews had decided to serve in the Temple as priests in place of the Levites. These Jews reasoned that since they were performing Temple duties God had to accept them.
In the Book of Malachi God prophesies that this same situation will exist in the new Temple soon to be built:Mal 2:1 "And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honour My name," says the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honour Me. Because of you I will rebuke your descendants, I will spread on your faces the offal from your FESTIVAL sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent this admonition so that MY COVENANT WITH LEVI MAY CONTINUE," says the LORD Almighty. "My COVENANT was WITH HIM, a COVENANT of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction - because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; YOU HAVE VIOLATED THE COVENANT WITH LEVI," says the LORD Almighty. "So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed My ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law." When the Lord, the Messenger of the Covenant comes to His temple, He will refine the Levites like gold and silver to offer righteous sacrifices that will be acceptable to Him as they were in former times (Mal 3:1-4). This will be the time of JUDGMENT (V5).
You will notice that throughout chapters 1 and 2 there is NO suggestion that sacrifices should NOT be offered; on the contrary, God specifies that He desires pure offerings acceptable to Him! And furthermore, He insists that they are offered in accordance with the COVENANT that He made with Levi! You will also notice that God refers to FESTIVAL or HOLYDAY sacrifices. These FESTIVAL SACRIFICES will continue IN THE MILLENNIUM:Zech 14:16 "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." V21 "Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD ALMIGHTY, and all WHO COME TO SACRIFICE will take some of the pots and cook in them."
Isaiah prophesied of this:Isa 2:2 "In the last days, the mountain of the LORD's TEMPLE will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills (Zech 14:10), and ALL NATIONS will stream to it. MANY PEOPLES WILL COME and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the House of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths." The LAW WILL GO OUT FROM ZION, the WORD of the LORD from JERUSALEM. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more." The Temple referred to here is NOT the New Jerusalem that will descend from heaven; it is a separate building. The New Jerusalem City will NOT have a temple in it (Rev 21:22) because the Lord God Almighty (the Father) and the Lamb are its temple (same verse). And nor will the nations of the earth be permitted to enter - but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev 21:27).
The Temple will be built by human beings(Zech 6:15) in Jerusalem according to the pattern laid out by God in Ezekiel 40-48. This Temple will have a river flowing under its threshhold with the tree of life growing along its banks (Eze 47:1, 12). This river will emanate from the throne of the Father and of the Lamb down the main street of Jerusalem and under the threshhold of the Temple. It will have the tree of life bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit each month for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:1-4).
Malachi also speaks of profaning the covenant of the fathers in breaking faith with one another. This is what he says:Mal 2:10 "Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?" In the first instant, he speaks of the One who created us all as our one Father. Then he refers to the covenant of our fathers [plural]. This is the covenant that God established with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the fathers [plural] of Israel.
THE PATRIARCHAL COVENANT
Few people realize just how important this covenant is! And neither do they realize what the terms were for this important covenant with the three Patriarchs! The importance of this covenant can never be over-estimated! It is central to the whole purpose of the Bible! No-one has ever understood it, yet many have tried to explain it. The full explanation is found in the article: WHO IS JESUS CHRIST? Because the Book of Malachi refers to it in an endtime prophecy, it's important to know some of the background.
God initially made this promise to Abraham:Gen 12:1 "The LORD appeared to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Abraham obeyed, and when he had arrived at Shechem (30 miles north of present-day Jerusalem) God appeared to him again (V7). This time, God extended the promise to include possession of all the land of Canaan, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates river (Gen 15:18). Twenty-five years later, God again appeared to Abraham and promised him that a son would be born to his wife Sarah. Isaac was born the following year.
Later, God put Abraham to the test by ordering him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham obeyed, and immediately made preparations by journeying three days to the place of the sacrifice. Standing on the peak of Mount Moriah(Gen 22:2-5), with knife poised above Isaac, Abraham prepared to obey God's command - then God intervened. Abraham was willing to obey God without question. Equally important, Isaac also realized what was required, when his father bound him and placed him on the altar (V9-10). In this stark but profound example of obedience God was demonstrating the future reality of the sacrifice of a Son. In this former enactment, Abraham was the Father, and Isaac the Son. At the crucial moment in the future re-enactment, no male lamb would be provided as a substitute. The Son would be the male Lamb and would die!
In the example of Abraham and Isaac, God was ensuring that the Holy Seed that He had placed within Abraham and his son would produce obedience in the most extreme circumstances. Of all the people on earth at that time, God chose Abraham - Because He was seeking Godly offspring(Mal 2:13). This extreme act of obedience enabled God to make His covenant with Abraham unconditional (Gen 22:15-17).
From that moment on, the covenant was established forever through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Although Abraham and Isaac had other sons, this Seed was continued only through Jacob. Since God had already told Abraham that his offspring were to live in slavery for 400 years after his death, the Seed had to be tested for obedience in slavery. This time God chose the prophet Joseph. He was sold into slavery and emerged triumphant. Shortly afterwards, the whole family of Israel began the long so-journ in Egypt.
In BC 1526, when one of the crowned heads of the serpent(Rev 12:3) was ruling in Egypt, an attempt was made to destroy the future leader who would lead the house of Israel out of slavery. This ruler - the Destroyer - killed all the children under two years old. But he missed one, and that one became a member of his own household. Moses was the man God had chosen to lead the children of Israel out of slavery. 1440 years later, in 4 BC, when the fifth crowned head of Satan was ruling (Rev 17:10) - through the person of Herod the Great, a similar attempt was made to kill the 'prophet just like Moses' (Deut 18:15-18) which of course was Christ (Acts 3:21-22).
When Moses, the Levite, led the children of Israel out of Egypt, God went before them as a husband leads a bride. In the wilderness of Sinai, God proposed a covenant, that was later ratified with blood. This covenant confirmed the one that God made with Abraham; but it went one stage further! The covenant with the 12 tribes of Israel was a marriage covenant! The Husband demanded the obedience of the bride - and the bride agreed! The marriage was made.
The prophet Jeremiah later disclosed details of this marriage:Jer 2:1 "The word of the LORD came to me, "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: 'I remember the devotion of your youth, how AS A BRIDE YOU LOVED ME and followed Me through the desert, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the FIRSTFRUITS of His harvest; all who devoured her WERE HELD GUILTY, and disaster overtook them.' declares the LORD" Here we find the declaration of the 'first love' of Israel. Notice also that it is Israel that is the 'FIRSTFRUITS of the harvest.' The words 'all who devoured her WERE HELD GUILTY' are very significant! This is one of the reasons why the New International Version of the Bible is so superior to others. They faithfully render this verse exactly as it was intended - even down to using the personal pronoun 'her' which is intended to describe the 'bride'. Satan's brood care little about killing their own people (Isa 14:20-21), but when they reach out to harm the Bride of Christ - they are held guilty and God brings disaster on them. The Bride of Christ is detailed in Rev 7:4-8 and Rev 14:1-5. Twelve tribes are listed, with Joseph receiving a double portion in accordance with Jacob's prophecy (Gen 48:22). The serpent's seed - the tribe of Dan (Gen 49:17) - is omitted from the Bride of Christ. They will, however, receive the allotted portion of land in the millennium (Eze 48:1).
Throughout chapters 1, 2, and 3 Jeremiah details the violation of the marriage covenant. God speaks of the continual violations of the vows of all 12 tribes. God also speaks of 'faithless' Israel and 'unfaithful' Judah, thereby making a clear distinction between the two. The land of Ephraim (the United States of America), the home of all ten 'lost' tribes, is what the Bible refers to when speaking of the House of Israel. But only when a distinction is being made between Judah and Israel. God makes this very plain in the Book of Ezekiel:Eze 37:15 "The word of the LORD came to me, "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, 'Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.' Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, 'EPHRAIM'S stick, belonging to JOSEPH and ALL the HOUSE OF ISRAEL ASSOCIATED WITH HIM.' Join them together into one stick so that they will become ONE in your hand."" Clearly, all 12 tribes are again to be united in the Promised Land.
Most prophecy refers only to the southern kingdom of Judah, and this kingdom is often referred to as the 'House of Israel' or 'little Israel' or the 'house of Jacob.' In a reference to both, God has this to say:Jer 3:11 "The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. Go, proclaim this message towards the north: 'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry with you forever. Only acknowledge your guilt - you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favours to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,' declares the LORD. "Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I AM YOUR HUSBAND, I will choose one of you from every town and two from every clan and bring you to ZION. Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, WHO WILL LEAD YOU WITH KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING.""
There are many important references in these verses. Central to the theme is God's declaration: 'I AM YOUR HUSBAND.' He is the HUSBAND to all twelve tribes. The age-old rift between the northern and southern kingdoms is soon to be repaired(Eze 37:15-17). God calls Israel - the northern ten tribes - 'faithless Israel'! There are about 500 Christian religions in the United States of America, yet God calls them 'faithless'! They all act out the facade of believing IN God - but they won't BELIEVE Him nor will they receive His instruction from His word! More and more they are being hoodwinked into believing the 'scientific' nonsense that has emanated primarily from the House of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh! 'Science' falsely so-called, will have no answers for what is shortly to descend upon this earth! People will die like flies, billions of corpses will litter the earth - and still they won't understand! When they have totally exhausted all their 'science' resources to explain it, they will finally concede that 'This is indeed the hand of God.' But it will be too late! They will be plunged into the most mind-boggling destruction imaginable, with death on every side. Here they will be required to make important decisions!
God refers to Judah as 'unfaithful.' They who were always with the Father, who loved His Holy City passionately, who desired to be re-united with God as in the former days, who looked for the re-establishment of the kingdom of David under the promised Messiah, who expressed disappointment in Christ because He didn't live up to their expectations of an all-conquering king, and who still yet look for the Messiah, and desire to re-build the Temple - are called 'unfaithful'! It's the tribe of Judah, little Israel(Isa 41:14, 48:1-2) who have not lacked faith in God for millennia - but are to become unfaithful by a marrying foreign god. Finally they will leave the sanctity of their belief in the Creator God and will again prostitute themselves to a foreign god - a god of fortresses (Dan 11:38, Rev 13:14-15). Mal 2:10 "Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. As for the man that does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob - even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty." The Jews are actually going to allow an idol to be set up in the courtyard of the new Temple! (Dan 9:27, 11:31, 12:11, 2Thess 2:4). Christ also spoke of this: Matt 24:15 "So when you see standing in the Holy Place 'the abomination that causes desolation', spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." This will be the ultimate rebellion - a total betrayal of the Almighty God. Because this harlot Judah betrays her Husband, God will reject them in favour of the clans of David - through his sons Shimei and Nathan - who are merely a small thread of the whole tribe of Judah. They, together with the tribe of Levi, will spearhead the return to the true worship of the Almighty God (Zech 12:10-14). The royal clan of David will re-establish the marriage covenant with the Husband. From all over the house of Joseph, the 12 tribes will be gathered - 'one from every town, and two from every clan' (Jer 3:14) to complete the 144,000 (12,000 from each tribe) that make up the royal bride who will have the name of the Father as the Bride of the Son (Rev 14:1-5, 19:7). These 144,000 will be sealed against the holocaust that follows (Rev 7:3).
Now we come to chapter 3 of Malachi, which deals with the very endtime. We've already seen thatV1 deals with the messenger that will prepare the way for the Messenger of the Covenant. The endtime theme continues in Mal 3:6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from My decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. But you ask, 'How are we to return?' Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the WHOLE NATION of you - because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in MY HOUSE." How many churches have quoted these verses to entice their followers to send them their tithes and offerings? It is one of the most perverted uses of the scriptures in the Bible. It's not referring to any church - it's referring to the WHOLE NATION OF ISRAEL! God requires the nations of Israel to provide tithes and offerings for HIS HOUSE! Christ made clear what HIS HOUSE is! Matt 21:12 "Jesus entered the TEMPLE area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "IT IS WRITTEN," He said to them, "MY HOUSE will be called a HOUSE of prayer, but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" And where is this written? In the Book of Isaiah! Because of the great relevance of this passage, here it is in full: Isa 56:4 "To the eunuchs who keep My SABBATHS, who choose what pleases Me and hold fast to My COVENANT - to them I will give within My TEMPLE and its walls a memorial AND A NAME BETTER THAN SONS AND DAUGHTERS; I will give them an EVERLASTING NAME that will not be cut off. And FOREIGNERS (Rev 5:9-10) who bind themselves to the LORD to serve Him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship Him, all who keep the SABBATH without desecrating it and who hold fast to My COVENANT - these I will bring to My HOLY MOUNTAIN and give them joy in MY HOUSE OF PRAYER. Their burnt offerings will be accepted on My ALTAR; for MY HOUSE WILL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS." The Sovereign LORD declares - He who gathers the EXILES OF ISRAEL: "I will gather still others to them BESIDES those already gathered.""
So which HOUSE is it that God wants you to provide with tithes and offerings? Is it the local church? Or is it the mighty Cathedrals of Europe, Britain or America? You'd better believe that it's the Temple of God on His Holy Mountain - which must still be built! And who is to build the Temple? Will the Israeli government decide to build it? Or will all the Jewish synagogues and rabbis around the world club together to fund it? No they won't! God tells us who will build it! The article, The Two Endtime Prophets explains it all. These two men will take charge of the courts of the Temple - and will build it!(Zech 3:6-9, 4:7, 14). One from the tribe of Levi, and the other from the tribe of Judah - or more precisely from the clan of David. Many will assist them - all those who love Jerusalem, the Holy City (Isa 66:10). This is the time just before Christ returns and executes judgment on all men (V15-16). Zech 6:15 "Those who are far away will come and help to build the Temple of the LORD, and you will know that the LORD has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the LORD your God."
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God gives this instruction to the House of Israel:Eze 43:10 "Son of man, describe the Temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the Temple - its arrangements, its exits and entrances - its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations. This is the law of the Temple. All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the Temple."
One false prophet, who masquerades as a minister of the Church of God, says that the Temple will never be built in Jerusalem because the Arabs wouldn't allow it. He apparently believes that God is powerless to overrule the Arabs. Perhaps he thinks that God depends on the consensus of His enemies. Such disgusting frauds should hang their heads in shame! What God says He will do - He will do! No power in heaven or on earth will prevent it! And God says the Temple will be built!
THE NEW COVENANT
It's important to distinguish the difference between the Old and New Covenants with accuracy. Did Christ do away with the Holydays which He, Himself, kept? Did He expect His followers to ignore them?
Before His crucifixion, He set standards for keeping the Passover. If He was about to make the Passover redundant, then He had the perfect opportunity to say so when He had gathered those who were to take His gospel to those who would follow afterwards. Instead He showed them how they were to keep the Passover in the future as a memorial.
Was God still demonstrating to the disciples, after the resurrection, that the Holydays were still in force? We have absolute evidence that He was! It was on the day of Pentecost, fifty days later, that this great demonstration of God's power and His confirmation of the Holydays was made(Acts 2:1). Nearly 3,000 people in addition to the 120 disciples were gathered together, and when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Spirit descended upon them (Acts 2:40). The fact that all these disciples and the apostles were gathered together on this day is evidence enough that they knew they were to observe this day. If God had not intended this observance then it's unlikely that He would have presented such an impressive spectacle for all these people to commemorate it. This miracle clearly showed that God still honoured this specific day - the feast of Pentecost, as a requirement to all obedient Christians.
THE THREE SEASONS
The Holydays were divided into three seasons. The first was the Passover season, the second the Pentecost season, and third, the great harvest which included the feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the last Great Day.
The Passover is the period that commemorates the special salvation of the firstborn. While still in Egypt the Israelites observed the Passover. This was the night that God chose to destroy all the firstborn of Egypt. The death angel passed over all of Egypt and killed every firstborn in the land. It was through the Passover lamb's blood that the children of Israel were spared. Similarly, by the blood of the Passover Lamb - Christ, we are spared. Christ's blood has removed the death penalty over our lives, just as the Passover blood removed the death penalty from the lives of the firstborn of Israel. God named the Passover in accordance with the passing over of the death angel. Christ also used this term when He spent His last evening with his disciples.
Contrary to what you have been led to believe, Christ is the firstborn, and we are the firstborn only insomuch as Christ lives within us. There is no scripture that says that those who are called to the new priesthood are the firstborn. They are the firstfruits.
Was the blood of the Passover applied to save ALL Israel? Absolutely NOT! It saved only the firstborn of Israel. Similarly, the Passover of the New Priesthood of Christ saves only those who are the church (God's people) of the Firstborn (Christ).Heb 12:22-23 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven."
Under the Old Covenant, only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies - and only once a year - on the Day of Atonement. But those whose names are written in heaven may approach the Holy of Holies with confidence:Heb 10:19 "Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."
When Christ was about to offer true salvation to His followers by introducing them to the Most Holy Passover - the true flesh and blood of divinity, only a tithe of them remained. Of the 120 disciples only 12 became sons, and one of these was the son of perdition.
We should never forget that Christ replaced the flesh and blood of the passover lamb with His own flesh and blood. He told the people in the presence of the Scribes and Pharisees that they must drink His blood and eat His fleshJo 6:51-55 "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If a man eats this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for life of the world. Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you can eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
None of them understood what He meant. An argument broke out among them as to what it meant and whether it was lawful to drink blood. Incidently, the fact that they argued among themselves indicates that there were some who wanted to believe. As Christ always spoke in parables(Matt 13:10-15, 34), they had taken the meaning literally. It was only His disciples that were later taught what was meant. Many of His followers stopped following Him because of this (V66).
The point is that it was through the eating of Christ's flesh and the drinking of His blood that eternal life was given. This is so important that Christ said, unless they do this they don't have eternal life in them. The night before He died, on the Day of Passover, He showed them the meaning of these words, and gave them the bread and the wine which were to symbolize His body and blood. A careful reading of Matthew chapter 13 will show that He was speaking of bread and used the manna from heaven as an example. This clearly foreshadowed the symbolism of the manna that even His disciples never fully understood at that time.
Can you imagine any Christian claiming that the Passover bread and wine, and the commemoration of the very evening when Christ celebrated the PASSOVER, on the very Day of Passover, should not be observed as Christ instructed? Can you imagine any Christian substituting that evening for the following evening as the Passover? Can you imagine any Christian adopting the symbolism of the Jewish people (who are required to sacrifice a lamb - but don't) as the true Passover, even though they don't observe the Day of Passover as Christ observed?
Believe it or not, there are many of God's people who now observe Nisan 15 as the Passover! Nisan 15 is the First Day of Unleavened Bread - it is not the Passover!! It never was and never will be the Passover! Those who refuse to observe the Passover on the evening of Nisan 14, regardless of their arguments in support of Nisan 15, have no eternal life dwelling in them! So says Christ!
We renew the covenant with God every year on the Passover when we partake of the body and blood of Christ. It's on this day only that the wine and the bread are sacred, and only at the correct time. Can you imagine the consequences of a priest in ancient times entering the Holy of Holies on the wrong day? Do you understand why this ceremony is called the Passover, and why the blood was struck on the doorway of their homes in Egypt? It was to stop the death angel killing the firstborn in their homes. Just imagine what would have happened it they had decided to strike their doorway with blood the following night, because they had neglected to prepare a Passover lamb. The following night would have been too late. All the firstborn would have lost their lives.
The Passover is the only ceremony that can be observed one month later in extreme circumstances(Num 9:6-13). This shows the great importance of observing it once a year. It is so important that it is taken once a year on the correct day, that God has made allowances for a situation that might arise, that was beyond human endeavour and control, that prevents a true Christian from observing it on the true day. In such a case, it is permitted to take the Passover one month later.
The doorway of the Israelite homes corresponded to the veil of the temple - which corresponds to Christ. Just once a year the High Priest was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place. This was on the Day of Atonement. There is no such restriction on a true Christian - notice:Heb 10:19 "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God."
Notice the term used here is 'brothers', not anyone who decides he'd like to participate in the Passover. We enter with confidence into the Most Holy Place by the blood and body of Christ which we receive on the day of Passover - and no other day. No priest in ancient Israel would have dared to enter on the wrong day. It you take the Passover on the wrong day or in an unworthy manner, expect to face judgment!
There were possibly millions of lambs slaughtered in ancient Israel on the Day of Passover. None of them is important! They were only symbols of the real thing - the Lamb of God. So the Passover lamb sacrificed by ancient Israel was merely a symbol, a pointer to a future event. They were not permitted to drink the blood - but they were permitted to eat the flesh.
The New Testament does away with the Old Testament symbolism. No longer is the blood sprinkled, we are to drink it in the form of holy symbols that represent the life of the Son of God - the true sacrificial Lamb.
Christ said, He had eagerly desired to eat this Passover with His Apostles:Luke 22:14 "When the hour came, Jesus and his Apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this PASSOVER with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until if finds fulfilment in the Kingdom of God."
Notice that Christ said He eagerly desired to eat the PASSOVER... What they were doing was observing the PASSOVER according to the instructions of the Father. Why is it that so many have decided to dishonour the Father? Who do they think they are, that they have decided to keep the Passover on the First Day of Unleavened Bread?
What is their authority for presuming to override the instructions of God? They choose to obey those who opposed Christ - the Scribes and Pharisees. Some have even set out ceremonial procedures for Nisan 15, involving a lamb's leg bone, and other paraphenalia that is never mentioned by Christ. They also claim that this 'seder' or leg bone is the substitute for the lamb. Where did they get this unscriptural reasoning from? From the Jewish religion - who are still under the Old Covenant and are required BY GOD to sacrifice a lamb in accordance with the Law!! The Jewish people, and the whole world are still under the Old Covenant, and are still required to sacrifice a lamb on Nisan 14!
The New Covenant changes all the law relating to sacrifices. Under the Old Covenant they were forbidden to drink the blood(Lev 3:17). Under the New Covenant, this is a mandatory requirement for all of Christ's own. We have spoken of symbols - this is what the slaughtering of a lamb on the day of Passover was. It pointed to the one and only true Passover Lamb that was to be offered. Accordingly, once this supreme Sacrifice was made, symbolism became reality. Did Christ say, "Take drink of this cup which is a symbol...." No He did not! This is what He said: Matt 26:27-28 "Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE COVENANT, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Luke 22:20 "This cup is the NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD, which is poured out for you."
The BLOOD of Christ is the COVENANT! The blood of animals is not the Covenant for those whom Christ has called. Jesus further explained this to all the people in the synogogue at Capernaun:John 6:53-59 "Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the BREAD that came down from heaven. Our forefathers ate manna and died, but He who feeds on this BREAD will live for ever."
Anyone who eats the BREAD and drinks the WINE had better believe that they ARE the BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST!! To take of them unworthily is great sacrilege, and sacrilege is punishable by death(Josh 7:15). Paul made it clear that those who ate of the body and blood of Christ were in danger of dying and indeed, some had actually died. These people were obviously unconverted and were therefore still under the Old Covenant. ICor 11:27-32 "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be GUILTY OF SINNING AGAINST THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks WITHOUT RECOGNIZING THE BODY OF THE LORD eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world."
So the moment the wine is decantered, and the bread is placed unbroken on the plate, in preparation for the taking of the Passover, it is HOLY AND SACRED. None, except those who are truly converted Christians, may participate in this most sacred of ceremonies. After the eating of the PASSOVER, none must remain until morning.
Only those whom God has called to His special family of sons and daughters are exempt from the requirement of sacrificing a lamb, because the Supreme Sacrifice applies only to them!Heb 9:15 "For this reason Christ is the Mediator of a NEW COVENANT, that THOSE WHO ARE CALLED may receive the PROMISED ETERNAL INHERITANCE - now that He has died as a ransom to set them free FROM THE SINS COMMITTED UNDER THE FIRST COVENANT." V27-28 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him."
Christ is the Mediator of a New Covenant - not the Old! He has replaced the old priesthood with the new - for 'THOSE WHO ARE CALLED'!
If anyone dares to change anything that Christ, Himself, has instituted - let him be accursed! Satan is very clever at changing the correct day to the following day, just as he has with the Sabbath to Sunday for his followers. This same presence of evil was in Jeroboam when he changed the festivals in the seventh month (Lev 23) to the eighth month (IKings 12:32-33). Be assured that if you take of the BLOOD OF CHRIST on the First Day of Unleavened Bread instead of the day of PASSOVER, when Christ's blood was shed, you will die! YOU WILL HAVE NO PART IN CHRIST!
WHO IS THE AUTHORITY?
Some in the Church have claimed that the Scribes and Pharisees were the authority for deciding when and how the Holydays should be kept. They have reasoned that because they sit in Moses's seat, they have the full authority of God to determine all procedures for obedience in God's Church. These supporters of the Scribes and Pharisees (whom both John the Baptist and Christ severely criticised) would argue that Christians today are still under the authority of the old priesthood. In supporting them, they are denying our HIGH PRIEST - JESUS CHRIST!
Did Christ have the authority to change the Law? The Bible clearly tells us that He did! But He changed it only for those who were His own! Those who are not Christ's have no part of the Priesthood of Christ! That should be abundantly clear to any Christian(ICor 3:23, 7:22, 15:23, Gal 3:29, 5:24).
What Priesthood is being spoken of here? The Apostle Paul made it crystal clear! The Priesthood is after the order of Melchisedek - the very Priesthood recognized by Abraham, and no-one else, until the time of Christ.Heb 7:11-12 "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on that basis the Law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come - one in the order of Melchisedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is A CHANGE OF THE PRIESTHOOD, there MUST ALSO BE A CHANGE OF THE LAW."
There was certainly a CHANGE in the priesthood, because Christ was NOT of the TRIBE OF LEVI, but of the TRIBE OF JUDAH. Nothing that Moses ever said related to a priesthood of Judah.Heb 7:14 "For it is clear that our Lord descended from JUDAH, and in regard to that tribe, MOSES SAID NOTHING ABOUT PRIESTS."
If then, there has been 'A CHANGE OF THE PRIESTHOOD', and of necessity, 'A CHANGE OF THE LAW', why would any Christian be so desperately trying to gain salvation through the Old Covenant by observing the teachings of the old priesthood? Particularly since the old priesthood refuses to keep the Passover according to Law! Nothing in their present day observance of the Passover is lawful. But say the supporters of the old priesthood, they should be telling Christ's people when and how to observe the Passover. This is mind-boggling insanity! Presumably, these crazy people would have followed the old priesthood out of obedience to them, in arresting Christ and killing Him. They apparently don't want to obey their own GOD PRIEST, but prefer to obey a human priest.
Christ said of the Scribes and Pharisees that they were blind; not once but many times. He said that when they make a convert"you make him twice the son of hell that you are." (Matt 23:15). So a convert (that obeys them) is twice as much a son of hell as they are. Christ said the kingdom of God would be taken from them. They were expecting the kingdom of God to appear and they expected to be appointed the rulers over it. Matt 21:43 "Therefore I tell you that the KINGDOM OF GOD will be taken away from you and given TO A PEOPLE WHO WILL PRODUCE ITS FRUIT." It's clear that those who believe we should be listening to the Scribes and Pharisees on doctrinal matters - or any matter - have not understood anything. They surely couldn't ever have understood the meaning of the book of Galatians where Paul warned them not to listen to Pharisaical teachings.
The Book of Hebrews is reinforcing a CHANGE OF PRIESTHOOD. A whole new era for those who are Christ's. The change in priesthood emphasizes the abolition of all sacrifices in favour of the one true Sacrifice - the once only offered Lamb of God. There are no more ceremonial procedures that were previously conducted by the old priesthood. Christ is now our High Priest for ever:Heb 7:17 "For it is declared, "You are a Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
Therefore, it is Christ that determines all matters of doctrine - and not any other authority!
Once the Holy Spirit dwells within you, and for the rest of your lives, this commemoration of the death of Christ is to be conducted on the same anniversary every year. This is in accord with what Christ said; that as often as they do this they commemorate His death:ICor 11:23-27 "For I received from the Lord, what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, AFTER supper He took the cup, saying, "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; do this, [when] you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you EAT THIS BREAD and DRINK THIS CUP, you PROCLAIM THE LORD'S DEATH UNTIL HE COMES."
The wine symbol represents the blood of the New Covenant - Christ's blood! It is not a frivolous symbol - but the very blood of Christ! Furthermore it IS the NEW COVENANT! Notice the words 'This CUP is the NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD'. It is those who partake of CHRIST'S BLOOD on the CORRECT DAY and in an APPROPRIATE MANNER that Christ has the NEW COVENANT with - AND NO-ONE ELSE!
For those in the Church who now believe that anyone can take the 'Lord's supper' which is their substitute for the PASSOVER, readICor 11:25 again. Notice the word 'supper' as you read the above verse again; you will note that the cup was taken by Christ and distributed to the 12 apostles AFTER supper. This taking of the blood of the New Covenant had nothing whatsoever to do with any supper! The Passover is not the 'Lord's supper.' It is a heinous sin to even suggest that it's a supper or any kind of meal! Notice ICor 11:34 "IF ANYONE IS HUNGRY, HE SHOULD EAT AT HOME, so that when you meet together [to take the Passover] it may not result in judgment [of God - V29].
To suggest that it is a supper or meal of any kind will result in judgment - and that judgment is death! Notice what Paul said:ICor 11:20 "Wherefore when you come together in one place, it is NOT to eat the Lord's supper." If you think that 'Lord's supper' is referring to the Passover let's substitute the word 'Passover' and read it again. "When you come together in one place it is not to eat the Passover." Does it still make sense? The following verses plainly show that they had indeed come together to observe the PASSOVER; they had not come to have supper! And Paul warned them not to come and eat supper on this night! Study all the following scripture again and be assured that it you don't take it seriously you will suffer terribly. Brethren, you have been warned! The observance of the PASSOVER is a great honour reserved only for those who are Christ's. And anyone who doesn't have the Spirit of Christ is none of His (Rom 8:9). Read again the whole passage: ICor 11:27-34 "Therefore, whoever EATS THE BREAD or DRINKS THE CUP of the Lord in an UNWORTHY MANNER will be GUILTY OF SINNING AGAINST THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD. A man ought to examine himself before he EATS OF THE BREAD and DRINKS OF THE CUP. For anyone who eats and drinks WITHOUT RECOGNIZING THE BODY OF THE LORD eats and drinks JUDGMENT on himself. This is why MANY AMONG YOU are WEAK AND SICK, and a number of you have fallen asleep (died). But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. So then my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, HE SHOULD EAT AT HOME, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give you further directions."
Notice that Paul is addressing'my brothers', and that 'many among you' are weak and sick, and also that the judgment threatened is so that 'WE will not be CONDEMNED with the world.'
Some have argued that Judas Iscariot participated in the PASSOVER with Christ, thereby indicating that others, apart from Christ's own, can also participate. They overlook the fact that Judas died violently soon after and was accursed. To even suggest that the betrayer of Christ's blood was worthy to participate in the NEW COVENANT PASSOVER is blasphemy!
Some have also suggested that the Apostles didn't yet have the Holy Spirit and since they observed the Passover with Christ, this means that others without the Holy Spirit could also observe it. The scriptures say that the Apostles did have the Holy Spirit with them:John 14:17 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But YOU KNOW HIM, for he LIVES with you and will be IN you." The Holy Spirit already lived with them! The world cannot accept the Holy Spirit. Nor do they know the Holy Spirit. Christ said, "But you know him" showing that the Holy Spirit was known to them. Those who want to be careless or cavalier with Christ's blood, and mislead God's people, are in very grave danger!
To their shame, those brethren who now say that the PASSOVER should be observed on the 15th of Nisan as the Jews do, are also corrupting the Word of God. They say that the 'last supper' was just that, a final meal between Christ and the disciples. They further state that the bread and wine symbols are merely a remembrance of Christ's death that may be taken anytime as a mark of respect for His death. This is not what the Bible says!! Now notice what it does say:Luke 22:10-15 "And He said to them, behold when you enter into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters in. And you shall say to the goodman of the house, The Master says to you, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall EAT THE PASSOVER with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said to them; and they MADE READY THE PASSOVER. And WHEN THE HOUR WAS COME, He sat down, and the 12 apostles with him. And He said to them, With desire I HAVE DESIRED TO EAT THIS PASSOVER with you before I suffer."
There can be no other explanation to these words that clearly state that Christ intended to keep the PASSOVER with his disciples who are further identified as the 12 apostles. (Judas was numbered with the 12, but he was not one of them -Jo 13:18). Notice also the words, 'when the hour was come'; this suggests an absolute commitment to timing. It doesn't suggest that the PASSOVER can be observed at any time of choosing.
No explanation of Passover observance would be complete without the foot-washing ceremony. Only the Apostle John mentions it in his Gospel account. It's not mentioned by Matthew, Mark and Luke. John doesn't mention the wine and unleavened bread part of the Passover ceremony. Perhaps you've never noticed this. Why did God inspire John's account of the Passover to only include the foot-washing part of it?
Of the four Gospel writers, John was the true prophet. He wrote of the end time; a period nearly 2,000 years into the future. The Book of Revelation only deals with the latter days. The significance of this is found in the words that Christ spoke when He prepared to wash the feet of the twelve:John 13:7 "Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Most good Bible commentaries (e.g. 'The New Bible Commentary Revised") will indicate that this statement referred to the post-resurrection period. This same reference book goes on to assume that the Apostles were so thick that they couldn't understand the meaning of humility - which is utter nonsense! They concede that Christ gave a partial explanation after He had finished washing their feet, but the full realization of its lesson of humility would not be understood until later. On this point their commentary is correct.
The foot-washing is commanded for all Christ's people:John 13:12 "When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" He asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord', and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed it you do them.""
The lesson of the foot-washing would seem to be merely a lesson in humility among God's true people. That's the way Peter saw it when he, at first, refused to let Christ wash his feet. But Christ's answer soon changed his mind:John 13:8 "Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Jesus had to wash their feet otherwise they would have no part with Him!
This was serious stuff! It takes on a whole new dimension when it's realized that their eternal lives depended on it! Peter then took it as deadly serious and wanted his hands and head washed as well. (Even Peter's reply was prophetic). He recognized this as more than a mere act of ablution. You will also notice that no-one washed Christ's feet.John 13:10 "Jesus answered, "A person that has bathed needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you."" Had Judas forgotten to take a bath? No! Jesus was speaking of being spiritually clean! A Christian is spiritually clean when he is baptised, and this is what Christ was speaking of. At a future time, those who are baptised will not be all clean. Their feet will be dirty. The washing of one another's feet will be to keep their feet clean. Only those who are fully Christ's will have clean feet and will not need their feet cleaned in the latter specific time that this prophecy refers to. This refers to the specific time just before Christ's return. At this time, Christ will wash their feet again!
The Prophet John was detailing a part of the Passover that was to have it's fulfilment in the very end time. If Christ had to suffer then so will His servants have to suffer:"the servant is not greater than his Master" (V16).
This whole foot-washing ceremony has profound meaning for the fulfilling of prophecy. Many of you will be shocked to understand its significance. The saints are to be handed over to the Beast and he will conquer them(Dan 7:25, Rev 13:7, Isa 57:1-2). This is to purify them and make them white in the Great Tribulation (Rev 7:14). Peter said this: 2Pet 3:10-11 "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming." He was speaking of great flames and heat. He was advising them to be holy and godly if they were to survive it. Isa spoke of this time: Isa 43:1 "But now, this is what the LORD says - He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." They are to walk through the fire and flames but will not be burnt! God's 'redeemed' will actually walk through blazing furnaces of heat and melted elements - but will not be harmed! Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These are God's people that He will redeem from the ends of the earth (V6).
You will also notice that they are to pass through rivers but they won't sweep over them. The prophet Isaiah further explains:Isa 11:12, 15 "He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth." V15 "The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people that is left in Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt." These sons and daughters of God will be able to cross the rivers 'in sandals'. Only their feet will get wet! Having been baptised in the fires - just like the Israelites were baptised in the Red Sea (1Cor 10:1-4), only their feet will need to be washed - because they walked away from God and so were taken into captivity. For this reason, Christians must wash each other's feet as a reminder not to stray from God. The prophet David gives us more information: Psalm 66:5 "Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works on man's behalf! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the RIVER on foot - come let us rejoice in Him. He rules for ever by His power, His eyes watch the nations - let not the rebellious rise up against Him. Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard; He has preserved our lives and kept OUR FEET FROM SLIPPING. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into PRISON [slavery] and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through FIRE and WATER, but you brought us to a place of abundance."
There are literally dozens of examples in the Bible about WALKING in God's ways. The feet can keep you on the right path or lead you into error. Christ said this:John 12:35 "Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. WALK while you have light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who WALKS in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become SONS OF LIGHT."
Paul also had something to say about the meaning of the FEET. He spoke of putting on the whole armour of God:Eph 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that WHEN THE DAY OF EVIL COMES, you may be able to STAND your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND. STAND firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your FEET FITTED WITH READINESS THAT COMES FROM THE GOSPEL OF PEACE." Here we see what the FEET represent! They are to be fitted with the readiness or preparedness of the GOSPEL OF PEACE. This was the reason that Christ washed their feet - to cleanse them and prepare them for the PURE GOSPEL! Christ said they were to wash one another feet to ensure that were spiritually clean. The physical act of washing one another's feet is a reminder. The reality of it is found in the Book of Malachi: Mal 3:16 "Then those who FEARED the LORD TALKED WITH EACH OTHER, and the LORD listened and heard. A SCROLL OF REMEMBRANCE was written in His presence concerning those who FEARED the LORD and HONOURED HIS NAME. "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up My TREASURED POSSESSION. I will spare them, just as a man spares his SON who SERVES him. And you will again see THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED, BETWEEN THOSE WHO SERVE GOD AND THOSE WHO DO NOT." What do you think these people talk about with each other? The weather? Sporting fixtures? No! These people fear the LORD and love Him! They speak about God's WORD with pure conversation! These people love God's WORD and hunger for it! As Moses said, following his recitation of the SONG OF MOSES: Deut 32:47 "They are not just idle words to you - THEY ARE YOUR WHOLE LIFE!" See also the reference to the SONG OF MOSES in Rev 15:3. You must discuss God's WORD among yourselves and encourage one another! This is how God determines 'the distinction between the righteous and the wicked.'
In the meantime, brethren, wash one another's feet on the Day of the PASSOVER. Contrary to what you have been led to believe, unconverted people should NOT take part! They are unworthy to take part in the foot-washing ceremony! Be warned!
ADDITIONS TO THE LAW
Christ said that nothing would be removed from the law or the prophets until all was fulfilled. But He said nothing of additions to these. In fact the whole of the New Testament has been added. So not only is the Old Testament undiminished by even a single word, we now have a total of 27 books added to the Bible. The New Testament ushers in an entirely new era, while preserving the total content of the Old.
It was many years after the death and resurrection of Christ, that the Apostle Paul, in discussing the Passover, put special emphasis on the worthiness of those participating(ICor 11:25-27). So even after many years, Paul understood the great significance of this memorial, and the requirement to enact it every year [as a memorial of Christ's death - V26].
It's amazing that some should imagine that the Holyday observance is no longer required. Of the three holyday seasons, the one that could be assumed to have been fulfilled is the Passover (which itself is not a holyday, but a part of the season which incorporates the Days of Unleavened Bread), yet Christ instituted its observance forever. If the PASSOVER season is still in effect today, and forever, then none could suggest that the other holyday seasons are done away, or even diminished in importance. Indeed, they too are a shadow of things to come. Without the observance of them every year, the whole plan of God becomes meaningless.
Christ plainly said that not the slightest stroke of the pen would be removed from the law or the prophets until all is fulfilledMatt 5:17-19 "Do NOT think that I have come to abolish the Law OR the Prophets, I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Till heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven."
Have all the prophecies been fulfilled? You might 'spiritualize' that Christ fulfilled all the law, howbeit wrongly, but you cannot conclude that all the prophecies have been fulfilled! The Apostle John recorded the prophetic book of Revelation many years after the death and resurrection of Christ, and many of the prophecies in this book are linked to prophecies of the Old Covenant! This clearly shows that all the prophecies are yet to be fulfilled.
Those who assume that the law of Moses is 'done away' would have great difficulty explaining Malachi chapter 4.Mal 4:4-5 "Remember the LAW OF MOSES, my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb, for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet BEFORE the coming of the GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY of the LORD."
The whole of Malachi 4 deals with the future return of Christ and the Day of the LORD and plainly shows that this is yet unfulfilled. It says:Mal 4:3 "You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this, says the LORD of hosts." Has this happened?
If the LAW OF MOSES is 'done away' then why does the scripture still say that this law, which is for all Israel, is to be remembered? Did God make a mistake in recording this? Did He forget that the sacrifice of Christ was to 'do away' with it?
No! God didn't make a mistake! The LAW OF MOSES is still in effect and enforceable, and will be in the Millennium. It's true that this poses a great dilemma for many people who have misunderstood the meaning of the book of Galatians and others by the Apostle Paul.
Many people, converted and unconverted alike, read the New Testament; but the whole of the New Testament, which covers the New Covenant period, is for those whom God has called at this time. These are a special group, a little flock, that God has called for a special purpose, and under a special covenant. Of all the people who have ever lived, these people are the ones, first and foremost, to whom the PASSOVER of the NEW COVENANT applies. They are the FIRSTFRUITS:Rev 14:4 "These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and OFFERED AS FIRSTFRUITS TO GOD AND THE LAMB. No LIE was found in their mouths; they are BLAMELESS." (See also Jas 1:18, Rom 8:23). They have their names recorded in the book of life, along with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets (Luke 13:28). Only the FIRSTFRUITS are exempt from the sacrificial and ceremonial laws established by Moses through the Levitical priesthood. The word 'lie' used here is described by other Bible versions as 'guile', 'deceit' and 'lie'. They were 'without fault' and 'blameless.' This describes a period when all true Christians will be of one accord. They will all understand the truth. This will only occur in the very latter days, and not before Christ uses force to get their attention. The wide diversity of opinion, and the fragmentation of the body of Christ will cease, but not by human means! The very hand of God is going to cleanse His Church. This will be the time when the sheep are separated from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, the tares from the good plants. But then you've always known that there were tares among the good wheat, and that these will be rooted out and burned by God's angels. What you haven't been willing to admit is that many of these tares are in the 'ministry'. They are self-appointed pariahs of evil!
LAW OF MOSESMal 4:5 says to "Remember the LAW OF MOSES my servant.." Which Law? Those who so strenuously argue that the old covenant is done away, also argue that this reference to the LAW OF MOSES is really referring to the Ten Commandments. Whoever wrote the book of Malachi, they believe, simply didn't make this clear. To believe that the LAW OF MOSES, and the Levitical priesthood would still exist in the Millennium is, to them, totally unacceptable.
When it comes to the book of Galatians, however, they do a complete backflip. The law spoken of here, they stress, is not the Ten Commandments, but the sacrificial law.
So what is the LAW OF MOSES? Is it the sacrificial law only? Those who have never understood the book of Galatians would argue that it is. The truth is that the LAW OF MOSES includes all the ceremonial law, all the sacrificial law, all the judgment law, and all the procedural law for the building of the Holy Artifacts - the Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, lampstand, table, the altar of the burnt offering, and the altar of incense, the priestly robes, the ephod, and the breastplate.
God gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments and the Holydays before the people insisted on hearing only from Moses(Ex 20:19). Everything else given them after this was the LAW OF MOSES!
The ceremonial law was to govern the activities of the Levitical priesthood. This was their responsibility. Everything that was done in the Tabernacle had to be done to a certain pattern according to the laws of given by Moses, and included the shewbread, incense, morning and evening sacrifices, which was the slaughtering of a lamb in the morning, and another in the evening. On the Sabbath, two lambs were slaughtered morning and evening(Num 28:9-10). This was the continual burnt offering and was mandatory.
The sacrificial law involved voluntary offerings, and included burnt offerings, grain offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, and peace offerings. The offering of these involved the people, or the person making the offering, and the priesthood. There were no set times for these, as for the morning and evening sacrifices, and were done when required by the people.
The judgment law set out all the penalties for sin and disobedience. These were administered by judges appointed from all the tribes; originally by Moses, and subsequently by the prophets. This whole administration was separate from the Levitical priesthood.
The Procedural law involved all the measurements and design of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant, the lampstand, the table, the altar of the burnt offering, and the altar of incense, the priestly robes, the ephod, and the breastpiece. The intricate procedural laws for the making of the Holy Artifacts required workmanship of outstanding ability. God called a special man to this task - Bezaliel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah(Ex 31:1-3). This is where the tribe of Judah becomes intimately involved in the law of Moses and the tabernacle/temple procedures. Bezaliel was very special, in that God placed His Holy Spirit in him to give him the very great talents needed for the task.
The LAW OF MOSES involved physical service, physical judgment, physical atonement, and a physical temple. All of these were written in a book by Moses and completed the terms of the Old Covenant - with one exception! That exception was that which was spoken and written by God - the Ten Commandments. This was not the LAW OF MOSES - this was the LAW OF GOD, that can never be changed. It is etched in stone as a permanent reminder that it is unalterable. These were the only words of the Covenant that were spoken by God in the presence of all the people at Mt. Sinai. Afterwards, at the request of the people, God spoke through Moses(Ex 20:18-19). All the rest of the laws were delivered by Moses.
HOLYDAYS - LAW OF MOSES?
What of the annual Holydays? Moses certainly wrote them out in great detail. And they were certainly a requirement of God towards Israel. But were they a part of the LAW OF MOSES?
Before Israel left Egypt, and even before they killed the Passover lamb, God thoroughly advised them of their obligations to keep the Holy Days by giving them very specific instructions about the first season - the Days of Unleavened Bread:Ex 12:14 "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a FESTIVAL to the LORD - a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day until the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat - that is all you may do. Celebrate the FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a LASTING ORDINANCE for the GENERATIONS TO COME. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast [leavening] from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days, no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is alien or native born. Eat nothing made with yeast [leavening]. WHEREVER YOU LIVE, YOU MUST EAT UNLEAVENED BREAD."
God made it clear enough for anyone to understand! And remember, this was before they observed their first PASSOVER in Egypt.
The Sabbath also was reinforced to them so as to make no mistake. In order that they understood that God required them to observe it, He provided them with manna from heaven with the proviso that they were to collect a double portion on the sixth day in preparation for the Sabbath(Ex 16:4). This was one month to the very day after they left Egypt (V1).
God later told the people of the THREE SEASONS that they were to observe. They were to present themselves to Him at each of these seasons. The first season was the planting, the second season was the first harvest of the fruits. The third season was the latter harvest.
The first season, called the Passover season, was introduced to them long before any mention was made of a covenant to them. In fact, they were made aware of it, and observed it while still in Egypt. Similarly, the Sabbath was enforced one month after they left Egypt. Both were instituted prior to any covenant being made. The annual Holydays and the Sabbath are the two components of the Commandments, statutes and laws of God that the world rejects. Any Bible student should be able to understand that obedience to the Ten Commandments and the annual Holydays was a prerequisite of the establishment of a covenant.
The Ten Commandments are the perpetual Covenant:Ex 34:28 "Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant - the Ten Commandments." It was God who wrote the words on the tables of stone that Moses made (Ex 34:1).
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
The Ten Commandments were spoken by God before the whole congregation(Ex 20:1-17), and before the people insisted on only hearing Moses. The Ten Commandments are eternal laws that will never disappear. Lucifer refused to obey God, thereby sinning against Him (Eze 28:14-16, IJohn 3:4). God is to ensure that it never happens again. The Ten Commandments are forever, and all spirit and human beings will obey them forever. They were in force in the Garden of Eden. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob obeyed them. They were not something new that God had just proclaimed at Sinai. They long antedated the Exodus from Egypt. Since obedience of them is required for all human beings, so also of the children of Israel.
Obedience to the Ten Commandments doesn't, however, equal salvation! Alternatively, disobedience to them does equal NO SALVATION! Those who refuse to obey them will not even be called to salvation! God will not even recognize anyone who won't obey Him!
So were the Ten Commandments a part of the LAW OF MOSES?
Let's understand one thing. There is no law that is not based upon the Ten Commandments. They are the foundation of all law. The LAW OF MOSES greatly expanded on them and enhanced their meaning to the children of Israel. Just as the LAW OF MOSES greatly expanded the meaning of the holydays and added many embellishments to their observance. The Covenant that God made with Israel's children incorporated the Ten Commandments, the Holydays, and the Law of Moses.
Moses was their leader, their law-giver, and he was also a type of Christ!(Deut 18:15-18, Acts 7:37). We also know that in the Millennium the LAW OF MOSES is going to be remembered by the Israelite people (Mal 4:4), and this at a time when the Old Covenant is to wax old and fade away. Notice what Paul says in the book of Hebrews: Heb 8:13 "By calling this covenant 'new', he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete will soon disappear." Paul is quoting from Jer 31:31-34 when he speaks of the new covenant. Who does it refer to? To the Church? No, it doesn't! It's referring to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL and the HOUSE OF JUDAH.
The Apostle Paul, in quoting the Old Testament, said this:Heb 8:8-13 "But God found fault with the people and said, "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of ISRAEL and the house of JUDAH. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and turned away from them, declares the Lord.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of ISRAEL after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my LAWS in their minds and WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." By calling this covenant "new", He has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear."
Has God made a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah? Has He yet written His Law in their minds and on their hearts? Do all those of the tribes of Israel and Judah, know God personally? Note the words:"..they will ALL know me, from the least of them to the greatest." Most of the House of Israel don't believe He even exists today! Clearly, the answer is no! This hasn't yet happened. But God says it will happen, and when it does, He will establish a new covenant with them. Does this refer to the New Covenant or Testament that we live under today? Again the answer is no! The New Testament is for the Body of Christ - and no other! At the return of Christ, the New Testament or Covenant will have been fulfilled (Rev 21:5-6). The new covenant that God will make with the House of Israel will be written on their hearts - not on tables of stone! This is the new covenant that God will make! And what will He put in their minds and write on their hearts? HIS LAWS!! ALL OF THEM! Including the LAW OF MOSES - which they are presently required to remember!
THE WILDERNESS SACRIFICE
The first of the three holyday seasons has been fulfilled both physically and spiritually. Physically in Egypt, when all the firstborn died in the land, and the firstborn of the children of Israel were spared by the blood of the Passover Lamb. Spiritually, when Christ was offered as the divine Sacrificial Lamb.
Moses had told Pharoah that God had instructed the Israelites to go three days into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to God. After three days they arrived at the shore of the Red Sea. Even though the people were frightened senseless by the pursuing armies of Pharaoah, some of them must have wondered what the sacrifice was that was to be offered. Some probably believed that they, themselves, were to be it. Three days had passed, where was the sacrifice? Moses was making no preparations for any sacrifice. In fear and panic they sought assurance from Moses.
Moses waved his staff over the Red Sea, and all that night the wind blew and parted the water. The next morning they passed through the Red Sea between the walls of water. The Apostle Paul observed that this was their baptism(ICor 10:2). As the last of the Israelites reached the other side and looked back at the approaching armies of Pharoah, and saw the waves closing in on them, they witnessed the great sacrifice that Moses had spoken of. Pharoah's armies were the sacrifice! On the very day of the wave sheaf offering, on the day after the Sabbath, Moses and the children of Israel were baptised in the sea, and accepted by God (1Cor 10:2).
OLD TESTAMENT PENTECOST
In the third month, after leaving Egypt, God announce that He would make a covenant with the children of Israel:Ex 19:1-2 "In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt - on the very day - they came to the Desert of Sinai ...and they camped there in the desert in front of the mountain." What does 'on the very day' mean? 'In the third month' doesn't signify a day, but rather a month. So what was this 'very day' that is referred to? It refers to the day of Pentecost that occurs fifty days after the weekly Sabbath of the Days of Unleavened Bread. It occurs seven sevens after the offering of the wave sheaf, and always in the third month!
Did God commemorate this day in the wilderness of Sinai? Notice what the Bible says:Ex 19:3-6 "Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to tell the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now if you will obey me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be my TREASURED POSSESSION. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."" This was the Day when God proclaimed that they were to a holy people, a kingdom of priests, and a treasured possession! The people rejoiced and exuberantly told Moses that they would do all that God asked of them. Their very first Day of Pentecost filled them with hope and joy!
Malachi speaks of a special group of people drawn from the whole House of Israel whom God calls His 'TREASURED POSSESSION'. This follows an indictment by God against the whole House of Israel for failing to give tithes for His House. These people are very special to God in that they fear and reverence and honour His name! These people don't have a 'good ol' boy' attitude to God - nor do they flippantly assume that God will forgive them for anything they do because of the blood of His Son. They fear God and tremble at His word! These special people literally choke with fear to, in any way, mislead others in regard to the word of God. To them, God's word is a pearl of great price; it is a priceless jewel; every word is important, and they stand in absolute awe of it. And what does Malachi say? Here it is:Mal 3:16 "Then those who FEARED the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD LISTENED and HEARD. A SCROLL OF REMEMBRANCE was written in His presence concerning those who FEARED the LORD and HONOURED His name. "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up My TREASURED POSSESSION. I will SPARE them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the DISTINCTION between the RIGHTEOUS and the WICKED, between those who SERVE God and those who do not." Read this verse several times and absorb its meaning. On the basis of these words, God makes the DISTINCTION between those who are RIGHTEOUS and those who are WICKED! These people talked with each other! And what did they talk about? You'd better believe that they talked about GOD'S WORD! To them it is priceless and precious! To them, God's word is life! It is their whole life! It is on this basis that God SPARES them and has a SCROLL OF REMEMBRANCE written in His presence concerning them!
If you are one of those who reject parts of the Bible because they seem a little 'heavy', and you prefer the airy-fairy atmosphere of speaking of 'much love' while constantly denying the POWER of God, then go on your way! You are not God's TREASURED POSSESSION! However, be warned! You are making the biggest mistake of your life!
THE HOUSE OF JACOB
InEx 19:3-6 we see for the first time, a clear distinction between the House of Jacob and the people of Israel. This distinction continues throughout the Bible. This subject is covered in other articles, but it is noteworthy even in this article on the Holydays. Why would God mention both, if both are the same? You will notice that the 'people of Israel' were worshiping idols from the time they left Egypt, and even carried their own tabernacle of Molech, their god (Acts 7:42-43). God had very little to do with the tribes that later became the northern kingdom. Instead he dealt mainly with the Levites and Judah who at least served Him. The clear identification of the 'House of Jacob' is found in Isa 48:1-2 "Listen to this, O HOUSE OF JACOB, you who are called by the name ISRAEL and come from the LINE OF JUDAH....you who call yourselves CITIZENS OF THE HOLY CITY."
Contrary to what you have always believed, the greater proportiion of all prophecy relates to the tribes of Judah/Levi who are the House of Jacob. Most prophecies that refer to Israel are referring to Judah/Levi. For instance, the prophet Amos speaks equally about both kingdoms - Israel, the northern kingdom, and Judah the southern kingdom. His son Isaiah speaks mainly about the southern kingdom. Ezekiel spoke extensively about the southern, but some of it is in parable form about the northern kingdom. Jeremiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi spoke principally of the southern kingdom. This principle is vitally important in understanding Bible prophecy!
THE THIRD SEASON
The third period or season of Holydays points to another period different from ours and the first. This depicts the redemption of the tribes of Israel. This starts with the FEAST OF TRUMPETS. This is the time of the last trump; a signal of the establishment of a new covenant(Ex 20:18) with Israel (Rev 11:15, Jer 31:31-34) and the signal for war against the nations! This is a time of rejoicing for those who are Christ's. It heralds His return. It is very bad news for the nations however. This is the time of the Great Day of Battle when Christ will fight the nations (Zech 14:1-4). Shortly afterward, the tribes of Israel will be freed and will walk back to Jerusalem where they will at last be at one with their God. This is the DAY OF ATONEMENT.
It's at this time, when Christ has brought Israel out of slavery - once again -- that He will make a covenant with them - once again! It cannot be the Firstfruits covenant because that period is over. The third season succeeds the second season of Pentecost, just as the second succeeded the first. Israel is not offered the same deal. The Firstfruits will have already received their reward and will have eternal life, and they will be married to Christ(Rev 19:6-8).
The covenant of the third season is entirely different. The covenant for Israel is, that they will have God's Laws written in their hearts. God will also pour out His Spirit on them. Then they will be required to live out the whole of their natural lives. The most righteous will live for hundreds of years, while those who are less righteous will live to only about 100 years:Isa 65:20-25 "Never again will there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered to be accursed.
"They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses for others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.
"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like an ox, but dust shall be the serpent's food. They will neither hurt nor destroy in all My Holy Mountain."
THE MAGNIFIED LAW
Many people have strenuously argued that the Ten Commandments were not a part of the law of Moses and they are not, as we have already seen! The reason for this is because all that the law of Moses pointed to is being imprinted into their minds through the Holy Spirit. As they mature to the full measure of Christ, they are led into the process of divine living by Christ who dwells in them(Gal 2:20). This doesn't exempt them from obedience to God's statutes and laws, rather it places them on a probationary Godplane of understanding with a spiritual fulfillment of the requirements of God.
This doesn't diminish their obligations under the law, instead it magnifies the law. Christ explained this. Whereas the law says 'you shall not commit adultery', Christ magnified this by saying that the very act of looking on a woman with lust was adultery! The prophet Job, one of the most righteous men to have ever lived, foreshadowed this principle of law:Job 31:1 "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl."
True Christians, because they have God's Holy Spirit, and because Christ lives within their flesh, must emulate Christ perfectly. Since Christ was without sin, so a Christian must be without sin! If Christ doesn't dwell in you, then you are still in your sins!
The whole world is under the LAW OF MOSES! Only those whom God has specifically called and chosen are not! They are under the LAW OF CHRIST(Gal 6:2).
Only a true Christian has an Advocate with the Father - Christ!(IJohn 2:1-2) When a Christian does sin, and all do from time to time, under the LAW OF CHRIST they have instant forgiveness upon repentance of that sin - because Christ is advocating with the Father for them. In the days of Moses, this was not so! A sin offering was required, and only after this was offered was the sin forgiven. And the sin was forgiven! Though not all sins! There was no remissioni for some sins. For instance, capital crimes such as the breaking of the Sabbath (Num 15:32-36), adultery (Deut 22:22-24), murder (Ex 21:12) and sacrilege (Josh 7:15) were punishable by death.
Under the New Covenant, all sins that are repented of, are forgiven by the blood of Christ. And once forgiven, God wipes the slate clean. A true Christian is blameless and without spot until he sins again. Again, if he repents, the blood of Christ applies again, even to seventy times seven!(Matt 18:22) After all, Christ is more forgiving than a brother.
True Christians are, however, striving to put all sin out of their lives. True Christians hunger and thirst for the true knowledge that comes from God. God's word should be their whole lives.
There was great significance and ceremony involved in the sin offering(Lev 4:27-35). The whole world has yet to understand the significance of animal sacrifices and their relationship to Christ's blood. In the Millennium, they will not only be told to offer sacrifices, they will be forced to do it, and to understand why! Yes, there will be animal sacrifices in the Millennium under the rule of Christ. And the world will be forced to fulfill the law of Moses to the letter. Every single part of it without any diminishing. And all males will be required to be circumcised before they can observe the Passover as it was in ancient Israel (Ex 12:48-49). They will be forced to live out the same events and circumstances that ancient Israel did when they were led out of Egypt.
The house of Israel was taken into captivity in 721-718 BC by the Assyrians. They never returned to the Middle East. Only the tribes of Judah and Levi and a small portion of Benjamin were left. 130 years later they too, were taken into captivity. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered them and took them as slaves. Among those who were taken into slavery was a young man called Ezekiel. God called him as a prophet and revealed many prophecies to him. These were prophecies for the future of Israel and Judah.
In Ezekiel chapter 40 to 48, these prophecies detail the return of both the houses of Israel and Judah, and describe Jerusalem and the surrounding lands which God promised to all 12 tribes. After the destruction of Solomon's Temple, only the tribes of Judah and Levi returned to their homelands, though not all of them. The ten tribes of Israel eventually scattered through Europe and the British Isles and never returned. Clearly, the prophecies of Ezekiel refer to a future time when they will be returned from captivity. Presently, they are not in captivity but live in their separate nations as free people. Many prophecies, however, assure us they will again go into captivity and God will again bring them out as He did from Egypt.
Just as Christ said that not the slightest stroke of the pen will disappear from the prophets until all is fulfilled(Matt 5:17-18), so the chapters of Ezekiel 40 to 48 will be fulfilled. These prophecies certainly have not been fulfilled to this present time.
These prophecies detail a new temple that will be built in Jerusalem where sacrifices will be conducted by the Levites. A description of the lands of the Palestine area and the way they will be divided up for all 12 tribes is given. Since the 10 tribes of Israel never returned from the captivity of 721BC, it can only refer to a future event. But the clincher is the river of life that will flow from the temple area to the east and to the west. This will be pure, crystal clear water where there are an abundance of fish. Every species found in the oceans will be found in these waters(Eze 47:1-12). Compare this with Rev 22:1-5.
Has this happened yet? Will it happen? On the authority of Christ this prophecy, in its entirety, will be fulfilled exactly as it is written.
During the period described, detailed references are given to the offering of sacrifices(Eze 45:13-25, 46:1-13). The whole world will eventually be required to offer sacrifices and fulfill all the LAWS OF MOSES (Zech 14:16-21). This doesn't sound like the LAW OF MOSES has been 'done away' does it?
The big problem with the constant insistence of some, that the law of Moses has been done away, is that they make it appear as if God made a disastrous mistake in implimenting them originally. While these people are always quick to qualify their remarks with 'the fault was with the Israelites,' there is a consistent thread of doubt cast on God's judgment. The implication being that God had not forseen how 'bad' the Israelites were and made a mistake in trusting them to enter into a covenant. God knew more about the Israelites than they knew about themselves. He selected them from the best human stock available at that time; the pedigree stock of Abraham. God told Abraham before Isaac was even born that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years(Gen 15:13). Was the slavery of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt a punishment for wrong doing? How could it be if Isaac was not even born when God told Abraham of it? God obviously had a good reason for doing it. And He did!
The enslavement of the children of Israel and the subsequent exodus from Egypt, and the establishment of the laws of Moses were for a pattern or shadow of things to come(Col 2:16-17, Heb 10:1). All these things are for examples today for us - those whom God has called and chosen to be kings and priests. It is after this pattern that the nations will be ruled in the Millennium. God didn't put Israel through all the adversity in Egypt for a punishment, but to illuminate the way that He will deal with humanity under Christ's rule in the Kingdom of God..
God loved the children of Israel, the descendants of His friend Abraham. Is it logical for God to enslave the very nation that He loved, and then spare the rest of the nations from any form of physical service? Absolutely not!Zech 14:16 tells us that in the Millennium everyone who is left on earth of the nations that came against Jerusalem will come up year by year to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (These certainly proves that the Feast of Tabernacles is not 'done away.'). In V21 we are told that they will also offer sacrifices. And of course they will! Why wouldn't God require the same from them as He required of His special beloved nation of Israel? Having lived through the Day of Battle (Zech 14:3, Job 38:22-23) these people will be few in number. They will have learnt a lesson they will never forget. For generations they will willingly teach their children of the horror of disobedience to the Eternal, and the great joy of worshiping Him. They will happily serve their Creator. If they don't they will starve to death! (Zech 14:17). There will be no half-way measures - the choice will be life or death! Exactly as God told the children of Israel (Deut 30:19).
At this time, the children of Israel will be led out of national captivity and restored to the lands promised to their father Abraham. After this, God is going to write His laws in their hearts and minds so they can never be forgotten. God will also pour out His Holy Spirit upon them. At this time, they will be the most privileged human beings on earth. Their privileges will actually exceed true Christians today, even though their final reward will never exceed that of the firstfruits. Notice the scripture inEze 39:27-29 "When I have brought them back from the nations and gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show Myself holy to them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."
Obviously this has not happened to this day! Has the house of Israel seen the face of God? Has the house of Israel been driven into exile and gathered back to the promised land? Has God poured His Holy Spirit out on all the house of Israel? Absolutely not! This is referring to a time yet future!
Christians today don't have the laws of God written in their hearts and minds. If they did then they would automatically have verbatim recall of every one of them. Christians today know that this is not so. Under the laws of Christ, Christians are required to seek and find God's truth using the discernment of the Holy Spirit. Those who exercise the Holy Spirit will be led into all truth. Those who drift off into human reasoning, for whatever reason, will inevitably fall into error.
The reality is that the laws and the statutes are good. They served a distinct purpose in the past, and they will again. Not one of them will pass away until all, including all the prophecies are fulfilled. If they are now redundant, then surely they have 'passed away', but on the authority of Christ they are still in force. The difference is that those who number among the firstfruits, whose names are written in the Book of Life, and who have God's Holy Spirit are currently under a New Covenant that is subject to the LAW OF CHRIST rather than the LAW OF MOSES. It is this distinction that the Apostle Paul was stressing in the book of Galatians.
THE GREAT TRIAL
The whole Bible, Old and New Testaments, are about a great trial. The accused are Satan and his demons. True Christians are the jurors, and God is the Judge. There is more than enough evidence for conviction now, but the just Judge will permit the trial to go on to finality. When the final verdict is passed, God will execute His judgment. And the penalty for sin is death.
For years the Worldwide Church of God has claimed that Satan is a spirit being and can therefore never die. They have taught that he is to be locked up forever and never released. The problem with that assumption is that it is unbiblical. The LAW OF MOSES, more than anything else, explains the result of sin, and its consequences. The Commandments and the Holydays depict a harmonious relationship with God. They are opposites. The Law of Moses is for evil, and the Commandments and Holydays of God are for good. The penalty for sin is death. Any sin, whether committed by man or spirit being, is under that penalty.
During the Great Tribulation, the heavenly court will sit in judgment.Dan 7:9-10 "As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat...The court was seated, and the books were opened." The first to face judgment will be the saints. In the Great Tribulation, the saints will be granted judgment in their favour: Dan 7:21-22 "As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favour of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom." V24 "The ten horns are ten kings who will arise from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress His saints and try to change set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed for ever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him."
While in the Great Tribulation, the saints will have judgment granted in their favour and they will possess the Kingdom. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven (this includes Satan's kingdom) will be handed to the saints. And they will judge the angels of Satan:1Cor 6:3 "Do you not know that we will judge angels?"
Are all the angels of Satan guilty? There are many Bible references that show that there are degrees of guilt among these beings. Satan's demons have been subjected to bullying and tyranny! Revelation chapter 12 describes how he flung them to earth. This is a literal description. The scriptures record an instance where one group of demons begged Christ not to send them to the Abyss:Luke 8:31 "And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss." The Abyss being the place where the most evil of Satan's lieutenants and demons are (Rev 9:1-2). It is one of these that comes out of this Abyss and kills the two witnesses: Rev 11:7 "Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them." Be sure to read the article, 'The Beast of Daniel.' Rev 17:8 "The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction." This beast will go to his destruction - he will die!
Satan the devil has already been found guilty. He murdered the Son of God. There is no hope of his survival, his sentence will be carried out.
END OF PART ONE
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