ORIGINALLY POSTED 28 SEPTEMBER, 2005
We as Messianic Believers need to lament over the fact that most of our Christian brothers and sisters do not honor and observe our Heavenly Father’s appointed times or moedim, listed in Leviticus 23. Instead of remembering Pesach/Passover, Chag HaMatzot/Unleavened Bread, Shavuot/Pentecost, Yom Teruah-Rosh HaShanah/the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement, Sukkot/Tabernacles, and Shemini Atzeret/the Eighth Day Assembly, in addition to the weekly seventh-day Shabbat/Sabbath—Christians today celebrate Christmas and Easter and assemble on Sunday. They have missed out on much of what the Lord has to show us, by avoiding to meet when He wants to meet with His people. Certainly, if anyone is truly committed to God and wants to honor and celebrate Him as much as possible, the advantage of remembering His appointed times over various human replacements is obvious. Eight appointed times versus two holidays and about two hours on Sunday. It is obvious by the numbers alone that what He intended is better!
All too often, we as Messianics can be unfairly chastised by Christians for wanting to obey the Lord by observing His appointments. It is not uncommon to be called legalistic for celebrating the Biblical festivals. In fact, some say that we are going too far, or are perhaps trying to earn our salvation, and in a few cases that we are not even saved. These claims against us are completely unacceptable if we are reasonable Believers united around a common hope of salvation in Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus). There is nothing wrong with obeying God or His Word and in following the instructions that He has laid out for us. By remembering the Biblical appointments, we as Messianic Believers are following the example of our Messiah Yeshua and the early First Century Jewish Apostles and Believers who likewise observed them as a part of their faith practice.
Contrary to popular opinion, the First Century Apostles and Believers did not celebrate “Christmas” or “Easter,” or even a “Sunday Sabbath”—especially as we know them today. They observed the moedim of Leviticus 23 and the weekly Shabbat, and on these special days remembered who Messiah Yeshua was as the Savior of Israel. As James the Just attested to the Apostle Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law” (Acts 21:20). Now, the same is being said of many non-Jewish Believers who likewise have faith in Yeshua and who are zealous for the things of God’s Torah, eagerly partaking of their heritage in Israel (Ephesians 3:6). God is bringing all of His people together in a very unique and special way.
But there are those who say otherwise. There are those who say that because of Yeshua’s sacrifice at Golgotha (Calvary), the Torah or Law of Moses has been abolished, and thus the moedim or appointed times are likewise done away with, annulled, and abolished. Some think that they might be important for us to study for understanding the Bible in an historical sense, but are not to be followed as standard elements of our orthopraxy. Others think that by remembering things like the Passover, we have actually turned our heads away from Yeshua, and bring dishonor to Him as our final sacrifice. Those who frown on Messianics keeping the appointed times, regardless of the degree of how strong they speak against them, or frown upon them, say that the Apostle Paul gave us specific instruction in his epistles that we are no longer to celebrate the “Old Testament holidays.”
Do the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) truly tell us not to celebrate the Biblical holidays? Are the Biblical holidays no longer of any value to us as Believers? What might a closer reading of the Biblical text reveal?
It is important that we examine the three common Scripture passages (Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17; Romans 14:5-6) which are often given to support the premise that Believers today are not supposed to remember the moedim or appointed times of the Torah, placing them in proper context. These words were originally given to distinct ancient audiences with some specific issues facing them, and not necessarily Twenty-First Century people. Knowing that Yeshua the Messiah upheld the validity of the Torah as a standard for good works (Matthew 5:16-19), and that remembering the appointed times is a simple matter of outward obedience, is it possible to see how the majority view out there has missed some things? Let us read these verses and investigate their background a bit more fully.Does_the_New_Testament_Annul_the_Biblical_Appointments_MOEDIM
Today’s Messianic community widely believes and advocates that our Heavenly Father is restoring the celebration of the Biblical appointments or moedim, chiefly found in Leviticus 23, to all of His people. Messianic Believers find great enrichment every year of going through these annual festivals, rehearsing God’s plan of salvation history. We bereave the fact that too many of our Christian brothers and sisters have not partaken of the blessings of knowing things like the Passover, Shavuot, or Sukkot, and the significant enrichment all of us can have by seeing God’s plan for history present within them.
Some say that because of Yeshua’s sacrifice at Golgotha (Calvary), the Torah or Law of Moses has been abolished, and thus the moedim or appointed times are done away with, annulled, and abolished. Some believe that they might be important for us to understand in an historical sense for understanding the Bible, but are not to be followed as standard elements of our orthopraxy.
This publication, simply entitled Moedim: The Appointed Times for Messianic Believers, is an important synopsis of what the appointed times of Leviticus 23 actually are, and why they have not been abolished by the New Testament.