Sabbath & Feasts ‘Nailed To The Cross’?

Oct 4, 2010 · Posted in Discernment, Emails, Sabbath

Tim, I have been reading your site for a while now and now have a question i hope you could help me with. I was raised in a church that taught we are to keep all of gods holy days and sabbath (WCG). I still believe in sabbath keeping, but not sure about holy days. Are we still to keep them? or were they nailed to the cross?

I don’t belong to this church anymore, they have split into many different churches now. I am really confused about holy days if you have any way to explain this subject to me it would be very welcome. Thank You for your time.

Feasts Nailed To The Cross?

The “nailed to the cross” phrase is from Colossians 2:14. Paul used a metaphor of a debt note from the Roman culture. ESV Study Bible Notes explains:

In the Greco-Roman world, the “record of debt” (Gk. cheirographon) was a written note of indebtedness. Paul uses this as a word picture to characterize each person’s indebtedness to God because of sin. God himself has mercifully resolved this problem for all who put their faith in Jesus by taking this note and nailing it to the cross, where Jesus paid the debt. The image comes from the notice fastened to a cross by the Roman authorities, declaring the crime for which the criminal was being executed (see John 19:19-22).

Thus this “certificate of debt” illustration does not refer to the Torah. It refers to the guilt from sinning against God. Jesus came to cancel that debt, not to do away with Torah. Taking away the Torah would not remove the guilt it had already brought. To be sure, Jesus said he came to fulfill the Torah, not to destroy it (Mt 5:17). He could not destroy it as the Torah would not fade away until heaven and earth passed away (Mt 5:18). Before that time, when the Kingdom comes, the Torah would be required again and be taught by the rulers in the kingdom (Mt 5:19).

In other words, the Torah is prophetic. It must all be fulfilled. My site’s main article talks about this whole topic.

Sabbath And Not Feasts Required Today?

For the second question, it is important to remember that the Torah is an all or nothing proposition. It is not an “a la carte” cafeteria offering. When Israel and Judah were neglecting land sabbaths and worshipping idols, God did not say good job on the 99% you do right, I’ll overlook the rest. He kicked them out of the land. James and Paul express this principle:

James 2:10-11 (HCSB) 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of ⌊breaking it⌋ all. 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder., So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

Galatians 3:10 (HCSB) 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.

The sabbath is commanded first in Exodus 16. It’s later repeated in Exodus 20 in the Ten Commandments. The Feasts are in Leviticus 23. They are all part of the same Torah, even if sabbath  is listed in the Ten Commandments and Feasts are not. Also, Leviticus 23 groups both the sabbath and feasts together as “my appointed times”.

All or Nothing

This is where the problem comes in when people say you have to keep any part of the laws given to Ancient Israel under the Old Covenant such as tithing, sabbath, feasts, unclean meats, etc. They are “all for one and one for all.” You cannot say one is required without acknowledging the rest as required.

I used to always wonder how the WCG could teach requirements of unclean meats, feasts, tithing and sabbath but ignore the sacrifices, stoning of idolaters, witches and disobedient children, laws of niddah, wearing tassles, build sukkahs/tabernacles, and so many other laws. How did they know which ones were for today and which ones were not? Well, I see now they obviously did not know. They were picking and choosing and modifying where needed (hotels = temporary dwellings = sukkahs/tabernacles).

All this to answer your question: if you are convicted you need to keep sabbath, then according to the Bible you should be convicted as well that you need to keep the annual feasts days.

This, I admit, may be not the kind of “help” you wanted as it opens up a can of worms! How are you going to do commanded sacrifices or tithe crops with no temple or Levites and priests around? Or how many men have the funds to travel to Jerusalem three times per year to keep the feasts in the one place where God “placed his name” (Dt 14:23; 16:2; 26:2)? The answers are: You can’t and indeed very few have the funds to keep Torah.

Anyway, this is what the Bible literally teaches on this question and it is up to each of us to determine for ourselves what to do with it. There are no prophets, judges, Levites or priests today with authority over us in these matters to guide us, unlike what Ancient Israel had as part of the Old Covenant to make Torah “not too difficult” (Dt 30:11-14).

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19 Responses

  1. Greg Says:

    Tim: What about the key message of Paul that Gentiles are not under the law? Am referring to the whole argument of grace versus Torah.

  2. Laura Smith Says:

    Tim,

    Where is the “like” button on this one? Thank you Thank you Thank you

    Laura

  3. Tim McHyde Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Laura. I forgot to put them on this site too. I’ve just added them.

  4. Tim McHyde Says:

    Greg, those who feel convicted to keep sabbath have answers to those discussions. My purpose was not to tell people whether to do it or not, but to explain the nailed to the cross and the all or nothing aspect if you do feel convicted to do it.=)

  5. Madhu Babu Gamidi Says:

    Shalom Dear Tim McHyde I greatly thank you first.Your articles are really spiritual and beautiful biblical explanation.I Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem daily according to Psalms 122:6.Even i request you too Pray.Thanking you in Yeshua name Madhu Babu Gamidi(Joshua).

  6. bill Says:

    Hi dude,

    Honestly I don’t know what you’re talking about. If you do not keep the seventh day Sabbath then you’ve broken the whole law because if you break one point of the law then you’ve broken the whole law including adultery and fornication, and stealing and all the other points of the law.

    We are to keep all the commandments because we love our Holy Father and HIS Holy Son. Does HE not say “if you love me keep the commandments.”

    Also you will find that HIS true church – HIS people mentioned in the book of revelation are those who keep the commandments.

    Bill.

  7. Tim McHyde Says:

    Bill, that makes two of us: I don’t know what you are talking about either! Where did I tell anyone to not keep any commandment of God that applies to them?

  8. bill Says:

    Hi Tim,

    Bill here again.

    You said, “Where did I tell anyone to not keep any commandment of God that applies to them?”

    I thought YHWH’s commandments apply to everyone.

    Just wondering if you keep YHWH’s Holy Day of Pentecost?
    As you know the Apostles were in one accord when they kept that first Pentecost (after the cross) and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Here are a few scriptures that show that the early church did indeed keep YHWH’s Holy Days. bill.
    ——————————————
    http://www.zoomnet.net/~bbratt/nt-hdays.html

    After Christ’s death and resurrection, His disciples kept God’s Holy Days.

    Acts 2:1 says: “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Why is it that most professing Christians only keep one of the seven Holy Days of God? They only keep Pentecost. Why don’t they keep the other six Holy Days?

    Did the Apostle Paul and the Gentiles keep God’s Holy Days?

    Acts 18:20-21 says: “When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.”

    This refers to the Feast of Tabernacles and it was worth Paul going all the way to the headquarters Feast at Jerusalem. This is the only logical reason for Paul’s emphatic refusal to spend even a few days at Ephesus after long sojourns at lesser places.

    Acts 20:16 “For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.”

    The Apostle Paul was hurrying to keep Pentecost at Jerusalem. This was about 25 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and ascension into heaven.

    1 Cor 16:8 “But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.” This verse shows Paul keeping Pentecost in the Gentile city of Ephesus.

    1 Cor 5:7-8 “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

    Here’s is a direct command from the Apostle Paul for New Testament Christians to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was years after Jesus’ crucifixion. The Apostle Paul set us an example in keeping God’s Holy Days and he admonishes us to follow his lead, as he said in: 1 Cor 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
    ————————————-

  9. Tim McHyde Says:

    You seem to be tripping up over my phrase “apply to them”. It tells me you think God has one set of universal commandments that apply equally to all people of all times and places. This is obviously wrong if you just note that people before the Torah did not have the Torah, for example. If you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and pay attention to all the commandments that were introduced and replaced over time, even within the Torah itself, you’ll see that God has many commandments that apply to only certain audiences. God does not have one set of “the commandments”, although when you read certain passages written to certain audiences, you see that phrase used. It has to be interpreted based on the audience and context. When you ignore audience and context, you end up with crazy doctrines like all women in all churches must keep silent and not teach, all of us must be fruitful and multiply, etc. Good luck!

  10. Arthur Gideon Says:

    “All this to answer your question: if you are convicted you need to keep sabbath, then according to the Bible you should be convicted as well that you need to keep the annual feasts days. ” When Christ ask someone to obey the commandments if he need life. Then the man said he has been keeping them since his childhood. Then Jesus said be born again(baptize). At this point the commandments and baptism were giving together as ‘way of having life’. Does this means baptism and commandments are one set? Baptism are giving at a different place and commandments a different place. So they two different set but come together to form one important thing. Like sabbath and annual feast come together to form one important thing to God for the Ancient Israelite but not Gentiles or Christians. But this same sabbath is in the ten commandments which were put in the in the ark of God. And part of some commandments which were placed beside the ark. (for example) even if those beside the ark are thrown away those in it are not away and it continues to perform it job. So if you perform sabbath it does not means perform all the other feast.

  11. Tim McHyde Says:

    Arthur, the Bible makes no division of the Torah into detachable units like Ten Commandments vs moral commands vs ritualistic commands. It says repeatedly it’s all or nothing, fail in one and you are guilty of all. Mikvehs were part of the Torah and baptism was given to the apostles to perform along with teaching in all the world. Neither is not required for salvation or for any other reason today, short of you running into a real apostle who speaking for God commands you to be baptized. If you did not have the Bible you would have no way of knowing anything about baptism. This is the situation of the vast majority of humanity who have lived or who are alive today. They can still serve and please God and be saved without a Bible, and reading the Bible does not obligate them with new requirements for salvation.

  12. Sonny Says:

    I think this merits a more detailed article by you, Tim. One such detail is why the first century church still kept the annual feasts. Looking forward.

  13. Tim McHyde Says:

    Sonny, the Jews followed Judaism (not Torah) ever since they were exiled, out of tradition, not because prophets continued to come and warn them to do so or correct them in doing Torah right. So they did not keep the Torah even in the First Century, like Jesus flatly said at that time (Jn 7:19). Acts 15 plainly tells the Gentile church/ekklesia not to worry about Torah keeping (http://www.wcg.org/lit/bible/acts/decree1.htm).

  14. David Reuben Stone Says:

    Friendly Greetings Mr. McHyde….

    Acts 15 shows that Gentile Christians should start with obedience to the four commands (v. 20). But that’s only the starting point!

    Surely we agree that Gentile Christians should obey more than just those four commands.

    Yeshua said we should teach and obey the Torah (Mt. 5:19).

    So did Paul, John, Peter, Stephen, the Jerusalem church, Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and YHVH.

    Do you truly believe that Gentile Christians should not grow in obedience to the observable commands of the Torah?

    If so, then I am discouraged to conclude that you have violated the purpose of Matthew 5:19 by encouraging Gentiles “not to worry about Torah keeping”.

    Dear Sir, the consequences of lawlessness (Torah-lessness) are most severe (Mt. 7:23; Mt. 13:40-43).

    I beg of you….please reconsider your position.
    I have your best interest at heart.

    blessings,
    David Reuben Stone

  15. Tim McHyde Says:

    David, I did reconsider my position several times–I used to believe as you do about Acts 15 and Torah! But the more I studied the Bible and questioned what I believed, the more problems mounted for this position to the point I could no longer hold on to it anymore.

    I saw that, oddly, Jesus and Paul and the rest never once told anyone, including a Jew, they must keep the Torah. And so what if they choose to kept Torah. Jesus did it because God told him to fulfill prophecy. Noah built an ark because God told him to also. Should we build an ark, too, because Noah did? See how it matters not what someone else did, but rather what God has told us personally or our nation to do just as he told them personally or a nation (Ancient Israel only) what to do.

    I saw I had been believing a twisted interpretation of Acts 15 (http://www.wcg.org/lit/bible/acts/decree1.htm).

    I saw that Mt 5:19 was teaching about Torah-keeping and Torah-teaching in a time when people could finally do so: the Kingdom of God with the coming New Covenant. The Kingdom of God is not here and the New Covenant is not yet.

    But the biggest problem of all that I finally saw was how I looked at the the Bible as a ubiquitous rule or law book that has commands believers must study and obey. The Bible has not always been available and very little of its content is written to a universal, future end time audience. You have to ignore audience constantly to come up with most of the Bible-based doctrines kicked around the Internet. To say we must keep Sabbath and Feasts requires hijacking commands from the indivisible Torah written to Ancient Israel, breaking them off to carefully ignore the commands of Torah we can’t keep today, and making them apply to any universal audience now.

    I realized I had been deceived, again, this time by the Torah movement. I learned some great things, but I had to move on and do what Jesus told a universal audience to do, not blindly try to copy what he did for his special mission from God.

    Please, don’t beg =). Just know that I am serving God and reading his word according to my conscience, not yours or the Torah movement teachers and I will be fine as this is how God wants us all to serve him. God will not charge me with the “sin of Torah-breaking” in a world where nobody can keep Torah, no prophet has been sent to tell us how to keep Torah nor warn us of the punishment for not keeping Torah he just told us how to keep, etc. These points matter and are glossed over by Torah advocates day in and day out. There would be no Torah movement if they were paid attention to.

    But go ahead and “keep Torah” with my blessing. You’ll learn a lot. I don’t think you’re sinning either by writing a book telling people to keep something they can’t possibly keep. I won’t beg you to stop or start praying and fasting for your soul. You’re sincerely doing your best, I can tell. But I’m doing the same here. So guess what? Even though we both come to opposite conclusions on what the Bible teaches we must do, we are both righteous servants in God’s sight (assuming we don’t judge each other over the difference. I’m not and I don’t think you are so far).

    God bless!

    Tim

  16. David Reuben Stone Says:

    Hello Tim,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I appreciate, too, your respect and gentleness.

    Your position appears to be:

    1. Jesus, Paul, and the rest, never said a Jew or Gentile must obey the Torah.

    2. Torah obedience is expected when the New Covenant is fully implemented, not now.

    3. The Torah of ancient Israel does not apply to us as an end-time audience of believers.

    4. If we can’t obey all the Torah, then we don’t need to worry about obeying parts of it.

    5. Jesus does not expect us, as his disciples, to imitate his Torah-obedient walk.

    6. Nobody can keep Torah, presently.

    7. The Torah can now be properly obeyed only if a prophet is presently available to explain how to do so.

    8. Torah advocates routinely ignore objections you have raised.

    9. The Torah movement would end if its participants accounted for objections you raise.

    10. We are not judging each other, but respectfully sharing our points of view.

    11. Gentile disciples should obey only four commands (Ac. 15:20,29).

    MY RESPONSE:

    1A. Yeshua (Jesus) obeyed the Torah. We disciples of Yeshua should grow up to be like Him (Lk. 6:40). Thus, Yeshua taught that we (His disciples) should also obey the Torah.

    1B. Paul did nothing wrong against the Torah (Ac. 25:8). Christians should imitate Paul (1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 2:20; Php. 4:9) and also obey the Torah so as to do nothing wrong against it.

    1C. Stephen was a man full of God’s grace, faith, power, and Spirit (Ac. 6:5-8). Stephen taught obedience (not opposition) to the Torah (Ac. 6:11-14).

    1D. John taught Yeshua’s disciples to walk as Yeshua walked (1 Jn. 2:6) in obedience to God’s commands (1 Jn. 5:3). So, since Yeshua walked in obedience to the Torah, we disciples of Yeshua should also walk in obedience to God’s commands in the Torah, as John taught.

    1E. Peter taught us to abstain from evil desires (1 Pe. 1:14). He even taught us to abstain from the evil desire for unclean foods so that we can be holy (1 Pe. 1:15-16; Lev. 11:1-47).

    1F. Moses commanded Israel to obey the Torah. Disciples of Yeshua are grafted into the family of Israel. Thus, we disciples of Yeshua are commanded to obey the Torah of Moses.

    1G. The prophets (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc.) convey YHVH’s command that Israel obey the Torah. Disciples of Yeshua are grafted into the family of Israel. Thus, we disciples of Yeshua should obey the Torah of Moses, as confirmed by the commands from YHVH through the prophets to us.

    So, Tim, you now have seven Biblical theological arguments which count against your position.

    2. Yes, the New Covenant is not fully implemented (Jer. 31:34), but it has already been inaugurated (Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6). Thus, the New Covenant era began roughly 2000 years ago. In the New Covenant, the Torah is written upon our hearts (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; Heb. 10:15-16). “Written upon our heart” means “we obey it” (Dt. 30:14). Thus, we obey the Torah as our proper response to the recognition that we participate in the Torah-laden New Covenant which Yeshua initiated in His blood.

    3. The Torah of ancient Israel is prophesied to be obeyed in the later days when we return to YHVH and obey Him (Dt. 4:27-30). Indeed, the Torah movement is calling us to return to authentic Biblical faith.

    4. We should obey as much observable Torah as possible, because love for YHVH is proved through obedience to His commands (Dt. 11:1; cf. Jn. 14:15). The Bible does not say: “If you can’t obey 100% of the Torah, then don’t worry about trying to obey any of it”. Would it have been good for the exiled Israelites in Babylon to fully reject all Torah (since temple-dependent Torah was not observable during that exile) ? Of course not.

    5. Luke 6:40 shows that Yeshua expects us to be like Him. He obeyed Torah. We should too.

    6. Sure, the church can not obey 100% of the Torah, presently. Nevertheless, we should obey as much as we can, because this proves our love for YHVH. If you love Him, then you will obey His commands.

    7. The Bible does not say: “Only obey the Torah if a prophet is presently available to explain how to do so.” So, you have not proved your claim.

    8. I have sought to answer every objection you have raised. I eagerly await your response.

    9. My response to your objections only confirms that your objections fail to refute the Torah movement. Of course, I await any additional information that you may bring to the table that could change our minds.

    10. It’s OK to judge sinners by their fruit. But I think we’re simply sharing ideas right now, not judging….

    11. I claim the four commands (Ac. 15:20,29) are a behavioral starting point for new Gentile converts. You disagree with my interpretation of Acts 15. So, you must think that Gentile disciples of Yeshua should never obey any other commands? Then I guess you think we can ignore Yeshua’s other teachings (e.g., Mt. 6:25; Mt. 6:33; Mt. 7:1; Mt. 7:7; Mt. 7:12; Mt. 7:15; etc…) ?

    CONCLUSION: Do you truly believe that Gentile disciples of Yeshua should obey ONLY the four commands (Ac. 15:20,29) ?

    I doubt it.

    We should obey as much Torah as possible.

    I provided Scriptural support for my position.

    I answered your objections.

    Now, do you truly believe we should obey ONLY the four commands (Ac. 15:20,29) ?

    blessings,
    David

  17. Tim McHyde Says:

    David, I don’t have time, need or desire to debate you. If you are convinced you must “keep Torah” then that is what you better do and I wish you many blessings in it. I’ve been there and done that and I have the t-shirt. I finally learned from it that God does not put requirements on us that we cannot fully understand and comply with. We each must follow God according to our own understanding and conscience, not what other people try to convince us of.

  18. David Reuben Stone Says:

    Dear Tim…I care for you TOO MUCH to let you walk away so easily!

    You DO have time (7 minutes per week is sufficient).

    You DO need (and should desire) this conversation. Why?

    Because your conscience must no longer permit you to violate Scriptures which command you to:

    1. Answer us (not ignore us, 1 Pe. 3:15; Col. 1:28).

    2. Correct us (2 Tim. 3:16), not ignore us,

    3. Train us (2 Tim. 3:16), not ignore us,

    4. Teach us (2 Tim. 3:16), not ignore us,

    5. Rebuke us (2 Tim. 3:16), not ignore us,

    6. Shame us as brothers (2 Th. 3:14) by exposing (not ignoring) our error (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:5; 1 Cor. 15:34).

    7. Test us (Ac. 17:11), not ignore us,

    8. Answer us (not ignore us), because this is right in our eyes (Rom. 12:17b),

    9. Love us (not ignore us) by patiently showing us the way of God more fully (Ac. 18:26), and

    10. Persuade us (2 Cor. 5:11) to embrace the Torah-less (lawless) position you advocate.

    Thus, we must not “agree to disagree” regarding this issue of ETERNAL significance (Mt. 19:17; Lk. 10:25-28; Gal. 1:9; Mt. 7:21-23; Mt. 13:40-43). Too much is at stake. We must not ignore my several hundred Scriptural proofs (which you have rejected, but have not even read).

    OK…Let’s agree to set aside 7 minutes per week for further dialogue.

    Each week I’ll ask a question and answer one of yours. Then, you find 7 minutes each week to do the same.

    HERE’S MY QUESTION FOR THE WEEK: Why do you claim “the New Covenant is not yet”, when these Scriptures (Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 9:15; Heb. 12:24) show that the New Covenant has already been inaugurated?

    You see, if we participate, now, in the New Covenant, then WE ARE ISRAELITES in covenant with YHVH, and we should obey the Torah (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; Heb. 10:15-16) as the New Covenant declares.

    Look forward to hearing from you a week from now…

    blessings,
    David Reuben Stone

  19. Gerald Eaton Says:

    Hello. Just stumbled onto your website/ad for Revl.book.
    Reading these comments:”Sabbaths & Feasts Nailed to the Cross”. My sympathies and empathies. Former WCG member.Long personal journey also. Understand your position with David Reuben Stone. Believe it has to do with coming to understand the “higher law of liberty” toward which Torah only points. There are no instructions in New Covenant,requiring followers of Christ to keep Sabbath/Holy Days. How could the Christian slaves do such?
    Took me 20 years to conclude faith in Jesus is our “Sabbath”, and fulfills the spiritual intent of Torah. Also conclude we are to be led directly by Holy Spirit, (not that we ignore scripture or sound Christian advice/teaching), but this is another subject which few of us seem to experience. Presently remain non-denominational Believer. God Bless.

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