This week the Parsha, or study portion, comes form Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19. Of the 613 laws that were talked about last week, this particular Parsha includes 74 of them and while many people like to skip these sections of the Bible or state that these laws no longer apply to them, these truly have significance even today. Yeshua (Jesus) used many of these laws in His teachings and in rebutting those who challenged Him trying to find fault in Him (compare Deut. 22:22 against Jesus statement of John 8:1 -11 and why He did not say she should be put to death).
Last week I quoted from the book Live Your Festive Heritage and had many positive responses. so I would like to give a slightly longer one for you to think about and enjoy:
Why Keep Them Now? …the Christian culture essentially divorced itself from Judaism almost two thousand years ago, so the holidays and feasts that were observed and cherished by both the disciples and Yeshua himself have become foreign and distant to most of the Christian world…until recently. A stirring among Christianity is awakening many to the beauties and rich symbols of the biblical and/or Jewish holidays.
God Himself ordained and/or sanctioned many of the festivals, feasts, and fasts present on today’s Jewish calendar. Since these days are not merely the invention of humanity, perhaps it would do Christianity well to become acquainted with them.
The remaining holidays on the Israeli calendar are also rich in meaning and beneficial for learning and Christian growth, as they still bear much impact on understanding the modern day Jewish culture and mindset.
God set these moedim (holy days) aside to meet with His people. Like a bridegroom setting a special day aside to meet with his bride, God is ready to meet with His people whether they choose to meet with Him or to pass on the opportunity altogether. Rabbi Shaul, the apostle and Pharisee better known by the Christian community as Saint Paul, adds more insight into the holidays as we read his writing regarding the feast of Passover:
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Here Paul himself is encouraging his audience to keep the feast, but with more sincerity than before. He is by no means discouraging the observance of Passover or any other feast. Indeed, Paul is advocating its perpetuation with spiritual enrichment and sincerity….
… We can safely say that, contrary to popular Christian belief, the Jewish holidays were quite in effect in the Early Church and observed by the first Christians of the time.
So as we approach Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), we need to carefully search the scriptures and spend time in prayer so that the decisions we make are in accordance with God’s law. As Jesus said in Matthew 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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes 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 does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.