Judaizing the church?
The challenge was obvious; the pastor had been challenging almost everything I had been saying about God’s unique relationship with the Jewish people. I’m sure he was certain that this was the ultimate challenge.
“Where is it written in Scripture that the Gentiles should celebrate the feasts?”
“Nowhere” was my simple reply. “If I taught that, I would be Judaizing the church.”
Should the church celebrate the feasts? Absolutely NO!
Can all Believers, Jewish and Gentile, celebrate the feasts? Sure!”
Maybe at this point some definitions would be appropriate.
The Church: Jews and Gentiles who have been redeemed by God’s grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus, Yeshua the Messiah. Therefor term Christian is part of the church regardless of denomination. However, the general perception today of “Christian” is limited to Gentiles. But linguistically, biblically and historically that’s not accurate.
Gentile: The word in Hebrew is “goy” which is best translated as “nation.” Therefore anyone who is not Jewish/Israel is considered part of the nations, or Gentile.
Jew: Here the definition is not as simple, but it is biblical clear. A Jew is a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is culturally and ethnically part of the nation of Israel. Jews have a unique relationship with God which distinguishes them from any and all other nations. When referring to Jews we must include: the people, the land and the unique calling of God (Isaiah 43:10). Biblically and historically Jews are considered Israel regardless of their location.
The One New Man: is synonymous with “the church.” Because the terms church and Christian have been distorted over the years, the One New Man seems to be a more palatable term. Therefore the One New Man by definition must include both redeemed Jews and Gentiles.
THE DANGER OF JUDAIZING
Today there is a growing interest among Gentile followers of Jesus regarding the feasts of the Lord. I believe this is reason to rejoice as God is restoring these wonderful celebrations to His church. But at the same time I’m saddened by the accompanying Judaizing which Paul warned against in his letter to the Galatians.
What is judaizing? Judaizing is the insistence that Gentiles and even Jewish Believers adopt Jewish rituals and customs. Some even claim that these traditions are necessary unto salvation which is a total denial of the Gospel.
Celebrating the feasts isn’t a “MUST” either for salvation or even sanctification. I contend that any celebration of Jesus is a blessing regardless of how it is done. If we are not celebrating Yeshua, Jesus, we are out of order and might be offensive to God Himself. In other words, the key to a God-pleasing celebration is WHO not how we celebrate.
MOSES cf THE NEW COVENANT
I suggest part of the issue is because of a misunderstanding of the New Covenant and the Incarnation of Jesus.
The argument hinges on John 1:14: And the Word became flesh.
The argument continues: “Since “Torah” is the word and the word became flesh, if we are following Yeshua, we must follow Torah.” When asked, “What part of Torah are to follow?” After a few moments of silence, the “must” is reduced to ‘the feasts'”
Of course we do need to recognize that the Torah, as is the entire Tenach, is glorious and good, but Jesus is so much better. In fact, is this not the premise of the entire book of Hebrews?
Yeshua, Jesus, came to fulfill the law and the prophets. While there is much in the prophets that remains to be fulfilled, Yeshua said His words were to be heard, believed and followed.
So as we celebrate, let us ask ourselves what is most important: the HOW or the WHO we are celebrating?
Let us follow and celebrate Yeshua with all our heart, soul and strength
worship Him in spirit, truth, humility and love.
“Celebrate Jesus; the Christian Perspective of the feasts of the Lord.” A simple resource for the One New Man
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