Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Seasons and the Law

Here's a little something interesting I learned recently:

Before I begin, let me add the disclaimer that I am not anti-Christian. I, myself, am a Christian who is merely searching for truth in order to live holy unto God, and I reserve the right to change my mind about things as the Lord directs me. I'm simply sharing things that I've learned so far.

Daniel 7:25 says of the anti-Christ: "He will speak words against the Most High and try to exhaust the holy ones of the Most High. He will attempt to alter the seasons and the law; and [the holy ones] will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time." (all quotes from the CJB, unless otherwise noted).

In this verse, the Aramaic word used for the word seasons is zeman, which in essence means "appointed times." Since Daniel was Jewish, I understand this to be referring to God's appointed times, the Feasts, found in Leviticus 23. And, of course, the word law would refer to the Mosaic Law.

If you've done a little study of the history of the early church, you know all about the Roman Catholic church establishing Sunday, the first day of the week, as the official Christian Sabbath, rather than the biblical seventh day (Saturday). And then there's the changing of the celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to Easter Sunday instead of the biblical observance of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits.

That's not to say that the Catholic church is the anti-Christ, but I believe the spirit of the anti-Christ was definitely at work in all that change from biblical mandates to man-made rules. And it has been embraced by the Christian church ever since. Any Jewishness in our traditions has been eliminated, for the most part.

While non-Messianic Jews have failed to accept Jesus as their Messiah and rely on Torah keeping as their means of salvation, we Christians fully accept Him, but we have failed in the area of upholding God's seasons and laws because we've been taught by the Church that because of God's grace through Jesus' death, there's no longer a need to keep them. We've been "set free" from the law, they say. I don't believe this because Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:17 “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah [Law] or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete."

The Bible says that there was a partial hardening of the Jewish heart; that in the end, all Jewish eyes will be opened and all of them will be saved. Paul says in Romans 11:25-26: I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; 26 and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved.

How are we to provoke our Jewish brothers and sisters to jealousy when we embrace non-biblical holidays and a non-biblical Sabbath?

My point is, Daniel prophesied in chapter 7 that the Temple would be destroyed and the anti-Christ would attempt to change the Seasons and the Law, and it's already happened.

Under the leadership of Antiochus Epiphanes, some 200 years before the advent Christ, Jews were forbidden to observe God's Laws and Seasons. Epiphanes' army seized the Temple from the Jews and ordered its desecration. He instituted his own laws, making it illegal for anyone to observe the Laws or Seasons of the Holy Scriptures. One family stood among the Jews and said "No" - the Maccabees (this historical event was prophesied by Daniel in chapter 8 and is recorded in the Apocryphal books of Maccabees I and II). This family led a Jewish revolt which, after a three-year war, eventually led to the Temple being recovered by the Jews. They restored the Temple and re-dedicated it to the Lord. The celebratory event that commemorates this miracle of the victory of God's people is known as the Feast of Dedication, or more commonly, Hanukkah (Hebrew for "dedication").

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us that we need to understand what happened to the Temple as prophesied by Daniel, because the same thing would happen again in the last days, only on a bigger scale. We've already experienced a change in the times (Sabbath, Easter, etc.), and we've embraced the idea that we're "free from the Law," so there's no reason to really worry about the Law since Jesus will forgive us, anyway.

My question is, since the Christian church has, by and large, divorced itself from any affiliation with its Jewish heritage (our Messiah is Jewish!), and if we say that we are free from the law and a good many of us have never even heard of the biblical Feasts, much less observe them, how are we to recognize when they are forbidden to us? Will we even miss them?

How will we be able to stand in the face of persecution for something we know nothing about? Christmas and Easter, as much as we love them, are not God's appointed times. From what I can tell, we've already let go of His times because that's what we've been taught. The questions is now, since I know the truth, what do I do with it?

This is a subject very near to my heart these days, since Christmas is right around the corner. I'm struggling with these things I've learned and wondering why God has led me down this path. It's truly a lonely road.


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