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It is the holiday season and I just received this email about Bible holy-days (holidays):

I recently watched the "God and your brain" seminar DVD. It was very informative and I want to thank you for putting together such insightful information. During the seminar the topic of God's Law came up, and I'm wondering if you could clarify your thoughts on whether Christians should observe the 7th day Sabbath, and the Feasts (Passover, ULB, shavuot, tabernacles, etc.). Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts.


Thank you for your question.

I separate the Sabbath, which began in Eden, from the Feast Days, which began 2,500 years later at Sinai.

My understanding of the instructions to Israel, regarding their annual festivals and sanctuary service, is that it was a grand play, a theater, a drama, with costumes, stage, props, and a script (Torah); all designed of God to enact the greater reality of the plan of salvation. The annual feast days were basically a yearly progression from the entrance of sin into the world, through the history of God’s work to heal and save and the ultimate elimination of sin and the restoration of the universe into unity with God again.

Here is a brief overview of their symbolic meaning:

Passover:

As soon as man fell into sin God passed over their sins. Romans 3:25 He left the sins committed before hand unpunished. This feast had ultimate fulfillment in Christ—the Passover Lamb. Thus the time from Adam’s sin until Christ’s death on the Cross is all represented in the Passover Feast.

Unleavened Bread:

This feast began immediately with the Passover, and symbolizes that God immediately began dispensing truth unmixed with error to nurture and feed his children. The lamb slain and the bread without yeast both represent Christ, the source of truth and healing for sinful man.

The Passover meal was eaten before the actual death angel came, which symbolizes that God had predetermined to “Passover” our transgression and provide a Remedy to our condition. Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). Jesus was also the member of the Godhead through which creation occurred (Col 1:16) and Jesus has always been the source of the truth about God and this truth was being revealed to Adam and Eve before they fell into sin, as well as afterward.

Thus the Feast of Unleavened bread symbolized the internalization of the truth about God as provided by Christ.

The wave sheaf, which was part of this ceremony, was also symbolic of Christ—the first fruits raised from the dead. Just as the wheat is buried in the ground and dies and comes forth in newness of life, so too Christ was buried in the ground and came forth in newness of life!

Feast of Weeks (Pentecost):

The truth spreads and takes root in many hearts and a harvest is experienced. This was fulfilled during Pentecost 2000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit fell upon those believers of the early church, and the truth about God spread throughout the known world.

Trumpets:

A special message for the end of time which is to awaken the world (symbolized by the 10 virgins in Christ’s parable) from their slumber and announce the soon return of Jesus the bridegroom. Prepare! Get Ready! Christ is coming back soon! This message began with the Great Awakening in the 19th Century.

Atonement:

At-one-ment, it is the time just before the second coming of Christ where the truth about God results in believers being reconciled in heart, mind, motive, method with God, such that they are like Him in character for “we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1Jn 3:2).

Tabernacles:

This is symbolic of the second coming of Jesus when the saints tabernacle with God for all eternity.

Thus the Feasts are only symbols, lessons, rituals; they have no power to heal and save and are not necessary for us to practice today. But, as any other ritual or object lesson, there is no evil or sin in practicing them for the purpose for which they were originated—to help us understand the larger reality. We must be careful though, that if one chooses to practice these rituals that they don’t allow the symbols, the object lessons, the shadows of things to come to obscure the reality to which they point.

Regarding the weekly Sabbath—it has a much larger purpose and was made for man not man for the Sabbath—Jesus words referring to the human race not just the Jews. (Mk 2:27) But for what purpose was the Sabbath created? I discuss this in the second lecture of God and Your Church seminar. << Click the link to watch.

 

A theologian recently posed the following question to me:

What was the purpose of the "ceremonial law"? Why is it "changeable" (or "fulfill-able; what was "fulfilled)?

When White says "The Holy Spirit saw good not to impose the ceremonial law on the Gentile converts, and the mind of the apostles regarding this matter was as the mind of the Spirit of God," (AA194), that implies there was a time when it WAS imposed, with serious consequences for disobedience. How would your approach handle such situations? (I use this example as your EGW quote above specifically excludes the ceremonial). Sincere question, if you've the time.


Thank you for your sincere question, and one that is very reasonable, given how God HAS used imposed laws in human history, as you mention.

Keeping in mind all the previous Bible and EGW quotes about God’s law being the law of love, the simple answer is – because sin damaged the mind of mankind such that we could no longer properly comprehend God and His law, thus He stepped in and communicated in a way they could comprehend, in order to protect and lead them back to Him and His design.

As Paul states:

“We…

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I have been thinking a lot about how God is a God of love and not a cruel God. I have gotten to a point that i cant think past, What was the point of God putting the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil in the garden. I just don't see the point in it. the only thing that could come out of that tree was death but still God put it there.

To put it into perspective its like a loving father creating the perfect environment for his new born child to live and grow, but then he puts chocolate bar in the middle of his house that he has injected poison into. Would not a loving father protect his children from death rather than putting it in the middle of their habitat?

sincerely,

A confused listener


Thanks for sharing how this message has been a blessing. The key to understanding the Tree of Knowledge is understanding God’s law. Do you see and understand God’s law as the design parameters upon which life is constructed, like the law of gravity, laws of thermodynamics, law of liberty, law of worship, law of love, the construction protocols for life, etc.? Or, do you consider God’s law to be arbitrary rules, like human laws, with no inherent consequence for breaking them except as arbitrarily determined, legislated, and enforced?

If we consider God’s law like human law, then we look at the Garden and wonder what is going on. We falsely conclude that God was setting them up, or God introduced something harmful in their path, just waiting for them to stumble over it.

But there was nothing poisonous about the fruit; it was not physically harmful in any way, so the analogy of the poison candy doesn’t really work. That comparison makes it appear that something dangerous and deadly was put in the garden. But this is not so. The tree was not dangerous or deadly. What was dangerous and deadly was to break trust with God, to believe lies and act on them, to deviate from His design for life, and to choose to change themselves from beings operating upon the protocols of perfect love to beings operating upon fear and selfishness.…

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Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing to fear except fear itself.” Have you ever wondered about that famous statement? Imagine walking a four-inch wide balance beam placed securely on the ground, your feet only a few inches from the dirt. Now imagine walking that same beam raised 100 feet in the air. Would your ability to successfully traverse the beam be negatively affected as you look down from such a height? What changed? Fear!

When we are afraid, the brain’s fear circuit (amygdala) activates, which floods the body with surges of stress chemicals (adrenalin and glucocorticoids). We experience the classic “fight or flight” response in which blood is shunted from our internal organs to our muscles and glucose is dumped into the blood stream. This is to bring us to quick attention in the face of an external threat, like the house being on fire. However, chronic fear, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of what others think, fear of financial ruin, and chronic worry of any kind keeps the fear circuits firing, which activates the body’s immune system, increasing inflammatory factors that injure our bodies. Under chronic fear, worry, and stress these inflammatory factors damage insulin receptors, increasing the risk of diabetes mellitus, obesity, high cholesterol, heart attacks, and strokes.…

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Recently, I have noted, from online forums and emails, a resurgence in the number of people who misunderstand what our ministry teaches. It appears these misunderstandings arise out of false assumptions. For instance, if we say we don’t believe in “penal substitution,” then some individuals allege we don’t believe in the substitutionary nature of Christ’s death, which of course is not true. This appears to happen because the people who make such allegations seem to consider “penal substitution” the only possible way for Christ to be our substitute. So, I thought I would provide this blog, which may be of benefit to many of you, our readers, if you find yourself confronted with similar concerns.

  • Denying Penal Substitution does NOT mean denying the substitutionary nature of Christ’s death.
  • Denying God punished Jesus at the cross does NOT mean Jesus avoided God’s wrath.
  • Denying God placed every sin ever committed upon Jesus does NOT mean Jesus did not become sin for us. He did!
  • Denying Christ paid a legal penalty does NOT mean Christ did not pay an infinite price. He did!…

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Can you please explain the genocide that occurs in the Old Testament. For example God orders the Israelites to go and wipe out certain nations. The reason held is because if they dont then the influence on the Israelites will lead them away from God. How do you reconcile this order with the picture of a loving God?


Thank you for your question, one that has troubled many. We have difficulty with these Old Testament events for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t get as much information as is available about what transpired at that time and two, we have a restricted view of time.

God’s intention for Israel was that they would be a nation of priests who ministered God’s remedy, love and truth, to bring salvation (life, not death) to the world, including the nations around them.

Although the whole earth is mine, you [Israel] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ (Exodus 19:5,6)

...For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. (Isaiah 56:7)…

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