Today is the holiest day of the year, the holiest day in all of time and eternity. Today we know Him. We cannot know Him on any other day.
God has one holy day, only one. This particular day is so important to God; if we do not observe this holy day, then we are forever lost. This particular day is the only day in which we will find Salvation. It is the only day when God will speak with us. It is the only day when we can know Him. God will always and only fulfill His purposes on this one most important day.
Today. – There is no other day.
Today is the holiest day of the year, the holiest day in all of time and eternity.
Today we know Him. We cannot know Him on any other day.
We can study everything and anything in the Old Testament, drawing it into our present lives as a metaphor of Christ our only life fulfilling all things now through us without getting into too much trouble. (You understand that there are Bible people who will not wear a cotton/polyester shirt because it is a transgression of the law and therefore sin. But those people would not likely engage with the things I teach.)
Everything from the Old Testament is fine except one, it seems. The Feasts.
You see, there are some dear believers in Jesus, brothers and sisters who rejoice in Christ our life, who also believe that God holds, by divine requirement, certain days as superior to God other than Today.
Here is the problem. When we say, “Christ as us,” we are encompassing all cultural differences. You see, almost every part of “Christmas” is horrific paganism, rooted in satanic ritual. It is impossible to remove Christ from “Christmas” because Christ was never in such a thing; He lives in our hearts, nowhere else. The only “Christian” thing more blatantly satanic is the placing of a steeple above the entrance into a church building.
I do not regard “Christian” holidays, including “Easter,” and would not participate if I were a single man. But without one thought otherwise, I embrace with all joy all Christians who enjoy such festivities and participate in them with my own family at home. If I enter a church that bears a steeple, I give it no thought, but embrace all of my brethren in the liberty of Christ.
There is NO contradiction. Christ has removed all offence.
If I find a group of Christians in some isolated valley that find some joy of worship in standing on their heads for ten minutes on Thursday of every week, I would, by the grace of God, stand on my head with them, rejoicing in Christ our only life.
As an aside, it is true that Satanism in ALL of its forms places symbols at the top of everything. They do not care what anyone “believes” about the symbols; they just want people to use them. They are convinced that if people will just use their symbols, then they will hold power over people.
They are deluded. All people are in God's hands; all the screams of darkness are empty and without purpose.
Nevertheless, some of their symbols, those at the very top, have no useful purpose for us and thus I have counselled individuals not to make use of them. Among those are the single eye of Horus, the horns of Baphomet (including the now popular devil's hand salute), and the upside down broken cross, commonly known as the “peace symbol.” There are a few others as well. Back to the purpose of this article.
There is one culture, however, that can be a great danger to a person's relationship with Christ Jesus their only life. That culture is the Jewish practice of observing any of the natural earthly elements of the Old Testament. And that is why the Jewish mind is the least willing to embrace utterly the cross of Christ.
Let me bring in here two chunks of Paul speaking his heart out against all observance of Old Testament stuff.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us (all of the earthly expressions of Old Testament ritual), which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it (all Old Testament ritual and requirement) to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (feast day) or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. . .
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations. . . according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion . . . Colossians 2:13-23
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so. . . concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish (literally “crap”), that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. . . Philippians 3:3-10
It's not a question of Old Testament practice versus no Old Testament practice. The heart of the matter is one thing only.
Anything, anything, anything that gets in-between us and Jesus now in us as our ALL and ourONLY is our enemy. Because, you see, if we believe that God, say, regards some earthly days above other earthly days, then, when push comes to shove and we are caught in the midst of horrific pressure, we will hold to what is external, to earthly elements, to what is visible, to practices we do, and call them the thing that makes us “right” with God. And in doing so we turn our backs on Christ, who lives as us by faith alone.
Oh please, please, please, do not participate in any regular observance of the Feasts. Such practice will always replace Christ your ONLY life; it cannot do otherwise.
Do you see how Paul brings circumcision into the New Covenant, into our present lives? God gives all good things richly for us to enjoy. Thus I enjoy my family at Christmas time with no shadow crossing my mind concerning the dark origins of the cultural practices. And I will NOT allow anyone to judge me regardless, as Paul said. Yet, circumcision is cutting away the shadow of ritual that covers over the reality of Christ.
Why did God place before us the stark pictures of Moses breaking the entire law in the sight of the people and of Jesus failing utterly at the simple task of carrying His own cross?
He wants us to know that LIFE comes from NO earthly practice. Life comes only out from Jesus who already fills our hearts to overflowing. Death comes only from ignorance of Christ living right now as us in all we find ourselves to be.
Attaching any significance, that is, any calling of this or that earthly element “special to God” above other earthly activities, will ALWAYS create ignorance of Christ, and thus will always kill.
Circumcision to Paul's mind includes cutting off ALL earthly Jewish ritual, practice, exaltation of one thing over another. Cut it all off, all of it is crucified, nailed to the cross.
Now, the days of the month that I have used on the feasts are recorded in the text of Scripture as in the 10th day or the 17th day of the 1st month. That first month carried the Hebrew name “Abib.” I use words we know in order to make Christ personal to us and to contradict the notion that God regards one earthly element above another earthly element, one day of the week or month or year above another day, or one language above another language or one cultural practice above another cultural practice.
For that reason, I have translated the Hebrew word, Abib, directly into the English word “April.”Abib is the first month of the Jewish religious year. The day that the High Priest decided each year was the “first” day of the new year governed how the “days” of that year corresponded to the circuit of the earth around the sun.
There is no such thing as a secret “calendar” that God holds that is different, somehow, from any “Gentile” calendar we may know or use today. In another place, Paul said, “Do not give heed to Jewish fables.” The idea that God has a special secret calendar He regards or wants us to regard is a Jewish fable. There is no such thing.
Now, this claim is rooted entirely in the cross and resurrection of Christ. However, let me bring in two particulars that also support this claim that no special “holy” calendar exists. (Of course, I do believe very much in a special, holy, and sanctified day – Today, the only Day of Salvation there is.)
First, the year is determined by one revolution of the earth around the sun. In Moses' day, the earth was closer to the sun than it is now. Thus the earth made a full circuit around the sun at the same time that it spun on its axis 360 times. But we are talking about a shattered solar system and a shattered universe. That point of equilibrium in which the earth spun 360 times in one circuit around the sun held for only a few centuries. Probably during Joshua's day, because of cosmic events beyond the earth itself, the earth was pushed further away from the sun resulting in 365¼ spins per each circuit around the sun.
Those extra days would not have bothered the holding of the feasts one bit because Israel's religious year was only seven months long. It began on the first day of the first month and ended on the 22nd day of the seventh month. The extra days would just have filled up the space after the 22nd day of the seventh month.
The question some believe is important is which day, exactly, did the first day of Israel's first month fall on.
Now, in doing a bit of research, I discovered a claim that Exodus 12:18 makes the equinoxes to be the determiners of the “date.” Yet when I read Exodus 12:18, I find no such thing. I could care less what people say God said. I have so often found fables, Jewish or otherwise, instead of what God said. Nowhere does any word God spoke tie any “date” to the equinoxes. Then, in Leviticus 23:10 & 15, Moses said count from the plucking of the first sheaf of grain from the field fifty days to the Day of Pentecost. That places the plucking of the first sheaf of grain on the Day of Passover. Is that the first stalk of wheat out of the ground in early spring or is it the harvesting of winter wheat?
Understand that all tradition of what these things mean began to be created after the return from Babylon, after Malachi. All tradition of what these things mean was fashioned by the Pharisees, men who found unending confusion in God's murky contradictions and decided it would be a great idea to straighten all that out.
If we count the days of the equinox's that measure the earth's circuit around the sun versus the days of the feasts, were the dates of the feasts different every year? Did the decision of when the first month began follow the growing of plants, and thus the weather? Why did God make it so vague and murky? And why do human beings think it is so important to figure the dates out precisely? Whence comes all these calculations of Easter and Passover?
The whole thing is idolatry; the separated human mind trying to turn God into magic, the image of a glorious serpent. God has one Day of Salvation – Today.
You see, God told Moses to place a serpent up on a pole for the people to look at and be healed. Yes, that serpent on a pole symbolized Jesus nailing all darkness to the cross. But some years later the children of Israel had turned that very symbol into an idol to worship, as God's people ALWAYS do. Thus God had to tell a later prophet to destroy that original symbol. The exaltation of some special calendar is no different; thus God made sure that the directions were unclear and that the calendar was likely different every single year.
What determined the day each year that Israel would call the first day of the first month? Was it the weather or was it the equinox? Regardless, it was set by the discretion of the High Priest. Let's talk about both.
The weather determines the particular day a plant comes out of the soil or is harvested. And when we say the weather, we mean the weather at whatever the present location of the High Priest might be.
What about the High Priest? The moment Jesus died upon the cross, the moment the veil was torn in two in Herod's temple, the Levitical priesthood ceased and the Melchizedek priesthood began. There is one High Priest only; His name is Jesus and He lives in our hearts.
Jesus, the High Priest, looking out from your heart, looking out through your eyes, sees a first stalk of wheat coming up out of the ground in, say, October, or January, or July, or maybe He sees a field ready for harvest. Guess what, that's the day of whatever Feast God wants to reveal to whomever He is speaking right then.
The feasts to us have nothing to do with dates or whatever Jewish people do or don't do. The feasts are ONLY their fulfillment in the lives of believers, only what God is doing right now in each individual heart. I cannot countenance a study of the feasts that will attach them to present ritualistic observance.
What does God think of the law? For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. . . Hebrews 8:7-9
Look at those words: “finding fault with them.” What and who? God found fault with the entirety of all the law He gave through Moses, including all the performance of the feasts. God doesn't like the law as applied to man. He thinks the whole idea stinks. That's why He commanded Adam to leave it alone.
And that's why He commands us to cast out both the bond woman, the entirety of the law, and her son, all who regard its performance, including the temporal observance of the feasts. Yet we receive all people in just the same way that Jesus receives us, with wide open arms and with no condemnation whatsoever.
Let's get back to what day marks any feast in God's year. Let's draw from the law as God intended. Jesus, the only High Priest, looks out of my eyes right now. He looks around and sees today. He likes today. “Hey,” He says, “Today is a great day. I see the sprigs of LIFE arising everywhere I look. I see fields white for harvest. Today is a day to worship God; today is a day to rejoice in all of My Salvation; today is the day we should fellowship together in sweet communion in the Holy of Holies, heart with heart.”
Well, that decides the issue. Today is the Lord's day. Today is the special day. Today is the Day of Salvation.
No one can keep the feasts on the “correct” days for the simple reason that the “correct” days cannot exist. They cannot exist because there is no Levitical High Priest in the natural city of Jerusalem doing whatever the High Priest was supposed to do to determine the “dates.” And there will never be such a person doing such a thing ever again. (Some individual person can claim or be acclaimed to be the “High Priest,” but we will know without question such a claim is a deadly lie.)
Now, as I said, all my numbered days are precisely what Moses said, that is, the first, the tenth, and so on. The questions some have is concerning my translation of Abib to April (And I respect and honor sincere questions people ask of me). “April” is simply the language I speak, the only language I know. Yet I am considering altering my wording a bit. I have no desire to offend precious people, yet I cannot yield the truth of Christ to ritualistic observance. While we receive all cultural expressions of Christ as you, we guard against anything that would replace Christ with the righteousness of observing any portion of the law including days and months and years.
But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. Galatians 4:8-11
Do you hear Paul's heart: “I am afraid for you.” I write these things for one reason only: I share that same heart. It is the heart of Jesus in me, jealous over you.
Jesus wants you for Himself alone. Few things get in between you and Him more effectively than any observance of any element of Old Testament ritual, including and especially the earthly observance of the feasts.
Let the cross cut it all away. Count it all loss.
Know Jesus alone, Jesus filling your heart, Jesus living as you, Jesus your very breath.
But then we must bring in another issue. I have stated that “God will fulfill Tabernacles on the Day of Tabernacles.”
By the requirements of the gospel, that Day must be Today. It can only be Today. But I have also made note of God doing special things in revealing Himself to me through the last weeks of September and into October. Am I being contradictory?
It sure seems to me that I am.
You want the truth? I have no answer.
We know that whatever “date” God might have set, Jesus messed it up by saying, “Those days will be shortened.” And as God's High Priest, He said, “You don't know what 'day' it might be.”
Now, it is God, most certainly, who is stirring up all this “date” issue. There is no problem whatsoever about my using the English word “April” in place of Abib. The problem is entirely my statement that “God will fulfill Tabernacles on the Day of Tabernacles” meaning either the 15thor the 22nd day of the seventh month, however that might correspond to our calendar year. (And looking at the specifics of the feasts makes me realize that I have messed these two days up. We will explore that when we get to the Feast of Tabernacles.
So here is what I want to do. I want to hold this before the Lord together with you.
Here's the deal. Dates don't matter twat. They really don't; and they dare not mean a thing to anyone who places Christ above all. The ONLY thing that matters is the revelation of Jesus Christ. And that revelation comes entirely through our fixed faith in Him. Today!
If I must swing my sword against any elevation of the beggarly elements of natural observance, then I must. But my only concern is that we might know this Christ who is our present life and who desires with all of His heart to prove God true through us into the entire universe, both heaven and earth.
– Okay, I wrote “I have no answer” yesterday. Let me write again today.
Yes, God has a “date” in mind for the fulfillment of Tabernacles. But that is a date He has never told anyone, including Jesus. Jesus does not know God's calendar. Why? Because if Jesus, the High Priest, does not know God's calendar, how, in God's name, can we? More than that, how can a group of religious intellectuals who don't know God calculate what Jesus does not know? And if we cannot know God's “calendar,” then we will be unconcerned about any other day than the Day of the Lord, the Day of Salvation, the Day above all Days.
Today! Today is the Day of Atonement. Today is the Feast of Tabernacles.
Nothing will ever become visible until we first stand in the certainty of that reality by faith alone TODAY! Until we live entirely turned around, God going out through us in all things at all times, today.
Let me bring in something else. Paul said, “I am all things to all men. To the Jew I am a Jew, and to the Greek I am a Greek, if by any means I might win some.”
Yes, he said that, but he wasn't very good at the “to the Jew I am a Jew” part. Throughout his entire ministry he attacked Jewish thinking and practice influencing the church, and they responded in kind. Sometimes it was Gentiles throwing the stones or locking Paul up in prison, but if you read carefully, you see that it was usually the Jews behind the scenes, egging the Gentiles on. Paul's last encounter with a group of Jews resulted only in their walking away arguing among themselves after Paul charged them with Isaiah's “seeing you will not see and hearing you will not hear.” Not a good way to win friends and influence people.
In this letter, I have brought in Paul's gospel concerning Jewish things and concerning the laws and rituals of the Old Covenant out of Galatians, Colossians, and Philippians. I understand how God is working inside of Paul. You see, he spoke Galatians first, off the cuff, responding in frustration to his own precious Gentile converts listening to Christian Jews, former Pharisees, whispering Mosaic tradition. Then, a few months after writing Galatians, he is determined to keep the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem and will not listen to everyone telling him it's a bad idea. More than that, when he gets to Jerusalem, in an attempt at being “a Jew to the Jews,” he has Timothy, a half-breed, circumcised.
It doesn't work. – Then God gives Paul long years to sit and think quietly – in a prison cell.
The texts of Colossians and Philippians were written in that solitude and quiet contemplation. In them Paul writes the same thing as what he wrote earlier in Galatians, but now it means so much more to him, the utter vanity of attempting to keep the feasts. In that quiet prison solitude, Paul wrote these words:
But what things were gain to me (all the practice of Jewish ritual included), these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish (including his freedom), that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.
Know Christ; know Him alone.
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. . . but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Part of the old leaven is Jewish tradition, part of it is all Mosaic ritual. We keep the feast every moment of our lives. Christ Jesus our Passover – Today.
And so I will continue using the feasts of Israel's religious year as a METAPHOR only, a simple device by which God reveals to us Christ living as us right now in every moment of Today. Having the details of the metaphor is important to knowing Christ, yes, but only as a metaphor, not as something in themselves.
A Note on Dates & Hebrew
I must add a short note concerning “dates” and the Hebrew language. As I explained in “Applying the Feasts,” I find the dates that I use in Reese's Chronological Bible. I also said that none of them, prior to 586 BC, can be accurate. The Hebrew month Abib roughly corresponds to our month April. Even though we cannot know any exact correlation between Abib and April, we can think of “April” in this context, not as our April, but as the Hebrew Abib, and so on. The truth is, it makes no difference.
I use these specific dates BECAUSE I insist on bringing the truth of the gospel into our current understanding, Christ made personal in us now. The dates provide for us the context and structure of story.
I share with Paul an abhorrence for Judaizing, or even Hebrewizing the Christian gospel. And I share that abhorrence for the exact same reasons. To tribalize the gospel, to Old Testamentize it, is to turn a wineskin that God Himself SAID He has discarded, into the wine of God in our imagination. It is the worship of former wineskins, the belief that, because God moved in a certain way back then, He must move that way with us now.
The Old Testament is a deadly book, and it will kill you dead if you do not keep it bound in its place. We do not deify the Old Testament, any more than we “deify” God.
God called Himself YHWH; He did not call Himself Yahweh. YHWH means that God is our very breath, God in and God out, God personal in us. “Yahweh” turns that reality of God into an image far above and far away, an idol.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
Man is the breath of God, God in and God out, in a body of flesh. God manifest in the flesh.
The reason we say “God” and “Lord” and not the ancient Hebrew names is that God dare not be turned into a tribal deity. God has one personal picture of Himself in the earth; His name is Jesus. His name is not Yeshua. No one ever called Jesus Yeshua. His mother voiced, “Hoshea,” and His disciples penned “Ieosus.” “J” is “I” in the German languages, but the English tongue shifted the soft “j” sound into the articulated “J” of Jesus.
Those who exalt the Hebrew beyond simply a human language that changed rapidly over the centuries from Moses to Christ are exalting the belief that a particular language spoken way back when is somehow “God's” language. I am convinced it is a violation of “thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
God's language is the dialect you speak right now. God has no other language; God has 15 billion languages.
God in and God out – YHWH – your very breath.
Paul swung his sword fiercely against every attempt to Judaize the gospel, even when those attempts came through Peter and the other disciples. Because of Paul, each one of us can say, “You want to know what God looks like? Look at me. God is my breath in and my breath out; God is made personal in me.”
The moment we give God a form outside of ourselves, a form to exalt above all other forms, we place ourselves entirely on the outside of this One who carries us, outside of Him only in our knowing, yes, but knowing Him is eternal life.
Because Sam Fife made wide use of the symbols and metaphors of the Old Testament in his teachings, many in that fellowship spent much time in the Old Testament, teaching from it. As a result, the Old Testament grew in its rule over the gospel, as it always does, until I sat in services and heard Solomon's cursing placed as the rule over everything Paul said. Paul and Paul's gospel were dismissed almost entirely by that rule.
The Old Testament is a deadly book, and it will kill you dead if you do not keep it bound in its place. Rather, we use it for one purpose only, to find ever greater joy in the revelation of Jesus Christ in, as, and through each one of us, personal, here, and now.