A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


December 1, 2013

The Meaning & Observance of Christmas (Part 1); Deuteronomy 12:32

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; 
you shall not add to it nor take away from it.


     For the next few Sundays, I want to engage in a thought-provoking discussion.  What I have to say is likely to be very foreign to you, and I fully expect to be criticized, or at the very least, ignored.  But as I dig deeper into my Bible studies and combine them with my research on the Church's history, I am discovering some facts that disturb me.  Over the coming weeks, I will try to present this information in a logical and honest manner.  It is not my intention to rebuke or condemn; I merely want to share what I have learned, encourage you to do your own research, and let you make your own decisions.  So let us begin ...
     As a means of introduction, I chose this Scripture to begin this dialogue because it is at the foundation of God's instructions to His people.  I am familiar with many Christians who are quick to dismiss the laws and rules of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (and the entire Old Testament, for that matter) because they will say, "That is the Old Covenant; we are under the New."  But, as I have connected with the Hebrew roots of our faith, and taken a long look at what has been lost in the translation from Hebrew to Greek to English, it has become apparent to me that "the New Testament" should have been translated the New "Covenant".  In turn, it is called the B'rit Hadashah in Hebrew, which means "renewal of the Covenant".  So you see, our understanding that the New Testament is something new, different, and distinct from the Old Testament, is actually misleading.  It is the same covenant that God made with His people from the beginning.  Our Bible's New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament; it is really one complete Covenant.  Jesus's First Coming (as depicted in our New Testament) is a sign of God's renewal of that covenant.  Remember, Jesus said He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.  (Matthew 5:17)  
     As God is careful to point out in this Scripture in Deuteronomy, whatever He has commanded us from the beginning, we are to continue to observe; neither adding nor taking away from it.  What He commanded us in Leviticus is still relevant in the Gospels or Acts or any New Testament book of the Bible.  This will be at the heart of our discussion!
     So just what did God command His followers to do after he liberated them from slavery in Egypt and renewed His covenant with them? (God is consistently renewing His covenant with us, His followers)  One commandment that cannot be overlooked nor misunderstood is very plainly stated in Leviticus 23:2 ....  Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.  (NOTE:  God does not say "These are Your feasts".  They clearly belong to God.)
     He then goes on to define just what these feasts are ... Passover, the Sabbath, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles.  Furthermore, he emphatically declares that these Feasts "shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."  The last verse of the Twenty-third Chapter of Leviticus ends with these words ... So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.
     I would ask you to consider that these are not the Jewish feasts, but are indeed, the feasts of the Lord, to be observed throughout all generations... that includes us, folks!  So, as I come to an end of Part One of this discussion, I just ask you to contemplate the fact that the Lord proclaimed these feasts 1) as belonging to Him; 2) as holy "convocations"; which in Hebrew means a meeting, or a rehearsal; and 3) to be a statute (in Hebrew, a custom or a rite) for all generations.
     So what does this information have to do with the meaning of, or our modern day observance of the Christmas holiday?  I'm so glad you asked!  I have simply pointed out God's holy and ordained instruments (the Feasts) for the worship of Him.  Next Sunday, I will begin to lay the groundwork that shows the history of the Christian faith and the diverging paths that Scripture and the Church began to take, and how these holy days were replaced with holidays.  Don't shut your minds or your ears just yet! It's going to get very interesting!

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