The Jewish division in the first century

Around the time Jesus came to preach the law, there were two other great Jewish directions of faith.

Two great Jewish rabbis. One was called Shammai and the other was Hillel. Known now as Beit Shammai (Shammais house) and Beit Hillel (Hillels house). The two groups following their teachings disagreed on hundreds of points. Hillel died around the year 20 ACE and Shammai took over as president.

Statue of Hillel.
The tomb is believed to be the tomb of Shammai.

Hillel was the grandfather of Gamaliel, the one mentioned in the Bible and with whom Paul had attended the school (Acts.22:3). Shammai was a leading man around the time the rabbis and scribes rejected Christ, and because of the influence of these two great rabbis, it is clear that it is these men’s teachings Christ is debating in the gospels. They also started a new era of Judaism. Especially, Shammai especially sold the idea that there are two Torahs, one written in scripture and one given verbally. The verbal “Torah” gave them the opportunity to add as many things as they wanted, of explanations and practices, that were not in the Bible and call it “words from God”.
Christ debated these groups of his day, and the Jewish people were already at a way mark at that time. One way or another, Judaism would not remain as it had been because of these divisions and new ideas. With the coming of the oral Torah, it could only head in two directions. The Judaism of Christ or the different directions of Judaism by these rabbis.

Hillel is still popular today, and most beloved by Jewish communities. A 1st-century Jewish rabbi is still more beloved while 1st-century rabbi Jesus is still rejected.

According to the New Testament, Jesus is the oral Torah. He is the law that became flesh, the word of God manifested. When Jesus explained the law and how to uphold it, He was the oral Torah. He was teaching how the written Torah was to be practiced and manifested. The competing oral Torah from the rabbis was therefore an anti-oral Torah. Another “antichrist”. Another thing competing and claiming to be truth against the real truth.
In one way, Christ was forced to make his entry at this point in history because if he had not, the Jewish nation would be led in a direction God could not go with them. The direction of the false oral Torah. He was their last hope to keep their religion clean from false teachings.
John wrote about Jesus: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Joh 1:11-13)

Here is stated that those who received Christ and His teachings would be given the “power to become the sons of God”. Those who chose the other teachers, the oral Judaism, would be rejected as children.

Jesus said: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (Joh 3:19)

The Jews rejecting Christ continued the new Judaism inspired by rabbis instead of Christ. The oral Torah was accepted as the guide to God. These ideas and work are the inspiration for Judaism as it continues and as it is manifested today. Around 500 years after Christ, the oral traditions on how to interpret Scripture and God’s law were written down and called The Talmud. One was written in Jerusalem (Talmud Yerushalmi ) and the other in Babylon (Talmud Bavli). The Talmud consists of two main parts. The Mishna and the Gemara. The Mishna is said to be the oral Torah given to Moses and only preserved orally until written down in the Talmud. The book is written by rabbis, preserving their traditional interpretations as divine of origin. The Judaism we know today, even those not using this book, has over many generations inspired each other and each of the other understandings of scripture.

Babylonian Talmud. Few are aware that centuries of Jewish traditions of interpretations are from the Talmud. It is about how God’s law is practiced, however, Christ said those who rejected Him misunderstood His law. God’s law can not be kept within a legalistic framework, it has to be kept spiritually.

This Judaism was a rejection and an alternative to Christ’s rabbinical oral teaching. The Jewish alternative is a rejection of Christ’s righteousness. To the Jewish oral laws, Jesus said: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat 15:9).
Therefore, many problems will come when Christians now think that modern Judaism is harmonizing with Christ’s Judaism. Ultimately, going to learn from a Jew today could unfortunately also mean a learning of the doctrines and understandings Christ spoke against, and replacing Christ’s righteousness with the righteousness of His contenders, even His killers, that of the Pharisees and Scribes. No Christian should go from the righteousness of Christ to that of Hilal or Shammai. It is therefore critical Christians are aware of this before learning scriptures from modern Jews.

The gospel and letters in the New Testament are the “oral understanding, oral explanation” of God’s Old Testament and law. The New Testament itself is the competition to the written Jewish Talmud. Christ is the oral law, the gospels are as close to a Christian “Talmud” as you can get.  Christ preached God’s law, and the law, prophets, and Christ together represent the truth. All other writings of the New Testament are either complementing this or written to help resolve issues within the churches. Anyone after Christ can not present new laws or do away with God’s laws. Only God has the authority, and He says He can not.

The Hebrew language is not needed to understand the Bible. The spirit is.

It has become popular in our time, especially after the birth of the modern state of “Israel” to say Christians need to learn how to understand the Bible from Jews. This was God’s initial plan if they had received Christ and His teachings, to be the center of learning for all nations. They would have had this elevated position of sharing and mediating God’s truth to the world.
Now Christians are reaching out to learn how to understand scripture from those who have for hundreds and hundreds of years twisted scriptures against Christ’s righteousness. Many Christians believe that modern Jews and the modern state of Israel are the center of learning after God’s original plan, when they, in fact, failed and were rejected. We see Christians ignorantly learning at the feet of “Hillal” and other Talmudic rabbis. Satan can deceive best when he goes as close to the truth as possible, having the misguided Jewish congregation act as if they never lost their position, and using the scriptures about them as if they had been faithful and preserved the truth is so confusing that most buy into it.
Multitudes are turning to rabbis and Hebrew teachers to get a more in-depth understanding of scripture. Many Jews converted to Christianity recently uphold this view and claim they are, after “months” as Christians, better acquainted with teaching men the bible than even a generational Christian. On conversion, they uphold their Jewish superiority over other Christians regardless of the state of their conversion and amount of knowledge.

The Hebrew Bible is Only superior if translated by The Holy Spirit.

In one way it has elements of truth, in another way, it can lead to deception. Many modern Jewish converts are very influenced by the doctrines of the churches that converted them and mix this with traditional rabbinical thinking. This mixture can become unfortunate in understanding the Old Testament correctly. They use their Jewish heritage as God’s approval of their doctrines, and few dare say anything against them. It is a way to “whitewash” false Christian doctrines through a Jew.
If there were only one way to understand truth if everyone read Hebrew, naturally all who speak Hebrew would have the same understanding. Which they do not. Within Judaism and Hebrew messianic movements, the understanding of truth differs despite being able to read the Bible in Hebrew. It is not the Hebrew language that reveals the truth, it is the Holy Spirit. When man dismisses the Holy Spirit, their thoughts and ideas are added to God’s original meaning, and it becomes distorted no matter the language. People have blind spots, no matter the language. Our brain shuts away what we do not desire to be true, no matter the language.

Jesus revealed this when he spoke to the most learned Hebrew-speaking biblical scholars in his day and said to them: Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (Joh 5:39-40).

They saw the eternal life in there, but they could, for the life of them, not see the condition for this eternal life, Christ. Still today Jews memorize the scripture and know them all by heart, yet still can’t see Christ in them. They still don’t understand what they read or what God really wants. God does not want sacrifice (rituals, hypocrisy, visual stunts), he wants mercy (Matt.9:13) Or as Jesus said: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (Joh.7:24)

All of Christ’s debates with the Pharisees and scribes were on how to interpret the Bible. It is said Jesus spoke Aramaic, but he most likely did also speak Hebrew. The Pharisees and scribes spent years studying the scriptures in their original language, Jesus said they distorted it and misunderstood the meaning and even what God wanted to tell through them. Their error was so great that they could not even see that the “fulfillment of the law and the prophet” was standing right in front of him. They were so wrong about God’s law that they viewed Christ, who was in perfect harmony with that law, as a law-breaker, and themselves, who Christ claimed broke it, as law-keepers.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Mat_22:29)

Although they claimed to be true to Moses and the biblical teaching, Christ said about them the opposite: “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luk_16:31).

They read Moses every day, and they still do. Yet, they are not understanding what they read correctly because they have pushed away the interpreter, the Holy Spirit. Jesus warned His followers: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt.16:6) Here Christ explains that their interpretations are like leaven in the bread. It spreads and affects everything, even that which is good.

The Hebrew language therefore cannot bring someone to the truth, it is as weak of a language as any other. Only the language of the Spirit can translate scriptures to the heart. Only an upright heart can see the truth when they read the words of truth.

Although the disciples had gone to the synagogue and learned from the Jews most of their lives, Christ had to unteach most of what they had learned and re-teach them so they would understand things in the right light.

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. …Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” ( Luk_24:27  and 45)

The oral traditions of the rabbis were written down. The word “Talmud” means “learning”, yet it was Christ who was supposed to be the “Talmud” for understanding the law, rituals, and prophets. Jews who rejected Christ rejected his learning and took that of the Pharisees and scribes.

Although not followed by all Jews systematically, the ideas behind much of the Talmud are now part of what constitutes modern Judaism and how they understand scripture, their rituals, and their history.

For Christians, going to learn from Jews how to understand the Old Testament is therefore highly problematic and can be at best a deception that leads away from God’s intended meaning. A leaven is a small dough representing error mixed into a greater dough representing truth. Rabbinical Judaism does have plenty of good teachings, but their errors lead away from Christ’s righteousness.

Who would have predicted that Christ’s followers would one day go and sit by the foot of those continuing the ideas of the ones Christ openly rebuked for being unlearned?

Yet, it has happened because the birth of the modern state of Israel has made many believe they are God’s chosen again, and therefore they must have the truth.

After Christ came, Judaism split into two groups. One followed the disciples who had learned how to interpret the scriptures rightly after God’s will, the other groups were those who followed the Pharisees and scribes. The ones who were chosen to uphold the truth and were chosen were the group that followed Christ’s interpretation. Thus, the Christian direction, while it was undefiled, had the oral truth of the scriptures and the Jews the corrupted version and understanding.

God continues to tell His people that God does not reveal the truth through one language. During Pentecost, there were people of all different nations gathered in Jerusalem. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples after the Old Testament, God revealed three important things.

The continuation of the blessings to Israel was only to be fulfilled upon the faithful. As prophesied: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” ( Joe 2:28-29)

Peter confirmed that this was fulfilled and spoke of the Christian-Jewish movement. (Act 2:16)

On the feast of Pentecost, God made sure everyone could understand the truth in their own language, interpreted by the Spirit.

The second was that the Holy Spirit, instead of letting all those people understand Hebrew, revealed the truth in their own different languages: “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (Act 2:8-11). 

Thus, the truth of God can be understood perfectly in any language as long as the Spirit interprets it. Likewise, as Christ showed, speaking Hebrew did not necessarily mean you could interpret the scripture correctly. It was God who had created a lot of the foundation languages: “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Gen 11:7) God is not just revealed in one language.

During Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks, God did the opposite of what He did in Babel and allowed anyone to understand the words spoken.

From all of this, we can understand that a Christian does not need to go to a Jew to rightly understand the Bible, in fact, often, they will be confused about its real meaning. They have to go to God or to those people who have continued the faith of the apostles. That is not modern messianic Jews if they are inspired by false Jewish understanding mixed with the understanding from the apostate churches that evangelized to them. Now that evangelicals have adopted in large part the false Jewish understanding about the coming of the Messiah, many messianic Jews feel at home with these teachings, while in reality, they need to hear the truth. Some messianic do have the truth more than some Christian churches, but it is not a fast rule that truth is always found with the claimed Jew-by-flesh. It is not a fast rule that the moment a Jew converts, he becomes superior in teaching to every other Christian.

Right understanding is found where the line of faithful has continued for generations, proven to have the spirit of prophecy and the blessings of God, along with respect for God’s law and Christ’s gospel. Where God’s law is upheld as Christ directed it to be held.

The Book of Revelation describes God’s remnant of Israel in this way: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev.12:17)
Again, we can revisit Revelation 12 where we see a woman who gave birth to Christ, representing the true Israel of God, and how it was scattered from Israel and had to run in hiding, persecuted. The story of the church is told multiple times in multiple ways in Revelation, and we see an experience of trials and deliverance that has brought the assembly in close relation with Christ. Through these experiences, God’s people have been sanctified and disciplined, just like Jacob was, they are walking with a limp symbolically speaking. They understand God better than often many who have gone from erroneous Jewish understanding to charismatic Christian views, without being able to properly distinguish errors from truth. God has always had a people representing him, a “kingdom of priests”. 

Christians who have misunderstood scriptures resemble in many ways the understanding and teachings of those Jews who have misunderstood, which makes it fairly easy to go from one error to the other.

If the real group of God’s people whom God has worked through by Spirit and prophets are ignored, important corrections to misunderstandings are not made. Warnings that false teachings entered the churches are not heeded. Who the end time “bad guys” is not understood.

Many Christians seek the truth from messianic Jews who are not mature in Christ enough to lead the way. They do not have the experience and background yet to lead. Yet, they are chosen as guides because of their ancestral DNA only. Still, there are exceptions, and God calls out leaders where he pleases after His own judgment. God’s men are also among the messianic community.

Unconverted Jews do not represent Moses and the prophets.

Modern Judaism, even the most dominant in the time of Christ, misunderstands Moses and Abraham, even their ancestors. Jesus clarified that Moses and Abraham were more like Him and loved who He was and is. They knew each other: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” ( Joh 8:56-58)

In the Bible, we learn that the tribe of Levi who had been given the taste of carrying the sanctuary items, did not understand either God or Moses and tried to remove him as leader. If their eyes were clouded living side by side with Moses, so can anyone who claims to follow Moses thousands of years later. Only this time, Moses is not here to defend himself.

Many Jews thought they were like Abraham or followed in his footsteps just because they were descendants of him and had words describing his life and relation with God in their hands. But Jesus told them that one thing does not necessarily mean the other: “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham” (Joh 8:39). 

When Jesus was on the mount of Transfiguration, both Elijah and Moses came to encourage Him. (Matt.8:4) Jesus knew Moses very well. Jesus said: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” (Joh_5:46)

In all this, we learn that Moses and the forefathers were more like in practice and understanding of what Christ was representing than the Jews of his day. Since Christ’s day, Jews have rejected the Spirit speaking the truth and have over two thousand years had time to freeze and even advance their misunderstandings and are in as bad a state now as then, if not even more.

If they no longer, by rejecting Christ’s interpretation of the Old Testament, represent either Moses and their forefathers, they can no longer teach people how to understand the same correctly. Thus, they are not law teachers anymore. For they will teach us a Moses and an Abraham, a David, an Elijah, and Elisha that is different than they actually were. They had Christ’s righteousness, the same the Jews reject. They will teach people that they are Jews in the same way as they are, which is a lie. Many of those who were true to Christ, like the Old Testament of the prophets, were killed in their day. Isaiah was sown in two by his own people. Jeremiah put in stocks. 

Jesus said to them: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation” ( Mat 23:29-36)

By this, Jesus shows us how they ended up so far away from the truth, despite having the scripture to guide them. It had always been a split where one part had misinterpreted God to their damnation and one part had tried to silence those who spoke the truth. Even Moses, they tried to stone in his day.

If those who saw and interacted with Moses themselves, who saw the sea part in front of them, who heard God’s voice speak the law, a greater manifestation than those who just read about Moses and the law, still were able to reject the truth of it in their day, it is even more possible for Jews to do it in Christ day and in ours. 

Had Jesus come today among them, he might have been stoned the first month, let alone after three and a half years. That is, unless it is someone imitating Christ speaking what they want to hear, then they would receive him as Christ said: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (Joh 5:43). 

Satan will even have people come and say they are the anointed and the Messiah. Satan knows they will receive a false Christ if he is pleasing to them: “And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” ( Mar 13:5-6). 

This is just what happened to the Jewish congregation when they received a false messiah, which ultimately led to the rebellion against Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. They had received Christ if he had rebelled and said he would free them from Rome. But Christ said he came to free them from their sins; thus he was rejected. He did not flatter them or elevate the false teachers but called them out on their fanaticism and bad behavior. Rather, admiring their studies and degrees, he called them out. Yet when someone came and flattered them, favored and supported their errors, and claimed God wanted them to be delivered from Rome and that He would go with them when they rebelled, they received him gladly.

The Jewish sanctuary and feasts

God took from the Jews the sanctuary and with them its feasts that could only be fulfilled with a sanctuary. By it, God did not just take away from them the priestly service, the feasts no longer were theirs. This is something they would hold on to anyway. The Jews did the same at the border to the promised land. When God told them to take the land, they refused. When God told them they were to return to the wilderness, they did the opposite again and tried to conquer the land without His blessing. Likewise, when Israel had their independence, they would not keep God’s feasts and sabbath and instead followed the practices of the surrounding pagans. When they rejected Christ, they continued to keep the feasts and sabbath as if they had done nothing wrong. This is Satan’s constant tactic to keep people in rebellion. He also did it with the Christians. When the Christians were faithful he persecuted them, when they were apostates, he needed them to keep their traditions from the Bible so they could confuse the truth. The same he did with the Jews. First, he wanted them to rebel against God and was happy with that. But when they crucified their King, Satan wanted them to appear pious and apparently harmonize with God’s standard. What Satan fears is when we obey God and practice His truth together. As long as a lethal lie is in the religion, he lets us keep the religion, as it cannot save us and will confuse everyone else. Either Satan wants us to reject God or He wants us to misrepresent him and cause confusion. Which one we do is the same to him. The biblical command was that three times a year Israel was to assembly by the Tabernacle during the appointed feasts. 

“Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD” (Exo 23:14-17). 

Among the requirements to keep these feasts was to be met before the tabernacle with its appointed sacrifices, as well as a tithe from the harvest. To keep it, there must be a tabernacle, and there must be a sacrifice. After the Jews lost the temple, God therefore also took from them the blessings of the feasts. They cannot meet the requirements God has set to keep them.

The second requirement is for the tithe to go to His house, His house after Christ is Christ. He is “the temple” and His people are both the “temple” and “the priests”.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body” (Joh 2:19)

About Christ’s followers it is said; that He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Rev.1:6)

This means the tithe is to go to Christ, the high priest, and His workers as they are the new priests.

After Christ died, there were to be no more animal sacrifices, at least no animal sacrifices would be accepted. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Dan 9:27) 

Therefore, the only way to keep the feasts after Christ’s death is through His sacrifice.

Sacrifices were demanded to keep the feasts right, today only Christ’s sacrifice gives access to God’s feastly gatherings.

It is therefore impossible to keep the feasts or receive the blessings of the feasts without the Heavenly sanctuary present and approached. Without Christ’s sacrifice being at the center of the feasts, there is no true feastkeeping.

Because Christ made the other sacrifices to cease, the now-kept Jewish Passover is in violation of the order of Christ if replaced with a sacrificial lamb.

The Passover was a prophetic feast pointing to Christ’s coming, death, and resurrection. The Passover lamb symbolizes Christ. Egypt symbolized the kingdom of death, and leaving it symbolized life in Christ. All of Israel had to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost to be spared of the coming judgment.
This symbolizes that those of Israel, who have not accepted Christ’s blood for their sake, are under God’s judgment. Their feast is illegal, for it is not kept after God’s order.
Every year Jews continue to prick with a fork in their unleavened bread. This has now become a symbol of how their continued rejection and crucifixion of Christ: “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

(Zec.12:10) Each serving is eaten in rejection, each hole a repetition of the holes created on Christ’s afflicted body from the nail marks on his hands and feet to holes from the crown of thorns, to the hole in his side where the blood and the water came out. Every time they eat the poked unleavened bread at easter in rejection of Christ as that which the symbol points, they uphold their resistance.

Their sacrifices are illegal.

The Jews have successfully, after scattering God’s people, given the world the illusion that the Passover is theirs and are Jewish and unconnected to Christ. The truth is that Passover belongs to Christ. It is His feast. He is the high priest, he is the lamb, and He has the sanctuary. He is the temple. Without Christ, Passover is a lie and the breaking of the law.

All the feasts given to Israel belong to Christ. They are a testimony of His sacrifice and priestly service. It is the plan of salvation laid out. When the Jews rejected Christ, they stole these feasts from whom the feasts were all about and by it misrepresented God and His laws. The feasts were meant to follow the remnant of Israel, Christ’s followers, as they followed Christ into the sanctuary in heaven. Rather the Jews reject Christ being a witness to the world, they deceive the world by saying the traditions are theirs and Christians are not allowed to take part because Christ has no part in it. Christians are fooled into believing these lies and end up rejecting God’s celebration of Christ’s priesthood in the belief that it has nothing to do with Christ and that it belongs only to Jews.

The Jews did this very early on, so early on that Paul had to address the deception.

In Colossians, he addresses how those who are not circumcised have been told they cannot take part in the sabbaths and moon days, they have been told they cannot eat or touch what the Jews claim are holy and only for them. Paul then argues that they are indeed holy through Christ, that His death for them and the cleansing of their sins are a greater “cleanse” than circumcision can be. That one is superior to the other, and by the circumcision of the heart through Christ they are allowed to take part in what is actually about Christ in the first place. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; … Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col 2:13, 16-17) . 

These verses have often been twisted around and used as an excuse for Christians to break these same things, or even to break the Sabbath. However, the meaning is understood because Paul first speaks about circumcision, and we know Jews would not let anyone take part in their worship and Passover if they were not circumcised. The only reason Paul would reassure them they were good enough was to encourage them to take part in the feasts, the sabbaths, and even the feast meals as if they were equal through Christ. The argument is that these things are a “shadow of things to come” and that all of it “is of Christ”. It’s his body. It represents his sacrifice, it represents his priestly service. It represents Christ’s first and second coming. A greater qualifier is, therefore, taking part in Christ, not a circumcision that does not say much about where the heart is.

In the past, circumcision was an important symbol of giving God their body and heart, their obedience. But when they kept the circumcision but rebelled against God, the symbol had no effect as a qualifier anymore.

“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:25-29) 

The famous verses of Paul that many Christians claim mean they do not have to keep God’s law, feasts, and sabbath anymore are actually Paul saying they are qualified to keep them. Even more qualified than the circumcised. 

The newly converted pagan Christians were discriminated against, and it was to such a degree that they misunderstood what belonged to Christ, and they instead went back to pagan feasts and traditions and even Christianized them to win the pagans over. Paul warned them strongly about thinking they had no part in God’s culture because they were not of Jewish heritage. These ideas were planted by Jews rejecting Christ, trying to separate the prophecies pointing to Christ from Christ. As a consequence converted Jews upheld these errors as Christians.
Paul tried hard to hold together what the others tried to pull apart: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal.3:26-29)

He argues that they too, although uncircumcised and of pagan origin, are now through Christ Abraham’s seed. They are grafted in and part of Israel. And therefore the promises are theirs, not just the Jews.  Unfortunately, the rejection from the Jews led newly converted pagans to think they had to continue their pagan culture instead and keep culture separate from faith. Paul warns them against such folly:

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” ( Gal 4:8 -11). 

By the false gospel, this has been turned around to give the opposite meaning. Christians now use this as evidence that they are not to observe the sabbath and feasts ordained by God. But Paul is clear, he speaks about the feasts and seasons they kept “when ye knew not God” and while they followed those who “are no gods”. And that going back to the traditions of the pagans, they go back into bondage.

They can be the promised seed, part of the culture of God. Yet are chased away by Jews of the flesh from taking part, told they cannot take part, and therefore are returning to their pagan culture. This happened because the God given culture was separated from faith. This way, Jews could monopolize their culture without Christ and pagans could keep their culture with Christ. Both are a deception. Paul warned against separating God’s culture from Christ.

The pagans were to be “crafted in” and become part of Israel. The new branches, converted pagans, took their place, while the unfaithful Jews of the flesh were rejected. “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear” (Rom 11:20)

Paul, who was taught the law at the feed of Hillel’s grandson, converted to Christ and became a teacher for the first Christians. He had things to unlearn. He clarified that Christ’s sacrifice was superior to circumcision and that pagans who had been cleaned by His blood were allowed to take part in the blessings of Israel.

The feasts were given by God as a witness of Christ to His faithful. The feasts and the sabbath can only be kept through Christ. Jews who continue these traditions while rejecting Christ are not only keeping an empty shell of religious practice, but they are also witnessing falsely. They are preventing Christians from taking part in Christ’s culture by fooling them into believing that these things belong to the Jews of flesh rather than the Jews of faith, which can be both gentile and Jews. On Passover, only those who cover themselves in Christ’s blood, are blessed. On the Feast of weeks, only those who cover themselves in Christ’s blood are gifted the Spirit. On the Feast of Trumpets, only those who cover themselves in Christ’s blood are warned and given to prepare for the coming judgment. On Yom Kippur, only those who cover themselves in Christ’s blood, are represented by the High Priest. On The Feast of Tabernacles, only those who have covered themselves in Christ’s blood will be harvested by Christ to the new Jerusalem. There is no blessing in any of the Jewish feasts without Christ. The blessings of the feast follow Christ’s followers. They are the ones who can rightly explain them and keep them. Unfortunately, because the Jews scattered the faithful from Jerusalem and claimed the feasts were desecrated by those who believed in Christ, they succeeded in both getting Christians to reject God’s culture and making themselves appear as the guardians of it still. 

The feasts were meant to prophesy the plan of salvation, Christ’s priestly service, and he gave them to Israel to safeguard the truth spoken through symbolic language. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Heb 8:1-5)

To rightly keep the feast now the believer cannot go to Jerusalem. As Jesus said: “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father” (Joh 4:21) 

Rather, to keep it, we have to turn our hearts to the sanctuary in heaven. 

God gave the Jews the feasts that Yehovah called “my feasts” so that they could minister God’s truth and gospel to the world. They chose to refuse, and they stole the foundation God had built to share the gospel and claimed it had no part in Christ. They stole from Christ what belonged to Christ. When they did this, they robbed the temple of God and placed themselves under condemnation. And because they did this and confused the followers of Christ, the truth about Christ’s mission as a sacrifice and priest is lost to most Christians and even the world.

It is true that God told Israel in Egypt to keep the feast throughout all generations. However, God directed this command to them as a chosen people. The moment they left God, they were no longer chosen or “children”. As Jesus said, they were not sons of Abraham unless they did as Abraham did. It was God’s faithful remnant that was to keep it in all generations, not the unfaithful. When the “kingdom of priests” was moved from Israel by the flesh to the followers of Christ, they were to inherit (together with Christ) to safeguard God’s culture and to represent its meaning. To explain the exodus, Moses, the sanctuary, and the rituals. All of these became the office of the followers of Christ. To guard and explain the law and even the feasts.

When the Jews by flesh rejected Christ, they could no longer do this.

Although God told them to keep them in all generations, this was not to be if they were unfaithful. The feasts were taken from them when they were unfaithful. When they were disobedient during the 40 years in the wilderness, they were not permitted to keep them together with their opposition.

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward …When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” ( Isa 1:2-4 & 12 -15).

So those Jewish hands full of blood ought not to keep it. Remember what they said: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Mat 27:24-25)  

God’s people are not invited to God’s feasts aka gatherings with blood on their hands. Their sins have to be repented and atoned to be welcomed once again.

Not just Christ’s blood is put on them, but Christ also said: “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation” (Mat 23:35-36). 

The Jews reject Christ, their feasts “My soul hateth” God says. So the Jews have since Christ Day discouraged the true hairs of God’s promises to keep them, and they have insisted on keeping them with blood on their hands. 

As we can see, God does not say they should keep the feast as holy law, regardless of what they do. Rather, he says it is in vain and is a provocation to God when it is done in rebellion. Rejecting Christ was a Jewish rebellion against God, thus their feasts and sabbath observance were unwanted.  

The lost tribes of Israel, who were the first to rebel against God and who were never allowed back into the land after the Babylonian captivity the following is said: “I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts” (Hos 2:11). 

It did not matter that they were descendants of Jacob, infidelity and holiness do not combine. What God said in Egypt no longer applied to them.

The Jewish celebrations, and sabbath dinners, appear godly, but it is really just an illusion? Every Passover seder plate is a rejection of Christ as their savior and every sabbath celebration is a rejection of the One who gave them life. Just like the Orthodox and Catholic churches, ceremonies seduce many into false security and spirituality. The emotions experienced in ceremonies can feel similar to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Science shows the release of stress-relieving hormones when taking part in gatherings where everyone is doing the same. Christmas feels “holy” to many Christians, confusing the joyful
atmosphere with the Spirit, for the same reasons. It leads Christians to think God is blessing the pagan-catholic holiday. However, non-Christians feel the same awe at Christmas dinner. The combination of doing something special, not every day, showing respect for something, and then fellowship, leads to spiritual emotions and hormones that give joy and peace. Repetition of smells, words, and music, all help create these emotions. The real Spirit, however, follows truth.

God addressed this once again to the prophet Haggai. He said: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean” (Hag 2:11-14). 

Keeping God’s holy feasts and sabbaths does not make the Jews holy. Holiness does not transfer, uncleanness does. So when a rebellious Jew keeps God’s holy times, he defiles his observance instead of the observance sanctifying him.

God had said: “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. And he said: “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God” ( Eze_20:12 & 20:20)

This does not mean that someone becomes holy for keeping the Sabbath. The holiness of the sabbath is a seal on a faithful heart. But the sabbath itself cannot make anyone holy. The Sabbath is a sign of obedience, taking God’s commands seriously. But it is “the Lord that sanctifies” not the sabbath. When the sabbath is kept while the heart is in defiance, the sabbath becomes desecrated and the people keeping it do not become holy.

The point is further explained in Ezekiel when God says: “Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness” ( Eze_20:21 )

God’s sabbath became polluted. It was not just plainly broken.

God explains: “Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths. For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.” ( Eze 23:38-39)

So they came to God’s house on the sabbath, as required, yet they were ungodly and did evil, and thus their behavior polluted both God’s sanctuary and the Sabbath. This is the crime of Jews today as well. They blaspheme God and Christ while claiming to honor God. “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD” ( Jer 7:9-11). 

The great disillusion a Jew can have is to think they can reject Christ, the prophet and messiah, their Lord and their redemption, spit and mock him. Yet still come and thread God’s courts and sabbaths and not profane them.

Is it possible for a Jew to keep the sabbath without Christ?

The Bible is clear. It was Christ’s breath that gave life to the first man, Adam. He was the beginning of creation. The world was created by him. It was Christ that worked and rested upon the sabbath. Refusing to acknowledge their life-giver and lawgiver is doing the opposite of what the sabbath commandment asks. It required us to acknowledge Him who created man by resting upon the sabbath as a memorial of his work. Before they knew not that this commandment spoke of Christ, and they could therefore keep it in the name of Yehovah and respect Christ before His incarnation. But after Christ came and revealed Himself to them, they would desecrate the sabbath unless they received Him and gave Him glory, as “ the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” ( Mar 2:28 ). 

” If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin” ( Joh 15:22 ).

It is Christ that sanctifies. As written in Ezekiel, “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.”

I am YEHOVAH, that sanctifies them. Jesus is Yehovah and He can only sanctify those who come to Him, and thus the sabbath blessing can only be given through sabbath observance in Christ, not outside of Christ.

The sabbath observance of the Jews that reject Christ is therefore not sanctifying them. Rather, it is kept in rebellion and not in obedience. The rightful guardians of the sabbath are, therefore, as with the feasts, the followers of Christ. The faithful Jewish remnant grafted together with the pagan converts to God’s culture and atonement.

The Jews are desecrating and misrepresenting God’s feasts and sabbath, portraying it as a right of the circumcised, not only of the circumcised, for that would include Muslims and many Christians with such traditions, but to those who reject Christ alone and accept their interpretation of these same times as symbol of the Jewish excellency as Gods chosen kingdom of priests, instead of Christ. It is an antichrist religion. It takes from the heir and gives it to the “husbandmen”: “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” ( Mat 21:37-41) 

Because of all of this, the Jewish-by-flesh is not the chosen advocate for God’s times. “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off” ( Nah 1:15 ). 

Only through Christ, there is peace, the wicked are cut off, and the good tidings and the gospel come with Him. They who bear this message shall keep the solemn feasts and perform the vows.

The Sabbath and feasts belong to Christ

We see that Christ did not treat the feasts as if they belonged to those Jews who rejected him. He treated them as if they were his and those who followed him. Jesus died on Passover day, he rose on the feast of the first fruits. He asked them to wait and prepare for the Feast of Weeks and on that day, Shavuot, He poured out the Holy Spirit as promised to his people, on his holy day. He claims the feasts for himself and his followers.

Christ fulfilled the symbols of the law, told his people to keep them, and blessed them on the same day. But those Jews that also kept the feast, but without Christ, were not blessed. Only those who did it in Christ were. Christ then went to the sanctuary in heaven to minister on behalf of his people on earth.

There he will perform the work the priest did on Yom Kippur, on the Feast of Trumpets. On the feast prophesying his return, He will gather the fruit of His work, His people. Christ shows no inclination that these feasts and times belong to “the Jews” or “the past”. He fulfills them and continues to do so because it is His and His temple’s gathering. The others are the unfaithful “husbandmen” when they steal these things from Christ.

To His followers, He said: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” ( Mat_24:20 ) Here again, Christ shows no understanding that His sabbath is to be taken from His followers. They are his and theirs.

Christ had kept the sabbath holy every week of his entire life, as recorded in scripture and by His words that he kept God’s law. In the Acts of the Apostles, we see Christ’s followers, Jews, and pagans alike, keep the sabbath at least over 80 times! (The Disciples Kept the Sabbath 85 Times in the book of Acts – EliYah Ministries) In addition, we see them respecting God’s feasts as well.

Sabbath without Christ is ritualism.

The rejection of the sabbath among Christians came later after “ravenous wolves” came “among them”, and was not part of the early church. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Act 20:28-31)  

Rome and the Jews, although enemies, ripped the culture of Christ from Christ. And placed Christ with idols, and the culture of Christ with those who rejected him. Both took part in destroying God’s truth by deceiving people into thinking Christ can be separated from His sabbath and law.

In return, the Jews who rejected Christ got traditions without God’s spirit and God. When they called, He would not hear.

And the pagan Roman Christians got the name of Christ without blessings and without understanding salvation correctly.

The winner of this was “the dragon” and he had left both parties with “a name” but without the One behind the name. The only ones to expose his lies and deceptions and those he could not control were those who continued to keep Christ and the law and the culture testifying of Christ together in tight unity. And because they kept Christ together with His law and culture, the devil was especially angry with them “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:15-17) 

They are the ones who represent Christ and the culture written about in the Bible correctly. They are the kingdom of priests, they understand Moses, Abraham, and Christ. Because they guard the truth in its right context, unlike pagan Christianity and Christless Judaism, they are especially attacked by both pagan Christians and Jews as well as by the dragon. They are surrounded by apostate religion on all sides.

Only by targeting them, can the dragon, or Satan, target God and the truth. If Satan desires to destroy the truth, he has to attack those who preserve it. The others have already been deceived to help Satan’s agenda of destroying man’s understanding of God and the plan of salvation.

Since Christ was murdered, Jews and Rome have cooperated in one thing, although being natural contenders, scattering God’s people and the truth. It was always a joint effort, from Pilate who did their bidding and crucified Christ until our day, as we will see as our study continues where this collaboration reaches its climax in the battle of Armageddon.

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