Sometime ago this statement to me, and it stuck with me. We as twentieth and now twenty-first century Christians have gotten away from the notion of the Hebraic realities of the faith. Most of us today in America are Gentiles who have never has any use for the ritualism of Judaism. Since we were not raised, "kosher" we look down our theological noses at the poor unsaved Jew who is struggling along in his yearly calendar of events that define who he is in life. We hear the complaint of the heavy load that Judaism brings to bear with all its rules and regulation and we rejoice in our supposed freedom.
Now while they are under a heavy load and even a bondage to rules and regulations that hem them in. These self-same rituals, days, rules, regulations, and observances ad infinitum also define who they are and give them a firm foundation to stand on when all else is "shifting sands". The only problem they ever had after the resurrection of Christ was the notion that He was the one they were looking for. If they ever come to grips with this truth as a race their freedom and power in God will put us to shame! Truth is they will be made to come to grips with this truth for they will see the one they have pierced and in one fell swoop all the lies propagated from the beginning will evaporate in living color. Meantime we turn around and look at the early church and its power and wonder, "why doesn't it happen as regularly here and now as it did then?" "Where are the miracles of the faith?"
What did the early church have that we are missing? They had an Old Testament called Tanach. They had the Torah portion with its Decalogue of Commandments, the Casuistic Law of the Precepts and Levitical Priesthood Ordinances, and they had the Testimonies of the Patriarchs Moses Joshua Esther Ruth Ezra Nehemiah Daniel David and Solomon. Finally, they had the former and latter Prophets of which Daniel is not a part. This is all they had and they sat around with this sacred set of scrolls and studied it with their Jewish compatriots who had access to such things. These people strove over such issues as circumcision of men when they receive Jesus so they may eat the Passover or not? Or does the Temple and Judaic Law define these who are not a part of that covenant in Abraham or not? Indeed the problem of Judaism attempting to define this "new thing" as a sub sect of its own tired religious system prompted God to draft a dispensation for the suffering and beleaguered Gentiles. The Jerusalem decision basically tells all Gentiles that they need not adhere to anything in Judaic Law save the abstinence from fornication and eating things which have not been bled out first.
Since that decision however a new problem has arisen. The decision itself was meant to stop Judaism from contaminating Christendom with its manmade rules and regulations. In the infant stage growth of the Body some gave rise to the notion that we no longer even have to consider the Old Testament at all. Worse still, after the legalization of Christendom as a state religion made it possible for the New Testament to be formed; Gentile believers found all they needed in Paul's interpretive explanation of the Tanach. Since God had made the interpretation through Paul Himself, they felt they did not need the Old Testament and study of the Old gave way to the experience of the New.
To finally compound the problem to its final error the charismatic movement brought experiential Christendom with the idea that God was real and as such could be interacted with like any other being. You talk to Him He talks to you, you "love" on Him, He "loves" on you, and you feel it!
This is where we are today but when I look at the Old Testament, I see a frightening statement. It's bound up in a word and that word is "perpetual". Certain things in Torah law especially and specifically the Feast days are considered to be observed perpetually throughout the generations of Judaism. Now this wouldn't bother me over much if I didn't find in Paul's writings a horrific notion that we are in fact Jewish!
Let me explain this. Remember the Vine parable of John chapter 15? I am the Vine you are the branches? Paul goes back to that statement when he tells us we are grafted into the Vine, which is Jesus. So it is and thus there should be no trouble yet Jesus Himself makes this statement and in so doing, redefines Paul's later statement of engrafting. Salvation is of (or from) the Jews (Jn 4:22) This he said to the woman at the well, That they worshipped what they knew not and the Jews worshipped of that which they knew for salvation is of the Jews. Now once I link the theology together and believe me there is much, much more than this to base a theology on, I get the following.
Salvation is of the Jews and in fact the long awaited redeemer of humankind came to the Jewish race, kept the Law, and learned obedience to it.
Jesus the redeemer is the Vine and all who love Him and keep His commandments and abide in Him are the branches, producing fruit fit for the Father.
We the gentiles are grafted into the vine as wild olives. In all plant husbandry anyone knows that a grafted portion will in time take on the majority characteristics of the mother vine whilst flavoring its fruits with the mere shadow of its former mother vine.
But if salvation "be" a Jewish thing and the Vine, which is Christ, "be" a Jewish Jesus and we are given the privilege of being a part of something, which we were once disallowed from. Then what does it mean to be saved?
Saved has at the very least two aspects. Like the coin it has a head and a tail an "into and an out of " and "an unto, and an away from". The tail is the former dominion of darkness as a child of disobedience outside the covenant of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, which is formalized in Moses. The tail is of a predisposition and predestination to be marked out as though targeted for the great tribulation. When the wrath of the Father prepared by the Son is poured out much like the contents of a wine cup on planet earth. The head however is translation into the dominion of the kingdom of our God and into His marvelous light by redemption purchased in blood. The head is also unto the mount where the angel and the saints and the entire bridal body of Christ awaits us on Zion in Jerusalem the great and holy city, and to the wedding feast there.
But then what is this kingdom of marvelous light? What is this wedding? What is this city four square in Israel? The kingdom is the kingdom of our God who revealed Himself and His ways and means of doings to a people hardly worth the effort called Hebrews or cross-er over-ers.
What He gave them was this elaborate legal and moral system of codified laws that would govern them as a nation. In fact, it is so well structured that it can easily be expanded to govern the entire planet! He also gave them a structured religious system and a protocol for each approach to Him as their "God". It was so precise as to leave no margin for error. To the Holy of Holies no mere man could just traipse in any old time, plunk himself down, and prop his feet up on the ark and simply have a heart to heart with God. Though I must say, David did manage to come into the personal presence of God quite a bit. Priests were to refrain from consumption of alcohol when they knew they would be on duty in the Temple so as not to have the judgement clouded and thus stray from the set standards and dictums given by God.
The simplest observance of God's things was the Decalogue and the Feast Days. In Paul we see the simplest observance of all these. Adherence to the Ten Commandments also requires the keeping of the seventh or Shabbat day as set aside and Holy. On this day, the gathering is for to commune corporately with God and to hear and understand the scriptures. But it is argued isn't the Lord's day or Sunday a Shabbat? No it isn't for Shabbat is specified and so is the Lord's day and together they constitute a double blessing to end and to begin the work week in Shalom or restive peace. But the keeping of the second blessing never negated the keeping of the first required observance. It is best kept with Bread and "fruit of the vine", in remembrance of Him.
The feast days are likewise observable with the cup and the loaf although at feast of unleavened bread Matzah takes the place of the loaf. The gathering to have "church" and to partake of communion is the easiest way to observe all the times and seasons.
But why complicate things? Because One is coming and is even at the doors now who will require that the old ways be kept.
As is said when I began this. It "be" a Jewish thing