The law containing the feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths were for the body of Christ, and will be forever part of our worship of the true God at the heavenly Sanctuary, and there are ample Scriptural supports to substantiate this fact, but if that is so, why have these things been forgotten? It is because of apostasy that truth is lost sight of always; we are told that God takes away His holy times from an unholy church: “And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” (Hosea 2:10-11)
Yet not only so, but the claim that the “מוֹעֵד – mô‛êd” appointed times of worship were not given to Adam as part of the worship of the heavenly Sanctuary, but rather only to Israel at Mount Sinai is a common one. To this we want to understand why at Mount Sinai the law was given. Many will say God “added” the law, using the verse: “What is the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19) We are told that the law was “added” because of transgressions. Many wanting to disregard the law will say that the law was given because of sin, and the law was done away when Christ, “the seed”, came. Let us consider more closely what these texts are in fact saying.
THE ADDED LAW
We are told when this law was “added” because of transgression. “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the
promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:17) Here, the law being spoken of which was the added law was the law given at Mount Sinai. Yet when we look at the Greek word for “added”, it is “prostithēmi”, is also used in the following verse in relation to Mount Sinai: “And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they [the Israelites] that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more (prostithēmi): for they could not endure that which was commanded…” (Hebrews 12:19) The Israelites did not desire that God would speak anymore to them because of their sins. The ten commandments had already been sufficient to show them the sinfulness of their ways; yet the knowledge of God, His manner and form of worship, and His Sanctuary were lost sight of because of compromise with the manner and practices of the Egyptians which land they were in, therefore Moses went to receive the rest of the law. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law [Torah], and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them.” (Exodus 24:12) God gave Moses the law and commandments which He had written for the purpose of teaching the Israelites who had lost sight of God’s ways, and were in need of instruction “because of transgression”. We must recognize that the law, called in the Hebrew “Torah” meaning “Instructions”, was written by God well before communicating it to Moses.
In the Torah law, the appointed times, tithing, laws of inheritance, clean and unclean meats, types of offerings [thanksgiving/praise, consecration, trespass] etc. were given. In fact, we are told that Abel offered an acceptable offering, that Noah knew the distinction between clean and unclean animals, Abraham tithed, Joseph fled fornication & adultery with Potipher’s wife, and the laws of inheritance were well-understood. We are told of Abraham: “obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My law [Torah].” The statutes contained in the Torah, which many suppose were added at Mount Sinai as a new addition, were in fact spoken because of Israel’s continual backsliding and sin. God was giving to Moses that which He had already written in heaven, and which the patriarchs of old, the faithful fathers of Israel, had observed. The Torah law in fact explains what already existed, illuminating the book of Genesis and the early history of Exodus. It was light given to cast a light upon the history given in it’s pages. The Sabbath was already given as a Torah law before Mount Sinai, when God asked Moses of Israel, “How long will you refuse to walk in My commandments and my law (Torah)?” (Exodus 16:28). So important was this law, that it was not to be simply disregarded by the Gentiles as being exclusive for Israel as many now are teaching. In fact, we are told that “one law shall be to him that is homeborn, as well as to the Gentile that journeys among you.” (Exodus 12:49) God was plain that the Gentiles were not the disregard this law as many now are teaching, but to become established in it. It was when the gospel was especially being preached among the Gentiles, that only four statutes from the Torah law were given to the Gentiles who were gathering at the synagogues every Sabbath.
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21) Notice why the four statutes were given? It was because they did not want to “trouble” them, which literally means harass them further, or pressure them overly much, overwhelm them. They would learn the rest as Moses was preached every Sabbath day. We find an early church that faithfully observed the appointed times, Sabbath, feast days, and new moons: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” (Acts 13:42)
Though not knowing the intricacies of the law, the Gentiles observing the Sabbath was just as God required as a sign of salvation: “My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.Blessed is the man that doeth this…that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it…Also the sons of the Gentile, that join themselves to the LORD…every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain…” (Isaiah 56:1-7)
Yet this quickly began to change as unconverted Gentiles began to say that the Torah law could be changed because of Christ’s death, and the authority committed to them to change the times of worship and laws; these arguments which history shows were the leading arguments away from faithful instruction in God’s law are still employed today with much success in misleading many.
Yet this law is important in explaining the historical elements contained in Genesis, without which, those things in Genesis become dark and mysterious, with no anchor points in which to define their mention in Scripture. For example, the Sabbath is sanctified for mankind on the seventh day as God rests from all of His work. Further than this, the earth is given a means of keeping the appointed times of worship at God’s throne from the creation of the sun, and moon and stars on the fourth day. We are given a record of when these portions of the law began in Genesis. which are explained in the law that God had written and communicated to Moses.
The only Scripture that we are given that described any cessation of any point of the law were the sacrifices and offerings when the Messiah was sacrificed as the true sacrifice and offering by which our forgiveness, praise, thanksgiving, and consecration were secured (See Daniel 9:27). This brings clearly to view the heavenly sanctuary; Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood, and taken away the ceremonial elements contained in the law, to elevate the mind in a clear manner from the earthly service to the purity of heaven’s worship. Yet if some go to the extreme position of saying that the appointed times in the law were done away with when Christ died. However, we are told that this law was to be remembered before Christ returned, and obeyed to restore the blessing of God (Malachi 4:4-6); and that it was to be a sign upon the hand and forehead (in thought and in deed- Exo. 13:9), and a token that a man is walking in the Spirit of God (Ezekiel 36:27).
UNTIL THE SEED SHOULD COME
We are told that the this law was added because of transgressions- in being added, it means it continues to be spoken further “until the seed should come to whom the promise was made”. That means that the law is still being spoken today because of man’s transgressions; it means that it will continue to be spoken to convict of sin so long as there is sin to be convicted of until “the seed should come”. Who is that seed? “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) That seed is definitely Christ, without a doubt. Yet what promise was made to Abraham and to Christ? “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13) The purpose of the law being spoken is because sin exists. Paul said “I would not have known sin but by the law…” (Romans 7:7). The law reveals sin, for “the strength of sin is the law”, and this declares condemnation to death. And “the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” It is saying that the purpose of the law being “added” was to reveal transgression, that we might be led to faith in Christ, that the promise of being an heir of the world to come might be given to us also. That law must be spoken until transgression and sin has led all who will receive it to faith in Christ, the seed to whom the promise was made, that sin may cease forever, and we might partake of that promise also through Him. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) If we are Abraham’s seed through faith in Christ because of the law, then we are heirs of the world to come. Therefore, when Christ comes the second time, it is for all of Abraham’s seed in Him who will be joint-heirs with Him.
The law must fully do it’s work that Christ our high priest, by faith, may fully finish the transgression, make an end of sins, and bring in everlasting righteousness in us, that we might be the seed that is counted worthy of obtaining a share of His throne at His return. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behpoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:16-17) “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:10-13)
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”(1 John 3:2-5) When it can be said of us that there is “no sin”, and we are pure, “even as He is pure”, then will “the Seed come to whom the promises are made.” Then will Christ say, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion…To the law [Torah] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:18-20) Far from taking away the law, with it’s appointed times, at Christ’s first coming, He establishes it, that we may abide in it at the wedding reception of His inheritance as king of the world to come, when the Lamb stands upon Mount Zion with the faultless 144,000 before the throne (Revelation 14:1-4, Daniel 12:1).