As a Christian, a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am not required to follow Old Testament regulations and ceremonies for worship to be accepted and favored by my heavenly Father. Whenever I begin to think that there is some ceremony or regulation (of the Old Testament) that I should put into practice as a child of God’s, I begin to feel a heavy burden. Then I get back under the yoke of Christ! (Matthew 11:30) For my Lord said:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The Lord, who is the Spirit, is the One I choose to walk with to the end of His course for my life. I can die to sin and live for His purpose in me, because He fulfilled His purpose on earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. I can die and live because He died and lives!
Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the Old Testament regulations and ceremonies with His blood over us and His Spirit in us. Yes we have been grafted into Abraham, God’s promise to Abraham for our future inheritance with Him. We are not required to live the way God required Israel; we are under the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the new and living way. Although we are not “under the law” that God had written down (by Moses through His Spirit) for His people, we have it written on our hearts by the same Spirit, the indwelling Holy Spirit, having our consciences cleansed so that we can freely serve the Lord our God as clean vessels.
Those ‘old’ regulations and ceremonies were required for the body then – until God would establish a ‘new’ way of doing things that would last forever. I like the way “God’s Word Translation” puts this passage in Hebrews:
But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world. He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of cows sprinkled on unclean people made their bodies holy and clean. The blood of Christ, who had no defect, does even more. Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God and cleansed our consciences from the useless things we had done. Now we can serve the living God.
Because Christ offered himself to God, he is able to bring a new promise from God. Through his death he paid the price to set people free from the sins they committed under the first promise. He did this so that those who are called can be guaranteed an inheritance that will last forever. In order for a will to take effect, it must be shown that the one who made it has died. A will is used only after a person is dead because it goes into effect only when a person dies. That is why even the first promise was made with blood. As Moses’ Teachings tell us, Moses told all the people every commandment. Then he took the blood of calves and goats together with some water, red yarn, and hyssop and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “Here is the blood that seals the promise God has made to you.” In the same way, Moses sprinkled blood on the tent and on everything used in worship. As Moses’ Teachings tell us, blood was used to cleanse almost everything, because if no blood is shed, no sins can be forgiven.
The copies of the things in heaven had to be cleansed by these sacrifices. But the heavenly things themselves had to be cleansed by better sacrifices. Christ didn’t go into a holy place made by human hands. He didn’t go into a model of the real thing. Instead, he went into heaven to appear in God’s presence on our behalf. Every year the chief priest went into the holy place to make a sacrifice with blood that isn’t his own. However, Christ didn’t go into heaven to sacrifice himself again and again. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was created. But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once to remove sin by his sacrifice. People die once, and after that they are judged. Likewise, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of humanity, and after that he will appear a second time. This time he will not deal with sin, but he will save those who eagerly wait for him. Hebrews 9:10-28
There will always be those people, people with even good intentions, both worldly and religious, who try to compel me (you) to do something you don’t need to do in order to be accepted by God, or to be important here on earth or even in Christ’s Kingdom. But, the only one we need to become like is Jesus Christ and the only one I need to really listen to and obey is our Lord’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God’s Word, Christ’s perfect Helpmate, because all that counts is a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)
Jesus, in coming the first time, fulfilled everything in the Law of Moses except that which He fulfills at His second coming.
In Christ, I have become a new creature for His kingdom. Because of Christ, all worthless things, all evil, even death, will be judged and thrown into the lake of fire. With Christ, the new world of His kingdom life is coming to reign forever. The old order of things will pass away, according to God’s Word through Isaiah His prophet. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
All the things that Jesus fulfills in Himself – are of the old order. The new world of His Kingdom will be about making all things NEW as in their original state before sin entered the world; new for eternal life to carry on the way God intended.
Apostle Paul’s concern is also my concern: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) I am free to observe/celebrate Old Testament feasts and festivals, but not to make it my practice year by year because it could cause new believers to stumble; that of thinking it is required of God. AND, I am not to keep celebrating sin along with society, honoring what God calls evil either; no longer observing days that represent wickedness in man or the worship of the gods of our culture.
The Old Testament feasts and festivals do not accompany our great salvation.
“Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.” Hebrews 6:9-11
We are not to add to what Christ did for us on the cross, or to what He has given us to do. The work of the Lord that each of us have to do with His Holy Spirit is what “accompanies” our great salvation. Signs and miracles accompany those who have believed in Jesus Christ. (Mark 16:17) The work of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ includes signs and miracles of the Holy Spirit.
So, I tend to keep it simple: The only thing that counts is faith in God’s truth – expressing itself through Christ’s law of love; that to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. For this sums up the Law and the Prophets of old! (Matthew 22:40)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8