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January 13, 2019
In Acts 18:21 Paul says he must keep the Feast. Why do not Christians keep the feasts today. I have been searching for the answer to this question and have found nothing that says we are not to keep the feasts...but in the old Testament it says......shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. I do not understand, please help.
Acts 18 v 21
“But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.”
Paul was a Christian, but he was raised a Jew. He himself called himself a Pharisee of Pharisees.
Acts 23 v 6
“But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.”
For Paul it was very much part of his “normal” every day life to participate in and enjoy Jewish feasts. He was physically born a Jew, gentiles are not. Paul spent MUCH time, arguing against the Judaizers. Those Jews who believed part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ was to follow Jewish ceremonial laws and customs. To this Paul said:
Ephesians 2 v 8-9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
It is not wrong for Jewish-Christians to continue to participate in and enjoy many of the Jewish feasts. But it is equally correct for all other Christians to enjoy salvation without the necessity of following Jewish ceremonial laws and customs…
Acts 15 v 1
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
Peter the apostle also a Jew, in response to Paul’s and others concerns about these Judaizers responded:
Acts 15 v 7-11
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”
Peter points out even the best of Jews do not keep all the rules and regulations of the Jewish faith, included in that would be the various feasts and ceremonial customs. So why, says Peter, should gentiles saved by grace as we (Jews) are saved by grace, why must the gentiles be expected to follow customs that are foreign to them and NOT ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION???
The answer, THEY, WE, DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM…
Acts 15 19-20
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20. But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”
Simply said, LOVE Jesus Christ and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit within you, live YOUR life to the best of YOUR ability!!!
The only requirement for salvation is genuinely LOVING God with EVERY fiber of our being, and our fellow man as ourselves…
And that is not by our power or will but by God’s LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY!!!!!!!
Celebrating most Jewish feasts or celebrating Christian Holidays is lawful for all; but WE ARE NOT DEMANED TO FOLLOW ANY OF THEM…
***We ALL are SAVED BY GRACE!!!!!!! Of those who have accepted Jesus Christ, as their LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR…
Romans 14 v 5-6
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
Again in Romans the clear teaching of scripture is that each person must be persuaded in their own mind what customs to follow and what religious traditions not to follow. The Christians’ only obligation is to genuinely LOVE God and to LOVE our fellow mankind!!!
Whether we celebrate a certain feast day or not, WE MUST LOVE THE LORD, and give God THANKS in all things…
Whatever we do MUST BE DONE SINCERELY FOR GOD’S GLORY.
As Solomon put it:
Ecclesiastes 12 v 13
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Again Jesus summed up the commandments as two:
Mark 12 v 30-31
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Answered by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc
January 6, 2019
Why do the Gospels of Matthew chapter 2 & Luke chapter 2 seem to give two different accounts of where Jesus was taken shortly after His birth? Matthew says Egypt; Luke says Nazareth?
Matthew 2 v 13
“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”
Luke 2 v 4-5
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth at the time of Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus. When the Census was ordered Mary and Joseph went to the City of David which was Bethlehem to be properly counted. While in Bethlehem Mary gave birth to Jesus, and they were soon warned in a dream not to stay in Israel and not to stay anywhere in the region of Judea and instead they went to Egypt. Later after the male children up to the age of three had been murdered by Herod’s men and Archelaus took over the reign of Judea after his father Herod’s death; Mary, Joseph, and the young Jesus moved back to Nazareth where Jesus was to be raised…
Matthew 2 v 22-23
“But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Answered by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc
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