Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Substance is of Christ

Click picture above to go to A Holy Experience memorize Colossians in a year page.

Everything in the Old Testament of the Bible points to and is fulfilled in Christ.  The more I read the Bible, the more I see this. 

Holidays (feasts instituted by God) were important to Israel.  They were a time of worship and remembrance.

In the New Testament church there was evidently some debate over whether they should continue to observe the ceremonial law.  Paul encourages believers to give one another grace and reminds them that whether they keep the feasts or not (and whether they continue abiding by the dietary laws or not), the point is to recognize that they have all been fulfilled in Christ.  What the Jewish and Gentile believers had in common was salvation by grace in Christ.  And if they were going to continue in the ceremonial law, it should not be observed in a legalistic way in order to make other believers feel less devout, but celebrated as a memorial to Christ's completion or fulfillment of it.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.  Colossians 2:16-17

I love thinking about this.

Christ became our Passover lamb when Israel "selected Him" at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday was the 10th of Abib, same day each family in Israel was to select their unblemished lamb.)  Four days later, 14th Abib at twilight, Israel was to kill their passover lambs.  It was no accident this is the day Christ went to the cross.

Christ became our Firstfruits when He rose from the dead, three days after His sacrificial death.  The Feast of Firstfruits was when Israel was to bring an offering of the first of their crops and the priest would wave these sheaves above him so that Israel would be accepted by God (Leviticus 23:9-14).  Guess when Firstfruits was celebrated-  three days after Passover, 17th Abib (Nisan).  So we are accepted by God because Christ offered Himself up for us (He is our priest and our offering)! 

The Feast of Weeks, also called Pentecost, was celebrated 50 days after Firstfruits.  The law was given to Moses 50 days after Israel's crossing of the Red Sea and the Holy Spirit was given 50 days after Christ's resurrection.  The two loaves of bread that were waved in the Feast of Pentecost present a picture of the church with Jews and Gentiles united together.  When we accept Christ as our Savior, we're united in His body, the church, and are given His Spirit.

The Spring holidays outlined above were all fulfilled in Christ's first coming.  The Fall holidays (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles) are prophetic of His second coming.

The holidays given to Israel were like a roadmap that led to Christ.  It's the gospel, in the Old Testament.  Why I grew up in the church and never learned any of this, I don't know!  Some great resources that I've found helpful are A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays With Activities for All Ages by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce and Jesus, Awesome Power, Awesome Love by Kay Arthur, especially chapter 3.

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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.