Sunday, September 13, 2015

Trumpets and the New Testament Church

Happy Feast of Trumpets, to those of our readers who celebrate it! We hope you will find meaningful worship and fellowship today. 

This particular festival gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is probably the most Christ-centered observance in the Churches of God, excluding Passover. Fixing one’s eyes, focus and attention upon Jesus is a good thing. In case you haven’t noticed the theme, it’s my goal in almost every post. 

On the other hand, there is no example of Christians celebrating the Feast of Trumpets in the New Testament. Unlike a couple other Leviticus 23 Holy Days, which get a passing reference (for reasons I will not be getting into here), the Feast of Trumpets isn’t even named. 

Over the weekend, I saw a chart being passed among COG members this weekend that cited specific scriptures that demonstrated Holy Day keeping in the New Testament. The chart's author stated that the Feast of Trumpets was not mentioned by name, but explained  that the events the COGs believe the day pictures certainly are a part of the New Testament writings. 

Did you catch that? The author admitted there was no direct scriptural evidence that the New Testament Church celebrated the Feast of Trumpets, but justified observing it based on passages Herbert W Armstrong attached to the date. The first verse cited was 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, in which Paul attempts to comfort the friends of a recently deceased brother in Christ by detailing the promise of the resurrection. This passage in no way references, discusses or advocates celebrating the Holy Day. The second verse cited was Revelation 11:15 – a prophetic passage discussing the blowing of the seventh trumpet. Same story, different verse. Neither passage supports a literal Feast of Trumpets celebration for the New Testament church, the author says, but they certainly picture scriptural events worth celebrating.

Oh wait! Now I get it! The New Testament doesn’t mention the festival by name, but it pictures a remarkable scriptural event worth celebrating. That’s so cool, we have a celebration like that too! It's called Easter, and it celebrates one of most miraculous, significant moments detailed in scripture. Yet somehow ours is vile and pagan.

Might I suggest another possible reason the Feast of Trumpets is not named in the New Testament? It’s not clandestine and sexy, like a conspiracy from Rome or a ploy from Satan. It’s because the Feast of Trumpets and the other Holy Days faded into obscurity because they fulfilled the purpose for which God created them – pointing Israel to Christ. 

(Hebrews 8:10) In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

The Holy Days were part of the tutor – the Sinai Covenant – intended to bring Israel to Christ (Galatians 3:24). In a way, the Holy Days do show God’s plan of salvation. And that plan was Jesus. They were intended to show our need for Christ’s sacrifice, as shadow of the one who was to come in bodily form, who could do for mankind what the tutor couldn't. They were intended to be incomplete, to show man - especially God's chosen people, who had every advantage imaginable - his utter and complete need for a Savior.

This is perhaps best demonstrated today in the Messianic Jewish community. Messianic Jews are ethnic Jews who accept Christ’s sacrifice but continue in many of their historic religious and cultural traditions. They retain many practices, much like Peter (Acts 10:9-16) and Paul (Acts 18:21), but they knew these works did not factor into their salvation. (And, being aware of this fact, they do not pressure Gentiles like us into keeping these practices).  Groups like Jews for Jesus frequently evangelize their ethnic brothers and sisters using their common heritage to explain the incompleteness and insufficiency of the Hebrew traditions. To show how the Holy Days foreshadowed the coming of the One whose sacrifice would be sufficient, who could make them complete. 

How could these Holy Days, given by God, be incomplete? Because they were part of the tutor intended to bring us to Christ, to show our need for Him (Galatians 3:24). They were a shadow of the one who was to come in bodily form. They were intended to be incomplete, to show man - especially God's chosen people, who had every advantage imaginable - his utter and complete need for a Savior.

Click on the following links for more insight on how the meaning Messianic Jews attach to the Fall Holy Days and Feast of Booths as compared to how the Churches of God view the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11

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