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Build your sukkah: Reports of the Old Testament’s demise are greatly exaggerated

This post is a continuation of my review of the movie “Let the Lion Roar,” and I want to elaborate more on replacement theology’s error of New Testament (NT) primacy, which is to prefer the NT over the Old Testament (OT). Although Derek Frank does not specifically address this aspect of replacement theology in the “Let the Lion Roar” movie, he almost sounds like he alludes to it in this quote from the accompanying book “Escaping the Great Deception.” In this book, Derek Frank says:

The father of lies has misrepresented the gospel by luring the body of believers away from its Jewish roots. Bending the truth as he did in Eden, he has managed to convince Gentile believers that the original Hebraic context was irrelevant. Restoring the Gospel from the Great Deception will leave us dissatisfied with partial truth and make us hungry for it as a whole. (p. 63)

It would have been wonderful if he was addressing replacement theology’s NT primacy error, but the context makes this impossible. Nevertheless it remains true that replacement theology prefers the NT over the OT, and just like Derek Frank says about the Great Deception, NT primacy also “has managed to convince Gentile believers that the original Hebraic context was irrelevant.” Consequently, many Christians and the Christian culture in general have become unwitting adherents to this error. Consider this experience I recently had.

Yesterday I visited a local Christian bookstore to ask about books and/or audio/visual resources to help people become more knowledgeable about the feasts of the Bible. This store had plentiful resources for apologetics, church history, sermon helps, marriage, personal finance, Christian living, witnessing, etc., but only one wall poster and one DVD for the feasts. I then pulled a handbook for Christian living off the shelf to see if it had anything to say about celebrating the feasts of the Bible. There was no mention of celebrating the feasts at all, and I could not help but see the preference for the NT at work. It’s like the OT is not as worthy of our attention and observance as the NT, and that is wrong.

Those who prefer the NT over the OT argue that we are no longer under the law, but under grace. It is true that Yeshua came to deliver us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3: 13), but does that mean we can disregard the OT as a guide for the believer today? Absolutely not!

The OT has much that we need to know in order to live a life that is pleasing to God, but when we use the terms OT and NT, we inadvertently help perpetuate the error that the shelf life of the OT has somehow expired. Scripture is Scripture, and that is how we ought to regard all of it without preferring one portion of it over another. Paul wrote that “All [emphasis added] Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” 2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV). We should remember that when Paul wrote those words, the NT canon was incomplete. He included all of Scripture in this pronouncement (e.g. the Law and the Prophets). If Paul tells us that there is profit in all of Scripture, do replacement theology adherents have greater revelation than Paul? That cannot be true. But can replacement theology be in error? Yes indeed.

The OT was the guide that Yeshua had when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Far from disregarding it, Yeshua perfectly fulfilled the law. If He can live a life that is pleasing to God based on the OT, then there must be vital information we also need to mine from this source. I have heard it said that the OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed. This is true. The NT and OT are one Word of God woven together in a seamless fashion. Yeshua guided His life by the Scriptures, and He did it in the way that was acceptable to God, not like the scribes and Pharisees who followed manmade doctrines. He understood the things that God freely gave Him. As an obedient Son, Yeshua was in Jerusalem at the appointed feast times. If He honored and reverenced the feasts of the Lord in the OT, are we better? Didn’t He say we would do the same works as He did?

Think about this; Yeshua was able to properly understand the Law and the Prophets. He saw the NT in the OT, but that is only possible with the right teacher. Yeshua was not taught by man; He was taught by the Father. Yeshua was one with the Father, so He had the same spirit with God. This allowed Him to understand the Word of God. We must remember that the Law is spiritual (Rom 7: 14), therefore it can only be understood when we have the same spirit that Yeshua had. As Paul wrote:

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

1 Cor 2:11-13 (ESV)

The Scriptures contain His thoughts toward us; we need His spirit to understand them.  Having the mind of Christ gives us understanding the world will never arrive at. This was why Simeon and Anna knew who the baby Yeshua really was (Luke 2: 25-38). This is why Yeshua commended Simon for knowing who He really was (Matt 16:16-17). It allows us to see the NT in the OT. Yeshua’s preaching was in demonstration of the spirit and power because He had God’s spirit. This was why Yeshua was able to teach with authority, and not as the scribes.

Let’s also ask ourselves this: Can we really prefer the NT over the OT if the OT still has “unfinished business?” The OT contains prophecies and events that have yet to be fulfilled just like the NT (e.g. Revelation), so it seems dangerous and unreasonable to disregard the OT if its business has not been completed.

The one who prefers the NT over the OT may ask “does the OT have “continuing application and relevance” for today’s believer?” Yes it does, and this can be easily shown when Yeshua was asked about the greatest commandment:

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matt 22:35-40 (ESV)

Now notice this: These commandments are in the Law (Duet 6: 4 and Lev 19: 18). If the we are no longer under the Law because of grace, and consequently it has nothing to say to a believer under grace, does that mean that since these two commandments are also found in the Law, that they are not to be regarded as guides for our lives today? That doesn’t agree with the words of the Lord or the writings of the Apostles. For example, John exhorts his audience “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” 1 John 3:11 (ESV). The Lord Yeshua affirmed these commandments and the Apostles echoed it. Since this is so, it can be stated with confidence that the OT still has continuing application and relevance for today’s believer. This is where the feasts come in, and why they are still relevant to believers today.

All the males in Israel were required to appear before the Lord three times a year (Exodus 23: 17): The appointed times were for Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. When the Jews assembled in Jerusalem some two thousand years age, they witnessed the fulfillment of the Passover when Yeshua was crucified; they witnessed the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that the Lord would pour out His spirit on all flesh during Pentecost; but Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled. You may ask, what’s so special about the Feast of Tabernacles? The Feast of Tabernacles is a dress rehearsal for the return of the Messiah! At some future Feast of Tabernacles, the assembled Jews will witness the Lord return to the Mount of Olives and begin His thousand year rule among us. Not only that, the Feast of Tabernacles will happen at its appointed times during Yeshua’s millennial reign with international participation with Jews and Gentiles:

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles]. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

Zech 14:16-19 (ESV)

This “unfinished business” ought to be high on our minds, but the nefarious work of replacement theology has convinced many people that the feasts of the OT are expired and consequently they pay them no mind. This is so wrong, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with the feasts and what they were about. This is especially true since we are in the midst of four blood moons. The first has already occurred during Passover 2014, the next will be 8 October 2014 during the Feast of Tabernacles, with the final two blood moons will occur on Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in 2015. The last blood moon will be a super moon visible over Jerusalem. It’s no accident that these blood moons appear on Jewish feast days; serious events are about to occur that point to the coming Tribulation. We need to be like the wise virgins and prepare beforehand for these things (Matt 25:1-13).

The only sure refuge we will have in the coming Tribulation will be in the Lord Yeshua Himself. This is the time to draw close to God and be about His business. If you have not received God’s forgiveness for your sins, I would strongly urge my reader to repent and be reconciled to God while there is still time. We have this precious promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (ESV). Give Him your whole life and everything it contains; don’t hold anything back from Him. Confess your sins and failures, and He will give you forgiveness, love, mercy, and make you into a new person. Believe in Him, and you will live forever. Come to the Lord and see that He is good! And then tell me about your experience so I can rejoice with you.

Completing the Reformation must also include doing away with the preference for the NT and regarding all of Scripture as valid for us today. Every jot and tittle in God’s word is there by design; it has a purpose, and does not return to God void. Focusing on only part of the Scriptures leaves a believer spiritually anemic and frustrates the purpose of God to fully equip every believer. The Lord does not want believers who are spiritually weak and sickly; He wants strong, mature believers who eat solid food, and this happens when we avail ourselves of all the Scriptures.

To give you a taste of the Feast of Tabernacles, I recommend visiting with a Messianic Fellowship and participating in the feast with them. When I started going to the feasts, it was like I was going home after a long absence. These have been wonderful experiences, and I encourage every reader to also experience the feasts for themselves. You are going to do it in the millennium anyway, why not get started now?

Here are some resources that will help get you started:

Leviticus 23: Passover, First-fruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles.

Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz (also in DVD)

Information about the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot):

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/4126/jewish/Sukkot.htm

How to build your tabernacle (sukkah):

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/420823/jewish/How-to-Build-a-Sukkah.htm

Keep calm and build your sukkah the sukkah

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