<< It is also important to understand the distinction between the Old and New Covenants. >>
I see no distinctions between the Covenants of G-d. We in the Church see only two Covenants. This dispensationalist thinking is a contrivance of the early institutional church. In reality there are multiple covenants made by G-d with His people. There is an Adamic Covenant, and Abrahamic Covenant, the Noachide Covenant, etc. Did each Covenant of G-d replace the one before? I don't think so, but rather, each built upon the foundations of the one that preceded it. Revelation built upon revelation, precept upon precept, Covenant upon Covenant, Scripture read in context with Scripture, the New Covenant built upon the Old Covenant, the Old Covenant seen in the revelation light of the New.
<<. . . that the Lord's Supper has replaced the Passover.>>
No. The L-rd's supper we see in the Gospels is merely one component of the entire Passover Seder. G-d wasn't replacing one practice with another, but rather, shedding light on a pre-existing practice that had been entered in to for generations. The early church reduced it down, leaving behind much rich passion.
< understanding these feasts because they pointed to Christ. But, we now have the reality. The pictures themselves are no longer necessary.>>
One could say that the Feasts and Festivals are symbols and pictures, and one would be correct, but to suggest that they are MERELY symbols is like saying that my marriage bed is MERELY a symbol of my relationship with my husband. To reduce it to mere symbolism strips it of so much depth and passion.
In accordance with my marriage vows, there are things that will happen in the context of my marriage and things that will not be allowed to happen. I will sleep only with my husband, and no other man. Do I feel as though I am in "bondage" to that "obligation"? Or is there a higher invitation to which I respond, one in which I am the privileged receiver of my husband's attentions?
<< As you may know, Deborah, 1 Cor. 5:7 teaches us that Christ became our Passover sacrifice. By coming to Christ, I have kept the Passover. There is no need for me to return to the pictures of Christ when I now have the reality of Messiah in me>>
I have no need to wear my wedding band or return to my marriage bed, I have joy in wearing my wedding band and returning to my marriage bed.
<< Although the New Testament is filled with teaching on this distinction, the book of Hebrews probably contains the most explicit teaching, particularly chapters 8 and 9. The Old Covenant, with its types and pictures of Christ, has been made obsolete (8:13) by the New Covenant that was initiated and mediated by the precious blood of Christ.>>
The book of Hebrews is one of the most misunderstood books of the New Testament. Read ALL Scripture in context with all Scripture. This book speaks specifically of ONE Old Testament practice being made obsolete, that of the priesthood and the sacrificial system.
Bondage and obligation? Or Divine Invitations?
You are right. Several years ago I become aware of the First Covenant (a/k/a the Old Testament)observances and tried to find where they were done away. Or changed to a wafer and a jigger of wine. I couldn't find it!
Yahshua set the example of Passover. He didn't do away with it. He just explained a few things--the entire meaning of the scriptural Passover--and that from now on, it is always to be in remembrance of Him.
In other words, whenever you do Passover, you will now understand the meaning. This is what it has always been about. The matza is representative of His sinless sacrifice (no leaven in the bread) and the wine sybolic of His blood shed for our sins. The blood on the doorposts is His blood on our hearts, praise to be to Him!!!!
In Hebrew history and practice, they have 3 matzas on top of each other. Guess what. The middle matza is broken and hidden--under a pillow or somewhere--and at the end there is a search and the finder gets a reward. The rabbis have many explanations for this but none really know where it came from.
I just came out of 12 years of Torah-keeping bondage with a movement that kept the feast days and all 613 Laws (as much as possible)-- we even wore tzitzit! I believed everything you presently do and more.
Try keeping 613 impossible commandments and have Satan fill your mind with an endless preoccupation of vain efforts to resolve the irresolvable life conflicts this creates, engaging in fruitless studies and never-ending discussions and disagreements over how all of these Laws should be applied, which deepen to new and greater levels of complexity the more learned you become! What a yoke, works of death!
Please go back and read the book of Galatians again, dear sister!
We were imprisoned and guarded by the Law (3:23), under its bondage (4:24), which served as our schoolmaster until Messiah came and declared us righteous on the grounds of faith (3:24-25). He freed us as slaves in the house of sin (where we were in bondage). He set us free from exactly this indeed! (John 8:33-36).
Our Messiah's yoke is easy and His burden is Light!!! Loving God and loving one's neighbor-- on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matt 22:40). He has written His Law on our hearts and made it our homing beacon, conscience as our guide, the path being He, the Way; we no longer need to be taken by the hand and led out of Egypt (the house of bondage); through His New Covenant He reconciled us to Him and conformed us to His very own nature... He is no longer even "Master" as to a slave; we are now His "friends" and guests of the bridegroom.
He said: don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't bear false witness, don't steal, honor your mother and father, love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 19:17-19). Six commandments there. A pretty easy yoke to bear His awesome grace, as we move in an ever deepening process of unfolding greater and greater righteousness through His "free gift."
So many more scriptures I could cite-- for every verse that someone told you "appears" to suggest that the Law is still in force, believe me, there are 100 which break it all down and elucidate the matter and unequivocally prove otherwise. Respond to this with some of them, if you wish, and I will show you examples; but I simply beg you-- please read this wonderful article: "Old Testament Law: Must We Observe the Law of Moses and the Sabbath Today?" It can be accessed by going to www.gospelway.com then clicking on "Old Testament Law" near the bottom of the page. This is the article that gave me an entirely new and much-deepened understanding of the New Covenant and brought me out of my doctrinal insanity! And I was truly certifiable, I am ashamed to say-- as one who has a scholarly knowledge of the Bible and had been using my considerable intellect to gain expertise in something Paul calls dung (Phil 3:8)!
The problem may be also that you are using a judiazed (mangled) Bible, as I was. There are a gazillion of them out there. Like Lawyers (a pun, as this is an actual term for Torah teachers), they are gifted in the art of reality-distortion. They so skillfully bend and twist the scriptures to make lies out to be truth, and truth out to be lies. i.e., accomplishing Satan's intention. If a verse has you convinced that the Law is still binding, read the same verse in the King James for a reality check. Now if you actually want to understand why there is a plan for Christians to judiaze (yes, this is absolutely key to the AC's reign) go to www.watch-unto-prayer.org/Law.html. Each subsection of this "under the law" heading is a treasure trove, but I especially recommend the Hebrew/Hebraic Roots Movement section.
May He open the eyes of your heart and bless you with His awesome grace... I for one will be praying for you...
Love from a sister who now worships Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Almost all Christians have some confusion as the result of trying to implement Judaism in the context of Grace, and typically carry some baggage from the institutions and the traditions of men that home churchers have supposedly come out of.
At the last Passover, loosly called the last Supper, Jesus gave the ultimate explanation, for the first time, of the elements as speaking of Him, and what the Jews had been doing all these years, once a year at night. As often as they did it, this is what they've been doing. He wasn't instituting anything new. He won't be doing this again until he returns. The Law was still in effect until He died and the veil of the temple was wrent in two at that very moment.
The Law and it's ordainances and temple ceremonies were fulfilled and replaced with the gospel of Grace, signified when the veil of the temple was wrent from top to bottom. Tearing the veil was like crossing out the temple; at least until He comes back and sits in the temple, after booting out the anti-Christ who will sit in the temple first.
Those who understand cultural history know that "breaking of bread" is simply a reference to dining, but sacerdotal Christians want to turn it into a sacramental ordinance. Eating together was a practical necessity for day-long meetings far into the night with Paul and the disciples. Their purpose of coming together was not for the distraction of glutony and getting drunk with the only decent beverage; the water was bad. Therefore Paul had to remind them that they were there to glorify the Lord. This may have been a routine but there is no implication that we should spin it into an ordinance. And what does the word "communion" mean? Simply fellowship -- the fellowship of the saints; not necessarily eating!
Martin Luther came out of Roman Catholicism but not all of Roman Catholicism came out of him. Most Christians have the same mind set and want to superimpose such religiousity on the rest of us, and we fall for it in the name of tollerance and diversity because we don't know how to rightly divide ALL of scripture. When we came out of organized religion, this is part of what we were leaving behind -- man-made doctrine. It is like Hophni and Phineas calling down strange fire, or Moses smiting the rock instead of calling forth the water for which Moses suffered the consequence of not being permitted to enter the promised land. For such a small thing? Yes! We shouldn't trifle with God.
Be careful about reciting theory about the diametric doctrines of covenants published in many books by the slight of men. There are different covenants in scripture, which can be broken by man and nullified. Jer. 31:32. A “new covenant” [no capitalization] according to scripture is with Israel and Judah, therefore cannot be applied to the Church today, and hasn’t been fulfilled yet because Israel and Judah are not yet in the spiritual condition requisite to the scripture on the subject. So, what is this reference to the Church being under the “New Covenant” today? Perhaps it can be found in the book of Lilliputians.
Jeremiah 31 I will put My law in their inward parts Jeremiah 31
31 Behold, the days come, a statement of Jehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, a statement of Jehovah. 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, a statement of Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to Me for a people. 34 And they shall no longer each man teach his companion, and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah. For they shall all know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest of them, a statement of Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.
KJ3—Literal Translation Bible - 2005 Edition — By Jay P. Green, Sr.
[Jer. 31:31ff is repeated in Hebrews 8:8]
33 So says the Lord Jehovah: In the day I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the wastes shall be built. 34 And the desolated land shall be cultivated, rather than being a ruin in the eyes of all passing by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolated has become like the garden of Eden. And the wasted and desolated and torn down cities are fortified and inhabited. 36 And the nations left all around you shall know that I, Jehovah, built the torn down places and planted that which was desolated. I, Jehovah, have spoken it and will do it. 37 So says the Lord Jehovah: Yet for this I will be sought by the house of Israel, to work for them. I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 Like a holy flock, like the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so the wasted cities shall be filled with flocks of men. And they shall know that I am Jehovah.
Ezekiel 37 1 By the resurrection of dry bones 11 the dead hope of Israel is revived.
26 And I will cut a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant it shall be with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and I will put My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 And My tabernacle shall be with them, and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to Me for a people. 28 And when My sanctuary shall be in their midst forever, the nations shall know that I, Jehovah, sanctify Israel.
KJ3—Literal Translation Bible - 2005 Edition — By Jay P. Green, Sr