Yeshua (whom the Christians call Jesus) was Jewish, there is little doubt about that. He kept the entire Torah, including living kosher and celebrating the festivals – the Moadim or “appointed times”. If we are called to follow after Him (and not after e.g. Paul, as Paul himself acknowledges in 1 Cor 3:3-11), would it not make sense to believe that we are also to keep the Moadim and follow the Torah? The Torah is good. As soon as we stop doing it in a futile attempt to save ourselves or become, or appear, righteous, and instead do it as we progressively realise how sensible and refreshing it is, we can follow our Maker’s instructions out of the law of freedom.
The Christian Church has taken Yeshua out of His Hebrew context, impossible as it seems, and turned Him into the founder of a new religion. That’s pretty preposterous, but understandable. It would have been strange for Gentiles to adopt another people’s savior. If the nations had always seen that they are “merely” grafted in branches in an olive tree that is rooted in a different nation’s foundations, that they are partakers in a salvation promised to another people, almost a side-effect of this salvation, evangelisation may not have been as effective. The delusion of replacement theology helped make disciples. This I would say in response to questions like “If the Lord guides His church, how could it ever go so wrong?” or “Does everything the Lord does throughout history serve a purpose?” Now disciples need to remain humble and curious, malleable enough to realise the they haven’t got it all figured out. The church, and in particular the US saw, and in part still see themselves as the new Israel. But a big trend emerges now, called a “movement” by some, even if it has “no central hierarchy or leader and no official statement of faith for members to endorse” and a “lack of organizational structure”. Spearheaded by the Messianic Judaism, it is maybe less a movement, than a collective realisation or awakening to truths, not new, but new for us. An important step in our (gentile) walk with our Maker will be to now realise that we are grafted in. We are not (replacement) Israel. We are partakers in a promise made to a specific people. This people’s contribution to our human culture – sciences and art – across the centuries is tremendous, far disproportionate to their relatively small size. Over 22% of all Nobel prices ever awarded since 1901 went to Jewish individuals (not necessarily nationals of Israel). This is 100 times more than what the share of Jews among the world population would suggest. Based not on this fact alone, but on facts like this, it should be considered an honor to become, in a way, honorary members of this people, or a complement to it, appreciating that our Maker’s plan does indeed include not just His chosen people, but the entire living world. But we must realise that only in this people, we nations will be blessed, not apart from it or instead of it – Gen 22:18.
The passionate relationship of our Creator with this people has led to an unparalleled richness of history and understanding of their walk with our common Maker, and this is most worthy and insightful to study. I have been doing this for some time now with the Holy Langauge Institute, and was never disappointed by a lesson. Most of the time, my mind gets thoroughly blown each time I delve into the Hebrew writings.
Like everything in this culture, the Moadim have multiple, widespread and rich prophetic meanings as well, so for orientation in the end times, it will be extremely helpful to have a grasp on the festivals, their meaning and their relative timing. Just a glimpse: if Yeshua’s first coming fulfilled all the spring feasts down to the instant – our perfect Passover lamb, buried on Chag Hamatzot (the Festival of Unleavened Bread), rising as the Firstfruits out of the dead, and giving the Holy Spirit on Shavuot (Pentecost) – is it not plausible in the beautiful symmetry our Maker tends to employ in His Makings, that Yeshua’s second coming will fulfill the fall feasts – appearing with Trumpet sound, bringing about Atonement in fulfilment of Yom Hakippurim, and finally dwelling with us in Tabernacles?