Natural Theology vs. Synthetic Theology
By Pastor Gray Clark
Why does the Church of Israel (COI) celebrate the biblical feasts and the seventh-day Sabbath rather than Christmas, Easter, and the first-day Sabbath (Sunday)? Read on to find out!
Paul’s message to the church at Colosse in AD 64 supported many Old Testament laws, including the feasts and the Sabbath Day: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat (food laws), or in drink (alcohol), or in respect of an holyday (feasts), or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” (Colossians 2:16).
Anything natural is from God. Anything synthetic is from man. The Grand Canyon of Arizona is from God; therefore, it is natural. Men built the Hoover Dam; therefore, it is synthetic. Christmas, Easter, and the first-day Sabbath (Sunday, known as the Christian Sabbath) are synthetic, since they are inventions of man. With all these celebrations, Christianity has replaced the feasts of the Bible, including the seventh-day Sabbath. But the problem is this: these are natural—that is, coming from God alone without man’s touch. The other celebrations are not. This is why the Church of Israel celebrates the feasts and Sabbath ordained of Jehovah.
Included in this article are reasons why this church celebrates the feasts and the seventh-day Sabbath. But first, let this author keep it pithy: all reasons boil down to what is biblical and what is not. What we know are not biblical are the traditions of men (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:8). For example, in responding to the Pharisees when they asked him in Matthew 15:2, “Why do the disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread,” Jesus told them this: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matthew 15:3)? Our Creator God commanded the feasts and the seventh-day Sabbath. However, there are no corresponding godly commands to honor Christmas, Easter, and Sunday Sabbath, for these are traditions of men. These are so familiar to us since they are steeped in family and church traditions, going back over 1,000 years to just beyond the primitive church, when the church at Rome prevailed to replace Passover with Easter and Sunday for the seventh-day Sabbath. However, they are not ordained in Scripture.
The feasts of the Bible are found in Leviticus 23, which is the most complete passage of information regarding all the feasts. In this passage, we learn that the seventh-day Sabbath of the LORD is also a feast day. Leviticus 23:1-3 reads, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath day of rest, an holy convocation.” Please observe these points found in the passage above: 1) feasts are the “feasts of the LORD”; 2) the Sabbath is a feast day for rest and worship in a holy convocation. The Sabbath is a weekly feast, while the seven feasts of the Bible are annual. They include (per Leviticus) Passover (Leviticus 23:5); Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-14); the Wave Sheaf (Leviticus 23:10-12); Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21); Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25); Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32); and Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44). Further information about Passover is found in Exodus 12:1-14 and Unleavened Bread in Exodus 12:15-20. More helpful information about the biblical feasts is Numbers 28:11-29:40 and Deuteronomy 16:1-17.
Each annual feast focuses upon the Godhead in some way. Passover, Unleavened Bread, and the Wave Sheaf Offering are spring feasts, all within one week. Passover is the celebration of the death angel passing over the first born of the Israelites, because they applied the blood of the lamb to the lintel and doorposts of their houses. Jesus Christ died at Passover. Because of His death, the elect of Israel will not suffer the second death, as the unsaved will. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus saved all elect Israelites from eternal death. Then, unleavened bread celebrates Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian captivity, giving them the freedom to worship their true God. This is reflected in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Who, as stated above, brought redemption to His elect in Israel. The Wave Sheaf Offering prefigures Resurrection Day as being on Sunday, of which Christ is the firstfruits per I Corinthians 15:23: “Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Leviticus 23:10-11 provides insight into the coming Resurrection: “…then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath (would be Sunday) the priest shall wave it.” Pentecost, a summer feast, follows Passover and Unleavened Bread. This is celebrated fifty days after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread, putting it always on a Sunday. Acts chapter two highlights Pentecost, which marks the coming of the Holy Spirit to all Israelite believers at their baptism. The fall feasts are Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. Trumpets prefigures the Second Coming of Christ. Atonement is a future event that will be the time of Christ’s judgment upon the wicked and unbelievers. Tabernacles, the seventh feast, marks the future kingdom of Christ upon the earth, as well as commemorates the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ was born on the first day of Tabernacles about 2,000 years ago and then circumcised on the eighth day. Thus, Tabernacles marks the birth season of Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection cleared the way for those whom He died to be in the kingdom at His Second Coming.
The seventh-day Sabbath is the Sabbath of the Bible. Sunday, the first day, is an invention of man in terms of Sabbath observance. True, God has blessed faithful Sunday observance throughout American history, showing his mercy, not his favorableness. This does not erase the biblical Sabbath as natural, nor do we know how much greater blessings there would have been if the natural day had been observed and not the synthetic. Israelites are commanded to obey the Sabbath Day. For example it is number four of the Ten Commandments, making it law: “remember the sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). There is no biblical support for the Sabbath Day being changed to Sunday. Additionally, Jesus is not Lord of the Resurrection Day as is believed by Christians; rather, Jesus “the son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:2; Luke 6:5). The Bible proves by Mark 2:28 that John “being in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10) is speaking of the Sabbath Day not Sunday the Resurrection Day. Also, there were meetings held on the first day (Acts 20:7, 19-20; I Corinthians 16:2) which in no way negates the Sabbath Day nor elevates Sunday to the Sabbath of Christians as most incorrectly believe. We need to remember at this point that “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Speaking of Himself, the Lord said, “I change not” (Malachi 3:6). This is what the Bible says, and this is the simple explanation of why the COI worships on the seventh day. Additionally, the following samples of biblical language describe the Sabbath Day rather than Sunday, the first day. There are no similar acknowledgements highlighting Sunday either. The seventh day is 1) sanctified – Genesis 2:3; 2) the same day that God rested – Genesis 2:2; 3) blessed – Genesis 2:3; 4) holy –
Exodus 20:8; hallowed – Exodus 20:11; and 5) a non-work day – Exodus 20:10. Finally, Christians must “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). This is an eternal statement that can be honored only by weekly observance of the Sabbath Day.
Let us return to the yearly feast days and observe the eternal language that applies to them, words such as forever. Passover: “ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:14). Unleavened Bread: “therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:17). Pentecost: “it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations” (Leviticus 23:21). Trumpets: “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath (not weekly, but a special sabbath), a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24). Atonement: “it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings (Leviticus 23:31). Tabernacles: “It shall be a statute for ever in your generations” (Leviticus 23:41). All of this should convict us, Christ’s followers, that the feasts of the Bible require our celebration and commemoration, not their elimination. It is a matter of believing the Bible over church and family traditions.
Many will, incorrectly, that the feasts belong to the Jews. This is because true Israelites have been lost to history. If true Israelites learned who they actually are, this would radically change their view of the Sabbath Day and feasts. The COI knows that White people are the true Israelites, not modern Jews. Therefore, we celebrate the seventh-day Sabbath and all feasts of the Bible.
One would think that finding the Sabbath Day and feasts in the Bible after the Ascension of Christ would be sufficient evidence to confirm their validity for Christian observance, for most believers profess to be New Testament Christians. Unfortunately, this is an incorrect assumption. Christians read but do not understand the post-Christian evidence of the Sabbath Day and feasts of the Bible. Following is a list of them. Sabbath Day passages begin with Acts: Acts 1:12; 13:14,27,42,44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; Colossians 2:16. Citing just a couple of them may provide insight and aid understanding. At Antioch, Paul “went into the synagogue on the sabbath day…reading the law and the prophets” (Acts 13:14). This was eleven years after Christ’s Ascension, AD 44. At Thessalonica (AD 53), “…Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures” (Acts 17:2). At Corinth (AD 54), Paul “reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18:4). Clearly, the celebrated Paul was a Sabbath keeper.
These passages of Scripture mention feast days: Acts 2:1: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come”; 12:3: “And because he (Herod) saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also, (then were the days of unleavened bread); 18:21: “I (Paul) must keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem”; 20:6: “And we (Paul and the disciples) sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread”; 16: “If it were possible for him (Paul) to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost”; 1 Corinthians 5:8: “Therefore let us keep the feast (Passover)”; 11:2: “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I have delivered them to you”; 16:8: “but I (Paul) will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost”; and Colossians 2:16: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday (feasts), or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.”
In conclusion, the Church of Israel sought since its founding to rely upon the Bible—wherever it may lead. This includes standing almost alone for feasts and Sabbath observance. But, the reader should be able to see that these areas of truth are exactly where the Bible takes the Christian. Therefore, we must act on our faith and observe the biblical feasts to the very best of our ability.