Physical observances demonstrating deep spiritual lessons

Physical observances demonstrating deep spiritual lessons Written by Bill Bradford

Physical observances demonstrating deep spiritual lessons

My family and I take the observance of God's Holy Days very seriously as they are commands from God. During the seven days of Unleavened Bread we will eat no leavened bread.

"Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters" (Exodus 13:7).

At our house we have already begun the process which begins with the removal of leaven and products containing leaven from our home, car and possessions. Some make it a habit of doing more extensive cleaning at this time probably because, once you have begun to remove the bread and leavening agents from the home, it makes sense to just keep on cleaning.

God has a clear intent with His instruction to remove leaven. When we observe His command, it must be done with His meaning in mind. It is quite simple...once we understand Christ is our Passover who died so that our sins should be remitted; we are then instructed to live a life of removing sin from our lives.

The Passover and Unleavened Bread observances tell us that our life is one of "overcoming" and "coming out of the world" once we turn to God in repentance and asking that our sins would be forgiven. When a person is baptized for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus, he/she would obviously not go back to then live the same kind of life of which they had repented.

But the argument is: this is a "physical observance" and has no meaning under the new covenant. We live by the spirit, or we are in Christ, as the argument goes, and there is no need for a physical observance of this kind.

However, God commanded it for Israel "as an everlasting ordinance"(Exodus 12:14). God was clear on the meaning to the Israelites: "You shall observe this day (first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread), for on this day I will have brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus12:17). So too, God is clear with the meaning for us today. The seven days of Unleavened Bread represents the process of coming out of our practice of sin once we have accepted the death of Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for our sins (I Cor. 5:7-8).

But, why a physical observance to demonstrate a spiritual matter? Again, the answer is simple...we are all physical. There are a number of physical observances under the New Covenant to give us meaning for what should be happening deep within our lives.

The Sabbath: to be observed on the 7th day...a physical rest but the meaning and the lessons are multitudinous. To neglect the Sabbath is to neglect the meaning.

Baptism: complete immersion, representing a washing of our sins and a burial of the old man. Can God remit sins without being immersed? Yes, He can, but He commands us to be baptized to help us understand what is happening to us in the spiritual realm -- we are washed from our sins!

Laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit after baptism: Again, can God give the Holy Spirit without laying on of hands? Of course, He can. But He is clear that hands are laid on a cleansed person by one who is authorised. This is a physical action to help us understand what God is doing with us.

We should follow and respect God's observances. They have great meaning for us today and He has a reason for commanding them for His people.

 

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Bill Bradford

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