Month 6:10, Week 2:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year 5935:152 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 8 September 2011
A True Festival of Deliverance?
A great song and dance is (literally) being made by one of the many messianic groups claiming to be a 'restoration of Israel' about a new feast it has re-invented and claims should be celebrated by believers for seven days on Elul 12-18 (this year, 11-17 September). They call it Chag Yeshua though actually it is called the 'Feast of Deliverance'. The Hebrew for 'Deliverance' also happens to be 'Yeshua', so this has nothing directly to do with the Messiah (Yah'shua/Yeshua/Jesus).
The claimed authority for this festival is the apocryphal book of 3 Maccabees, one of four Pharisee propaganda tracts with lots of distorted history that were also used to re-invent a late Sukkot and turn it into Hanukkah. 'Chag Yeshua' celebrates the deliverance of the Judahites in Egypt in much the same way as Purim celebrates the Judahites in Persia from the revenge of the Amalekite Haman. In both cases the Judahites were in the wrong places because they refused to obey Yahweh: the Babylonian Judahites who would not return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile and the Egyptian Judahites who were told never to return to that country by Yahweh no matter what difficulties they might be experiencing in the homeland:
The history of the bloodthirsty Maccabbees is not a noble one even though they have been idolised by Jewish nationalists because of their revolt against Antiochus Epiphenes, an unquestioningly evil man. What particularly disturbs me about the Judahites who were delivered in Egypt is that they did not return to the Promised Land and live by Torah faithfully as they should have done. The four books of Maccabees are essentially pieces of Hasmonean political propaganda and are not reliable historical documents. The Hasmoneans usurped the priesthood contrary to Torah directives, a right belonging exclusively to the House of Zadok (Ezek.44,48). Do we really want to celebrate these people, who walked out of divine tavnith (pattern) and broke the mitzvot (commandments)? And do we really want to ascribe the true Messiah as their deliverer?
"But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for Yahweh has said to you, 'You shall not return that way again'" (Deut.17:16, NKJV).
The Jews love inventing their own festivals and some of them they don't stop even when they become Messianic - there must be at least 30 or more Talmudic feasts in addition to the true moedim or appointments commanded by Yahweh. I repeat: Yahweh has nowhere commanded any 'Chag Yeshua', 'Hanukkah' or 'Purim' observances and therefore we are not, as some claim, under a mandate to observe them.
There are those that argue that observing 'extra' festivals comes under the umbrella of freedom granted by Paul:
There are several things I have to say about this approach:
"One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to Yahweh; and he who does not observe the day, to Yahweh he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to Yahweh, for he gives Elohim (God) thanks; and he who does not eat, to Yahweh he does not eat, and gives Elohim (God) thanks" (Rom.14:5-6, NKJV).
The context of this passage is weak gentile believers who abstain what has been sacrificed to idols (1 Cor.8,10) and perhaps legalists among them (including legalistic Messianic Judahites) who believe they acquired a righteous status with Yahweh because of their abstention. A third possibility, suggested by Dr. David Stern, is that this is a reference to Messianic Judahites who have not yet fully understood the incorporation of the New Covenant into Torah (making it New Covenant Torah) and that the indwelling of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) alters the way in which Torah is now to be applied. And so they are driven by a compulsiveness about observing certain ceremonial and ritial details, a problem likewise afflicting many contemporary Messianic Jews and Israelites. When their emunah (faith) grows stronger they will become free - not of the Torah (as Protestants mistakenly interpret this and other passages to mean) but of this compulsive behaviour to mimick everything Jewish no matter what its origins. But which ever of these is the correct interpretation, adherents of the belief that they can add 'extra' religious festivals will find no support in Paul.
- Firstly, the group that has re-invented this festival doesn't claim it is voluntary but that it is commanded by Yahweh, and that it - the group - is therefore fuflilling a divine mandate in 'restoring' it under divine revelation;
- Secondly, Scripture nowhere mandates man creating extra religious festivals in Yahweh's Name, not even by heroines like Queen Esther; and
- Thirdly, Paul is not talking about Torah-mandated religious festivals but personal observances like anniversaries and the like.
With so many false 'Yah'shua's', 'Jesus's', 'Yeshua's' and other 'Messiahs' (using both correct and incorrect names) about, I guess what really concerns me more than anything else is the spirit behind all of these 'extras' festivals. It took me a while to finally understand that the main problems with Hanukkah and Purim was not so much that Yahweh had not commanded them (important though that is) but the antimessiah spirit that follows them from Judaism. I have the same strong misgivings about 'Chag Yeshua'. The tavnith (pattern) is all wrong and the same arrogant, haughty nationalistic and murderous spirit that perverts any good that might reside in Purim and Hanukkah seems as though it might be present in 'Chag Yeshua' too. I frankly couldn't care a fig what the corrupt Maccabees/Hasmoneans did for though they fought against a wicked enemy, two wrongs don't make a right - their evils are not negated by the evil Hellenists just because of their genes.
My strong counsel is that Yahweh's people stay away from any religious festival not mandated by Torah, and that includes the latest 'Chag Yeshua'. I do not believe the Messiah would want His name associated with it and I for one am giving it a wide berth.
If you want to know what Yahweh commands, please visit our festivals page. Do what Scripture says, keep it simple and don't add anything!
 Discussion on our former Ning group, Trimm Group Restores 'Lost' Festival - Chag Yeshua (The Feast of Deliverance)