Several years ago, I prepared The Truth about

the Feast Days–Part 1-3 [WM–608-610], which

many have found helpful. It contains a rather complete

Bible study on each of the yearly feast days.

But the ceremonial law is, for some, a perplexing

subject; and several requests have been received

for a far more complete Spirit of Prophecy study

on the subject and to what extent we are obligated,

or even permitted, to keep the ceremonial laws today.

The following Inspired statements may help

clarify the matter.

The key points, in the passages which follow,

appear to be these:

• Every Old Testament statute which pointed to

the death of Christ (which therefore was a “shadow

law”) was abolished at the cross.

• Circumcision, although it does not appear to

directly point to the death of Christ, was also eliminated.

• By today keeping the ceremonial statutes

which were “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14-

17 and Ephesians 2:11-15), we belittle Christ’s

death on our behalf.

The Spirit of Prophecy rarely discusses the ceremonial

law as a whole, without mentioning that

its observance was abolished at the cross.

It should be noted that as soon as a type began

to meet its antitype, the type was no longer to be

kept. That is why, today, we do not keep the feast of

trumpets, nor the day of atonement. Both began

being fulfilled in the nineteenth century.

The first set of quotations, below, will be from

the Conflict Series, since they provide our basic understanding

of the subject. After that, quotations

from other Spirit of Prophecy books will be given.

A section on the feast of tabernacles will conclude

the compilation.



The Passover was to be both commemorative

and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance

from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance

which Christ was to accomplish in freeing

His people from the bondage of sin. The sacrificial

lamb represents ‘the Lamb of God,’ in whom

is our only hope of salvation. Says the apostle,

‘Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.’ 1 Corinthians

5:7. It was not enough that the paschal lamb

be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the doorposts;

so the merits of Christ’s blood must be applied

to the soul. We must believe, not only that He

died for the world, but that He died for us individually.

We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of

the atoning sacrifice.”—Patriarchs and Prophets,


Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the

men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord,

bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the

first fruits of His bounties. The object of all these

regulations was stated: they proceeded from no exercise

of mere arbitrary sovereignty; all were given

for the good of Israel. The Lord said, ‘Ye shall be

holy men unto Me’—worthy to be acknowledged by

a holy God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, 311.

“After the completion of the tabernacle He communicated

with Moses from the cloud of glory above

the mercy seat, and gave him full directions concerning

the system of offerings and the forms of

worship to be maintained in the sanctuary. The ceremonial

law was thus given to Moses, and by him

written in a book. But the law of Ten Commandments

spoken from Sinai had been written by God

Himself on the tables of stone, and was sacredly

preserved in the ark.

There are many who try to blend these two

systems, using the texts that speak of the ceremonial

law to prove that the moral law has been abolished;

but this is a perversion of the Scriptures.

The distinction between the two systems is broad

and clear. The ceremonial system was made up

of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice

and His priesthood. This ritual law, with its sacrifices

and ordinances, was to be performed by

the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death

of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin

of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were

to cease. It is this law that Christ ‘took . . out of

the way, nailing it to His cross.’ Colossians 2:14.

The Ceremonial Law PART ONE OF THREE

2 Waymarks

“But concerning the law of Ten Commandments

the psalmist declares, ‘Forever, O Lord, Thy word

is settled in heaven.’ Psalm 119:89 . . The law of

God is as immutable as His throne. It will maintain

its claims upon mankind in all ages . . While the

Saviour’s death brought to an end the law of types

and shadows, it did not in the least detract from

the obligation of the moral law. On the contrary,

the very fact that it was necessary for Christ to die

in order to atone for the transgression of that law,

proves it to be immutable.”—Patriarchs and Prophets,


“The ceremonial law was given by Christ. Even

after it was no longer to be observed, Paul presented

it before the Jews in its true position and

value, showing its place in the plan of redemption

and its relation to the work of Christ; and

the great apostle pronounces this law glorious,

worthy of its divine Originator.”—Patriarchs and

Prophets, 367.

“On the fourteenth day of the month, at even,

the Passover was celebrated, its solemn, impressive

ceremonies commemorating the deliverance

from bondage in Egypt, and pointing forward to

the sacrifice that should deliver from the bondage

of sin. When the Saviour yielded up His life

on Calvary, the significance of the Passover

ceased, and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper

was instituted as a memorial of the same event of

which the Passover had been a type.”—Patriarchs

and Prophets, 539.


“Thus the law for the presentation of the firstborn

was made particularly significant. While it was

a memorial of the Lord’s wonderful deliverance of

the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance,

to be wrought out by the only-begotten

Son of God. As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts

had saved the first-born of Israel, so the blood

of Christ has power to save the world.

“What meaning then was attached to Christ’s

presentation! But the priest did not see through the

veil; he did not read the mystery beyond . . He did

not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses

had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay

in the priest’s arms; and when he enrolled the

child’s name, he was enrolling the name of One

who was the foundation of the whole Jewish

economy. That name was to be its death warrant;

for the system of sacrifices and offerings

was waxing old; the type had almost reached its

antitype, the shadow its substance.”—Desire of

Ages, 51-52.

All the ceremonies of the feast were types of

the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from

Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which

the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The

slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of

first fruits, represented the Saviour.”—Desire of

Ages, 77.

“Then, said the angel, ‘He shall confirm the covenant

with many for one week [seven years].’ For

seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry,

the gospel was to be preached especially to the

Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself;

and afterward by the apostles. ‘In the midst of the

week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation

to cease.’ Dan. 9:27. In the spring of A. D. 31,

Christ the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary. Then

the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing

that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial

service had departed. The time had come

for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.”—

Desire of Ages, 233.

“He desired to call attention to the sacrifice that

was to crown His mission to a fallen world. While

the people were assembling at Jerusalem to celebrate

the Passover, He, the antitypical Lamb, by

a voluntary act set Himself apart as an oblation.

It would be needful for His church in all succeeding

ages to make His death for the sins of the world

a subject of deep thought and study. Every fact connected

with it should be verified beyond a doubt. It

was necessary, then, that the eyes of all people

should now be directed to Him; the events which

preceded His great sacrifice must be such as to

call attention to the sacrifice itself.”—Desire of

Ages, 571.

“ ‘The Lord Jesus the same night in which He

was betrayed took bread: and when He had given

thanks, He brake it . . After the same manner also

He took the cup’ . . Christ was standing at the

point of transition between two economies and

their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of

God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering,

that He would thus bring to an end the system

of types and ceremonies that for four thousand

years had pointed to His death. As He ate

the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its

place the service that was to be the memorial of His

great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews

was to pass away forever. The service which Christ

established was to be observed by His followers in

all lands and through all ages . . The ordinance of

3 The Feast Days and the Ceremonial Law WM


the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the

great deliverance wrought out as the result of the

death of Christ.”—Desire of Ages, 652-653.


“When the brethren in Judea heard that Peter

had gone to the house of a Gentile and preached to

those assembled, they were surprised and offended

. . Peter laid the whole matter before them. He related

his experience in regard to the vision and

pleaded that it admonished him to observe no

longer the ceremonial distinction of circumcision

and uncircumcision, nor to look upon the

Gentiles as unclean.”—Acts of the Apostles, 141.

“While the apostles united with the ministers

and lay members at Antioch in an earnest effort to

win many souls to Christ, certain Jewish believers

from Judea ‘of the sect of the Pharisees’ succeeded

in introducing a question that soon led

to wide-spread controversy in the church and

brought consternation to the believing Gentiles.

With great assurance these Judaizing teachers

asserted that in order to be saved, one must be

circumcised and must keep the entire ceremonial


Paul and Barnabas met this false doctrine

with promptness and opposed the introduction of

the subject to the Gentiles. On the other hand, many

of the believing Jews of Antioch favored the position

of the brethren recently come from Judea.

“The Jewish converts generally were not inclined

to move as rapidly as the providence of God opened

the way. From the result of the apostles’ labors

among the Gentiles it was evident that the converts

among the latter people would far exceed the Jewish

converts in number. The Jews feared that if

the restrictions and ceremonies of their law were

not made obligatory upon the Gentiles as a condition

of church fellowship, the national peculiarities

of the Jews, which had hitherto kept them distinct

from all other people, would finally disappear

from among those who received the gospel message.

“The Jews had always prided themselves upon

their divinely appointed services, and many of those

who had been converted to the faith of Christ still

felt that since God had once clearly outlined the

Hebrew manner of worship, it was improbable that

He would ever authorize a change in any of its specifications.

They insisted that the Jewish laws and

ceremonies should be incorporated into the rites

of the Christian religion. They were slow to discern

that all the sacrificial offerings had but prefigured

the death of the Son of God, in which

type met antitype, and after which the rites and

ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation were no

longer binding.”—Acts of the Apostles, 188-189.

“Before his conversion Paul had regarded himself

as blameless ‘touching the righteousness which

is in the law.’ Philippians 3:6. But since his change

of heart he had gained a clear conception of the

mission of the Saviour as the Redeemer of the entire

race, Gentile as well as Jew, and had learned

the difference between a living faith and a dead

formalism. In the light of the gospel the ancient

rites and ceremonies committed to Israel had

gained a new and deeper significance. That which

they shadowed forth had come to pass, and those

who were living under the gospel dispensation

had been freed from their observance. God’s unchangeable

law of Ten Commandments, however,

Paul still kept in spirit as well as in letter.

In the church at Antioch the consideration

of the question of circumcision resulted in much

discussion and contention. Finally, the members

of the church, fearing that a division among them

would be the outcome of continued discussion, decided

to send Paul and Barnabas, with some responsible

men from the church, to Jerusalem to

lay the matter before the apostles and elders. There

they were to meet delegates from the different

churches and those who had come to Jerusalem to

attend the approaching festivals. Meanwhile all controversy

was to cease until a final decision should

be given in general council. This decision was

then to be universally accepted by the different

churches throughout the country.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 190.

“At Jerusalem the delegates from Antioch met

the brethren of the various churches, who had gathered

for a general meeting, and to them they related

the success that had attended their ministry

among the Gentiles. They then gave a clear outline

of the confusion that had resulted because

certain converted Pharisees had gone to Antioch

declaring that, in order to be saved, the Gentile

converts must be circumcised and keep the law

of Moses.

“This question was warmly discussed in the assembly.

Intimately connected with the question of

circumcision were several others demanding careful

study. One was the problem as to what attitude

should be taken toward the use of meats offered to

idols. Many of the Gentile converts were living among

ignorant and superstitious people who made frequent

sacrifices and offerings to idols.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 191.

“The Gentiles, and especially the Greeks, were

4 Waymarks

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Continued on the next tract

extremely licentious, and there was danger that

some, unconverted in heart, would make a profession

of faith without renouncing their evil practices.

The Jewish Christians could not tolerate the immorality

that was not even regarded as criminal by

the heathen. The Jews therefore held it as highly

proper that circumcision and the observance of

the ceremonial law should be enjoined on the

Gentile converts as a test of their sincerity and

devotion. This, they believed, would prevent the

addition to the church of those who, adopting the

faith without true conversion of heart, might afterward

bring reproach upon the cause by immorality

and excess.

“The various points involved in the settlement

of the main question at issue seemed to present

before the council insurmountable difficulties. But

the Holy Spirit had, in reality, already settled this

question, upon the decision of which seemed to

depend the prosperity, if not the very existence,

of the Christian church.”—Acts of the Apostles,


“Once before, Peter had reasoned with his brethren

concerning the conversion of Cornelius and his

friends, and his fellowship with them. As he on that

occasion related how the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles

he declared, ‘Forasmuch then as God gave

them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed

on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could

withstand God?’ Acts 11:17. Now, with equal fervor

and force, he said: ‘God, which knoweth the

hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy

Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference

between us and them, purifying their hearts

by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put

a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither

our fathers nor we were able to bear?’ This

yoke was not the law of Ten Commandments, as

some who oppose the binding claims of the law

assert; Peter here referred to the law of ceremonies,

which was made null and void by the crucifixion

of Christ.

“Peter’s address brought the assembly to a point

where they could listen with patience to Paul and

Barnabas, who related their experience in working

for the Gentiles. ‘All the multitude kept silence, and

gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what

miracles and wonders God had wrought among the

Gentiles by them.’

“James also bore his testimony with decision,

declaring that it was God’s purpose to bestow upon

the Gentiles the same privileges and blessings that

had been granted to the Jews.

The Holy Spirit saw good not to impose the

ceremonial law on the Gentile converts, and the

mind of the apostles regarding this matter was

as the mind of the Spirit of God. James presided

at the council, and his final decision was, ‘Wherefore

my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which

from among the Gentiles are turned to God.’ ”—

Acts of the Apostles, 193-194.

“In this instance James seems to have been chosen

as the one to announce the decision arrived at

by the council. It was his sentence that the ceremonial

law, and especially the ordinance of circumcision,

should not be urged upon the Gentiles,

or even recommended to them. James

sought to impress the minds of his brethren with

the fact that, in turning to God, the Gentiles had

made a great change in their lives and that much

caution should be used not to trouble them with

perplexing and doubtful questions of minor importance,

lest they be discouraged in following


The Gentile converts, however, were to give

up the customs that were inconsistent with the

principles of Christianity. The apostles and elders

therefore agreed to instruct the Gentiles by letter to

abstain from meats offered to idols, from fornication,

from things strangled, and from blood. They

were to be urged to keep the commandments and

to lead holy lives. They were also to be assured

that the men who had declared circumcision to

be binding were not authorized to do so by the

apostles.”—Acts of the Apostles, 195.

“As a result of their deliberations they all saw

that God Himself had answered the question at

issue by bestowing upon the Gentiles the Holy

Ghost; and they realized that it was their part to

follow the guidance of the Spirit.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 196.

Not all, however, were pleased with the decision;

there was a faction of ambitious and selfconfident

brethren who disagreed with it. These

men assumed to engage in the work on their own

responsibility. They indulged in much murmuring

and faultfinding, proposing new plans.”—Acts

of the Apostles, 196.

“Jerusalem was the metropolis of the Jews, and

Continued from the preceding tract in this series



it was there that the greatest exclusiveness and

bigotry were found. The Jewish Christians living

within sight of the temple naturally allowed their

minds to revert to the peculiar privileges of the Jews

as a nation. When they saw the Christian church

departing from the ceremonies and traditions of

Judaism, and perceived that the peculiar sacredness

with which the Jewish customs had been invested

would soon be lost sight of in the light of the

new faith, many grew indignant with Paul as the

one who had, in a large measure, caused this

change. Even the disciples were not all prepared

to accept willingly the decision of the council.

Some were zealous for the ceremonial law, and

they regarded Paul with disfavor because they

thought that his principles in regard to the obligations

of the Jewish law were lax.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 197.

The broad and far-reaching decisions of the

general council brought confidence into the ranks

of the Gentile believers, and the cause of God

prospered.”—Acts of the Apostles, 197.

“When Peter, at a later date, visited Antioch, he

won the confidence of many by his prudent conduct

toward the Gentile converts. For a time he

acted in accordance with the light given from

heaven. He so far overcame his natural prejudice

as to sit at table with the Gentile converts. But when

certain Jews who were zealous for the ceremonial

law, came from Jerusalem, Peter injudiciously

changed his deportment toward the converts from

paganism . . The church was threatened with division.

But Paul, who saw the subverting influence

of the wrong done to the church through the double

part acted by Peter, openly rebuked him for thus

disguising his true sentiments.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 197-198.

Peter saw the error into which he had fallen,

and immediately set about repairing the evil that

had been wrought, so far as was in his power. God,

who knows the end from the beginning, permitted

Peter to reveal this weakness of character in

order that the tried apostle might see that there

was nothing in himself whereof he might boast. Even

the best of men, if left to themselves, will err in

judgment . . this record of the apostle’s weakness

was to remain as a proof of his fallibility . . The

history of this departure from right principles

stands as a solemn warning to men in positions

of trust in the cause of God, that they may not

fail in integrity, but firmly adhere to principle.

The greater the responsibilities placed upon the

human agent, and the larger his opportunities to

dictate and control, the more harm he is sure to

do if he does not carefully follow the way of the

Lord.”—Acts of the Apostles, 198-199.

“In his ministry, Paul was often compelled to

stand alone. He was specially taught of God and

dared make no concessions that would involve

principle. At times the burden was heavy, but Paul

stood firm for the right. He realized that the church

must never be brought under the control of human

power. The traditions and maxims of men

must not take the place of revealed truth. The

advance of the gospel message must not be hindered

by the prejudices and preferences of men,

whatever might be their position in the church.

“Paul had dedicated himself and all his powers

to the service of God. He had received the truths

of the gospel direct from heaven, and throughout

his ministry he maintained a vital connection with

heavenly agencies. He had been taught by God

regarding the binding of unnecessary burdens

upon the Gentile Christians; thus when the Judaizing

believers introduced into the Antioch

church the question of circumcision, Paul knew

the mind of the Spirit of God concerning such

teaching and took a firm and unyielding position

which brought to the churches freedom from

Jewish rites and ceremonies.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 199-200.

These false teachers were mingling Jewish

traditions with the truths of the gospel. Ignoring

the decision of the general council at Jerusalem,

they urged upon the Gentile converts the observance

of the ceremonial law.

“The situation was critical. The evils that had

been introduced threatened speedily to destroy

the Galatian churches.

“Paul was cut to the heart, and his soul was

stirred by this open apostasy on the part of those

to whom he had faithfully taught the principles of

the gospel. He immediately wrote to the deluded

believers, exposing the false theories that they had


The Ceremonial Law PART TWO


6 Waymarks

accepted and with great severity rebuking those who

were departing from the faith.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 383-384.

“From every quarter were coming accounts of

the spread of the new doctrine by which Jews

were released from the observance of the rites of

the ceremonial law and Gentiles were admitted to

equal privileges with the Jews as children of Abraham.

Paul, in his preaching at Corinth, presented

the same arguments which he urged so forcibly in

his epistles. His emphatic statement, ‘There is neither

Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision

(Colossians 3:11), was regarded by his enemies

as daring blasphemy, and they determined

that his voice should be silenced.”—Acts of the

Apostles, 390.

“In the earlier years of the gospel work among

the Gentiles some of the leading brethren at Jerusalem,

clinging to former prejudices and habits of

thought, had not co-operated heartily with Paul and

his associates. In their anxiety to preserve a few

meaningless forms and ceremonies, they had lost

sight of the blessing that would come to them and

to the cause they loved, through an effort to unite

in one all parts of the Lord’s work. Although desirous

of safeguarding the best interests of the Christian

church, they had failed to keep step with the

advancing providences of God, and in their human

wisdom attempted to throw about workers

many unnecessary restrictions. Thus there arose

a group of men who were unacquainted personally

with the changing circumstances and peculiar needs

met by laborers in distant fields, yet who insisted

that they had the authority to direct their brethren

in these fields to follow certain specified methods

of labor. They felt as if the work of preaching the

gospel should be carried forward in harmony with

their opinions.”—Acts of the Apostles, 400.

“The liberal contributions lying before them

added weight to the testimony of the apostle concerning

the faithfulness of the new churches established

among the Gentiles. The men who, while

numbered among those who were in charge of

the work at Jerusalem, had urged that arbitrary

measures of control be adopted, saw Paul’s ministry

in a new light and were convinced that their

own course had been wrong, that they had been

held in bondage by Jewish customs and traditions,

and that the work of the gospel had been

greatly hindered by their failure to recognize that

the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile had

been broken down by the death of Christ.

“This was the golden opportunity for all the leading

brethren to confess frankly that God had wrought

through Paul, and that at times they had erred in

permitting the reports of his enemies to arouse their

jealousy and prejudice. But instead of uniting in an

effort to do justice to the one who had been injured,

they gave him counsel which showed that they still

cherished a feeling that Paul should be held largely

responsible for the existing prejudice. They did not

stand nobly in his defense, endeavoring to show

the disaffected ones where they were wrong, but

sought to effect a compromise by counseling him

to pursue a course which in their opinion would

remove all cause for misapprehension . . ‘Do therefore

this that we say to thee: We have four men which

have a vow on them; them take, and purify thyself

with them, and be at charges with them, that they

may shave their heads: and all may know that those

things, whereof they were informed concerning

thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also

walkest orderly, and keepest the law’ . .

“The brethren hoped that Paul, by following the

course suggested, might give a decisive contradiction

to the false reports concerning him. They assured

him that the decision of the former council

concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial

law, still held good. But the advice now given

was not consistent with that decision. The Spirit

of God did not prompt this instruction; it was

the fruit of cowardice. The leaders of the church

in Jerusalem knew that by non-conformity to the

ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon

themselves the hatred of the Jews and expose

themselves to persecution. The Sanhedrin was

doing its utmost to hinder the progress of the gospel.

Men were chosen by this body to follow up the

apostles, especially Paul, and in every possible way

to oppose their work. Should the believers in Christ

be condemned before the Sanhedrin as breakers of

the law, they would suffer swift and severe punishment

as apostates from the Jewish faith.

Many of the Jews who had accepted the gospel

still cherished a regard for the ceremonial

law and were only too willing to make unwise

concessions, hoping thus to gain the confidence

of their countrymen, to remove their prejudice,

and to win them to faith in Christ as the world’s

Redeemer. Paul realized that so long as many of the

leading members of the church at Jerusalem should

continue to cherish prejudice against him, they

would work constantly to counteract his influence.

He felt that if by any reasonable concession he could

win them to the truth he would remove a great obstacle

to the success of the gospel in other places.

But he was not authorized of God to concede as

7 The Feast Days and the Ceremonial Law WM


much as they asked.”—Acts of the Apostles, 403-


The apostle showed that religion does not

consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories.

If it did, the natural man could understand it

by investigation, as he understands worldly things.

Paul taught that religion is a practical, saving energy,

a principle wholly from God, a personal experience

of God’s renewing power upon the soul.

“He showed how Moses had pointed Israel forward

to Christ as that Prophet whom they were to

hear; how all the prophets had testified of Him as

God’s great remedy for sin, the guiltless One who

was to bear the sins of the guilty. He did not find

fault with their observance of forms and ceremonies,

but showed that while they maintained the

ritual service with great exactness, they were rejecting

Him who was the antitype of all that system.”—

Acts of the Apostles, 451-452.


The slaying of the Passover lamb was a

shadow of the death of Christ. Says Paul: ‘Christ

our Passover is sacrificed for us.’ 1 Corinthians 5:7.

The sheaf of first fruits, which at the time of the

Passover was waved before the Lord, was typical of

the resurrection of Christ. Paul says, in speaking of

the resurrection of the Lord and of all His people:

‘Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are

Christ’s at His coming.’ 1 Corinthians 15:23. Like

the wave sheaf, which was the first ripe grain gathered

before the harvest, Christ is the first fruits of

that immortal harvest of redeemed ones that at the

future resurrection shall be gathered into the garner

of God.

These types were fulfilled, not only as to the

event, but as to the time. On the fourteenth day of

the first Jewish month, the very day and month on

which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb

had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover

with His disciples, instituted that feast which was

to commemorate His own death as ‘the Lamb of

God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ That

same night He was taken by wicked hands to be

crucified and slain. And as the antitype of the wave

sheaf our Lord was raised from the dead on the

third day, ‘the first fruits of them that slept,’ a sample

of all the resurrected just, whose ‘vile body’ shall

be changed, and ‘fashioned like unto His glorious

body.’ Verse 20; Philippians 3:21.”—Great Controversy,



God’s people, whom He calls His peculiar

treasure, were privileged with a two-fold system

of law; the moral and the ceremonial. The one,

pointing back to creation to keep in remembrance

the living God who made the world, whose claims

are binding upon all men in every dispensation, and

which will exist through all time and eternity. The

other, given because of man’s transgression of

the moral law, the obedience to which consisted

in sacrifices and offerings pointing to the future

redemption. Each is clear and distinct from the


“From the creation the moral law was an essential

part of God’s divine plan, and was as unchangeable

as Himself. The ceremonial law was to answer

a particular purpose in Christ’s plan for the

salvation of the race. The typical system of sacrifices

and offerings was established that through

these services the sinner might discern the great

offering, Christ. But the Jews were so blinded by

pride and sin that but few of them could see farther

than the death of beasts as an atonement for sin;

and when Christ, whom these offerings prefigured,

came, they could not discern Him. The ceremonial

law was glorious; it was the provision made by Jesus

Christ in counsel with His Father, to aid in the salvation

of the race. The whole arrangement of the

typical system was founded on Christ. Adam saw

Christ prefigured in the innocent beast suffering

the penalty of his transgression of Jehovah’s law

(Review May 6, 1875).”—6 Bible Commentary,


The types and shadows of the sacrificial service,

with the prophecies, gave the Israelites a

veiled, indistinct view of the mercy and grace to

be brought to the world by the revelation of Christ.

To Moses was unfolded the significance of the

types and shadows pointing to Christ. He saw to

the end of that which was to be done away when, at

the death of Christ, type met antitype. He saw

that only through Christ can man keep the moral

law. By transgression of this law man brought sin

into the world, and with sin came death. Christ

became the propitiation for man’s sin. He proffered

His perfection of character in the place of man’s

sinfulness. He took upon Himself the curse of disobedience.

The sacrifices and offerings pointed

forward to the sacrifice He was to make. The slain

lamb typified the Lamb that was to take away

the sin of the world.

It was seeing the object of that which was to

be done away, seeing Christ as revealed in the law,

that illumined the face of Moses. The ministration

of the law, written and engraved in stone, was a

ministration of death. Without Christ, the transgres8


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Continued on the next tract

sor was left under its curse, with no hope of pardon.

The ministration had of itself no glory, but the

promised Saviour, revealed in the types and shadows

of the ceremonial law, made the moral law

glorious.”—1 Selected Messages, 237.

In this ordinance [of the Lord’s Supper], Christ

discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens

of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites

and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any

virtue; for type was meeting antitype in Himself,

the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances

that pointed to Him as the great and only

efficacious offering for the sins of the world.”—5

Bible Commentary, 1139.

“The symbols of the Lord’s house are simple

and plainly understood, and the truths represented

by them are of the deepest significance to us. In

instituting the sacramental service to take the

place of the Passover, Christ left for His church a

memorial of His great sacrifice for man. ‘This do,’

He said, ‘in remembrance of Me.’ This was the point

of transition between two economies and their

two great festivals. The one was to close forever;

the other, which He had just established, was to

take its place, and to continue through all time as

the memorial of His death.”—Evangelism, 273-274.

“Paul desires his brethren to see that the great

glory of a sin-pardoning Saviour gave significance

to the entire Jewish economy. He desired them to

see also that when Christ came to the world, and

died as man’s sacrifice, type met antitype.

After Christ died on the cross as a sin offering

the ceremonial law could have no force. Yet it

was connected with the moral law, and was glorious.

The whole bore the stamp of divinity, and expressed

the holiness, justice, and righteousness of

God. And if the ministration of the dispensation to

be done away was glorious, how much more must

the reality be glorious, when Christ was revealed,

giving His life-giving, sanctifying, Spirit to all who

believe?”—6 Bible Commentary, 1095.

The passover pointed backward to the deliverance

of the children of Israel, and was also typical,

pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God,

slain for the redemption of fallen man . . The

passover had been observed to commemorate the

deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. It

had been both commemorative and typical. The

type had reached the antitype when Christ, the

Lamb of God without blemish, died upon the


He left an ordinance to commemorate the

events of His crucifixion . . Here our Saviour instituted

the Lord’s supper, to be often celebrated,

to keep fresh in the memory of His followers the

solemn scenes of His betrayal and crucifixion for

the sins of the world. He would have His followers

realize their continual dependence upon His blood

for salvation.”—3 Spiritual Gifts, 225, 227-228.

There were those in Paul’s day who were constantly

dwelling upon circumcision, and they

could bring plenty of proof from the Bible to show

its obligation on the Jews; but this teaching was

of no consequence at this time; for Christ had

died upon Calvary’s cross, and circumcision in the

flesh could not be of any further value.

The typical service and the ceremonies connected

with it were abolished at the cross. The

great antitypical Lamb of God had become an offering

for guilty man, and the shadow ceased in the

substance. Paul was seeking to bring the minds of

men to the great truth for the time; but these who

claimed to be followers of Jesus were wholly absorbed

in teaching the tradition of the Jews, and

the obligation of circumcision.”—6 Bible Commentary,


“We can know far more of Christ by following

Him step by step in the work of redemption, seeking

the lost and the perishing, than by journeying

to old Jerusalem. Christ has taken His people into

His church. He has swept away every ceremony

of the ancient type. He has given no liberty to

restore these rites, or to substitute anything that

will recall the old literal sacrifices. The Lord requires

of His people spiritual sacrifices alone.”—

Review, February 25, 1896.

The gospel of Christ reflects glory upon the

Jewish age. It sheds light upon the whole Jewish

economy, and gives significance to the ceremonial

law. The tabernacle, or temple, of God on earth

was a pattern of the original in heaven. All the ceremonies

of the Jewish law were prophetic, typical

of mysteries in the plan of redemption.

The rites and ceremonies of the law were

given by Christ Himself, who, enshrouded in a pillar

of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, was

the leader of the hosts of Israel; and this law should

be treated with great respect, for it is sacred. Even

after it was no longer to be observed, Paul pre Continued

from the preceding tract in this series



sented it before the Jews in its true position and

value, showing its place in the plan of redemption

and its relation to the work of Christ; and the great

apostle pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its

divine Originator. That which was to be done away

was glorious, but it was not the law instituted by

God for the government of His family in heaven and

on earth; for as long as the heavens shall remain,

so long shall the law of the Lord endure.”—6 Bible

Commentary, 1095.

In the place of the national festival which

the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a

memorial service, the ordinance of feet washing

and the sacramental supper, to be observed through

all time by His followers in every country. These

should ever repeat Christ’s act, that all may see that

true service calls for unselfish ministry.”—Evangelism,


“There is no discord between the Old Testament

and the New. In the Old Testament we find the

gospel of a coming Saviour; in the New Testament

we have the gospel of a Saviour revealed as

the prophecies had foretold. While the Old Testament

is constantly pointing forward to the true

offering, the New Testament shows that the Saviour

prefigured by the typical offerings has come.

The dim glory of the Jewish age has been succeeded

by the brighter, clearer glory of the Christian age.”—

6 Bible Commentary, 1095.

“In almost every church there were some members

who were Jews by birth. To these converts

the Jewish teachers found ready access, and

through them gained a foothold in the churches.

It was impossible, by scriptural arguments, to overthrow

the doctrines taught by Paul; hence they resorted

to the most unscrupulous measures to counteract

his influence and weaken his authority. They

declared that he had not been a disciple of Jesus,

and had received no commission from Him; yet he

had presumed to teach doctrines directly opposed

to those held by Peter, James, and the other apostles.

Thus the emissaries of Judaism succeeded in alienating

many of the Christian converts from their

teacher in the gospel. Having gained this point, they

induced them to return to the observance of the

ceremonial law as essential to salvation. Faith in

Christ, and obedience to the law of ten commandments,

were regarded as of minor importance. Division,

heresy, and sensualism were rapidly gaining

ground among the believers in Galatia.

“Paul’s soul was stirred as he saw the evils that

threatened speedily to destroy these churches. He

immediately wrote to the Galatians, exposing

their false theories, and with great severity rebuking

those who had departed from the faith.”—6 Bible

Commentary, 1108.

“But there is a law which was abolished, which

Christ ‘took out of the way, nailing it to His cross.’

Paul calls it the law of commandments contained

in ordinances.’ This ceremonial law, given by God

through Moses, with its sacrifices and ordinances

. . was to be binding upon the Hebrews until type

met antitype in the death of Christ as the Lamb

of God to take away the sin of the world. Then all

the sacrificial offerings and services were to be

abolished. Paul and the other apostles labored to

show this, and resolutely withstood those Judaizing

teachers who declared that Christians should

observe the ceremonial law.”—Signs, September

4, 1884.

“Paul . . describes the visit which he made to

Jerusalem to secure a settlement of the very questions

which are now agitating the churches of

Galatia, as to whether the Gentiles should submit

to circumcision and keep the ceremonial law.

This was the only instance in which he had deferred

to the judgment of the other apostles as superior to

his own. He had first sought a private interview, in

which he set the matter in all its bearings before

the leading apostles, Peter, James, and John. With

far-seeing wisdom, he concluded that if these men

could be led to take a right position, everything

would be gained. Had he first presented the question

before the whole council, there would have been

a division of sentiment. The strong prejudice already

excited because he had not enforced circumcision

on the Gentiles, would have led many to take

a stand against him. Thus the object of his visit

would have been defeated, and his usefulness greatly

hindered. But the three leading apostles, against

whom no such prejudice existed, having themselves

been won to the true position, brought the matter


The Ceremonial Law PART THREE


10 Waymarks

before the council, and won from all a concurrence

in the decision to leave the Gentiles free from the

obligations of the ceremonial law.”—6 Bible Commentary,


The Jews refused to accept Christ as the Messiah,

and they cannot see that their ceremonies

are meaningless, that the sacrifices and offerings

have lost their significance. The veil drawn by

themselves in stubborn unbelief is still before their

minds. It would be removed if they would accept

Christ, the righteousness of the law.

Many in the Christian world also have a veil

before their eyes and heart. They do not see to

the end of that which was done away. They do not

see that it was only the ceremonial law which was

abrogated at the death of Christ. They claim that

the moral law was nailed to the cross. Heavy is the

veil that darkens their understanding. The hearts

of many are at war with God. They are not subject

to His law. Only as they shall come into harmony

with the rule of His government can Christ be of

any avail to them. They may talk of Christ as their

Saviour; but He will finally say to them, I know you

not. You have not exercised genuine repentance toward

God for the transgression of His holy law, and

you cannot have genuine faith in Me, for it was My

mission to exalt God’s law . .

The moral law was never a type or a shadow.

It existed before man’s creation, and will endure

as long as God’s throne remains. God could not

change or alter one precept of His law in order to

save man; for the law is the foundation of His

government. It is unchangeable, unalterable, infinite,

and eternal. In order for man to be saved,

and for the honor of the law to be maintained, it

was necessary for the Son of God to offer Himself

as a sacrifice for sin. He who knew no sin became

sin for us. He died for us on Calvary. His death

shows the wonderful love of God for man, and the

immutability of His law.”—6 Bible Commentary,


“This was an important era for the church.

Though the middle wall of partition between Jew

and Gentile had been broken down by the death of

Christ, letting the Gentiles into the full privileges of

the gospel, the veil had not yet been torn away from

the eyes of many of the believing Jews, and they

could not clearly discern to the end of that which

was abolished by the Son of God. The work was

now to be prosecuted with vigor among the Gentiles,

and was to result in strengthening the church

by a great ingathering of souls.”—Story of Redemption,


“The death of Jesus Christ for the redemption

of man lifts the veil and reflects a flood of light back

hundreds of years, upon the whole institution of

the Jewish system of religion. Without the death

of Christ all this system was meaningless. The

Jews reject Christ, and therefore their whole system

of religion is to them indefinite, unexplainable,

and uncertain. They attach as much importance to

shadowy ceremonies of types which have met

their antitype as they do to the law of the ten commandments,

which was not a shadow, but a reality

as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. The death

of Christ elevates the Jewish system of types and

ordinances, showing that they were of divine appointment,

and for the purpose of keeping faith

alive in the hearts of His people.”—6 Bible Commentary,


Paul . . fully comprehended the difference

between a living faith and a dead formalism. Paul

still claimed to be one of the children of Abraham,

and kept the Ten Commandments in letter and in

spirit as faithfully as he had ever done before his

conversion to Christianity. But he knew that the

typical ceremonies [conducted at the Temple in

Jerusalem] must soon altogether cease, since that

which they had shadowed forth had come to pass,

and the light of the gospel was shedding its glory

upon the Jewish religion, giving a new significance

to its ancient rites.

“The question thus brought under the consideration

of the council seemed to present insurmountable

difficulties, viewed in whatever light. But

the Holy Ghost had, in reality, already settled

this problem, upon the decision of which depended

the prosperity, and even the existence,

of the Christian church. Grace, wisdom, and sanctified

judgment were given to the apostles to decide

the vexed question.

Peter reasoned that the Holy Ghost had decided

the matter by descending with equal power

upon the uncircumcised Gentiles and the circumcised

Jews. He recounted his vision, in which God

had presented before him a sheet filled with all manner

of four-footed beasts, and had bidden him kill

and eat; that when he had refused, affirming that

he had never eaten that which was common or unclean,

God had said, ‘What God hath cleansed, that

call not thou common.’

“He said, ‘God, which knoweth the hearts, bare

them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as

He did unto us; and put no difference between us

and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore

why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the

neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers

11 The Feast Days and the Ceremonial Law WM


nor we were able to bear?’

This yoke was not the law of the Ten Commandments,

as those who oppose the binding

claim of the law assert; but Peter referred to the

law of ceremonies, which was made null and void

by the crucifixion of Christ. This address of Peter

brought the assembly to a point where they could

listen with reason to Paul and Barnabas, who related

their experience in working among the Gentiles.

“James bore his testimony with decision—that

God designed to bring in the Gentiles to enjoy all

the privileges of the Jews. The Holy Ghost saw

good not to impose the ceremonial law on the

Gentile converts; and the apostles and elders, after

careful investigation of the subject, saw the matter

in the same light, and their mind was as the

mind of the Spirit of God. James presided at the

council, and his final decision was, ‘Wherefore my

sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from

among the Gentiles are turned to God.’

It was his sentence that the ceremonial law,

and especially the ordinance of circumcision, be

not in any wise urged upon the Gentiles, or even

recommended to them . . They saw that God Himself

had decided this question by favoring the Gentiles

with the Holy Ghost, and it was left for them to

follow the guidance of the Spirit.”—Story of Redemption,


“The Jews were so exacting in regard to ceremonial

purity that their regulations were extremely

burdensome. Their minds were occupied with

rules and restrictions and the fear of outward defilement,

and they did not perceive the stain that

selfishness and malice impart to the soul.

“Jesus does not mention this ceremonial purity

as one of the conditions of entering into His kingdom,

but points out the need of purity of heart.”—

Mount of Blessing, 24.

They held, and still hold, the mere husks,

the shadows, the figures symbolizing the true. A

figure for the time appointed, that they might discern

the true, became so perverted by their own

inventions, that their eyes were blinded. They did

not realize that type met antitype in the death of

Jesus Christ. The greater their perversion of figures

and symbols, the more confused their minds

became, so that they could not see the perfect

fulfillment of the Jewish economy, instituted and

established by Christ, and pointing to Him as

the substance. Meats and drinks and divers ordinances

were multiplied until ceremonial religion

constituted their only worship.

“In His teaching, Christ sought to educate and

train the Jews to see the object of that which was

to be abolished by the true offering of Himself,

the living Sacrifice.”—Fundamentals of Christian

Education, 398.

Christ’s death and resurrection completed

His covenant. [See first half of Daniel 9:27.] Before

this time, it was revealed through types and

shadows, which pointed to the great offering to

be made by the world’s Redeemer, offered in

promise for the sins of the world. Anciently believers

were saved by the same Saviour as now, but it

was a God veiled. They saw God’s mercy in figures.

The promise given to Adam and Eve in Eden

was the gospel to a fallen race. The promise was

made that the seed of the woman should bruise

the serpent’s head, and it should bruise His heel.

Christ’s sacrifice is the glorious fulfillment of the

whole Jewish economy. The Sun of Righteousness

has risen. Christ our righteousness is shining in

brightness upon us.”—7 Bible Commentary, 932.


There are several interesting facts about

the feast of tabernacles. It was also called the

feast of ingathering, tents, or booths. (For more information,

see 2 Chron 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zech 14:16,

18-19; Jn 7:2. Also see Ex 23:16; Lev 23:34-36,

39-43; Deut 16:13-15; 31:10-13; Neh 8:1-18.)

• It is the only one of the yearly feasts that, so

far, has been totally unfulfilled. This is because it is

a type which comes after the day of atonement, and

prefigures the Second Advent. It is truly a gathering

for Advent believers.

• We are encouraged to keep something like it

today. We are told that it should be a season of rejoicing.

The emphasis, presented to us, is more on

gathering together to sing and converse together,

rejoice and encourage one another than to listen to


• Although it can be kept today, we are not commanded

to do so. In addition, we are not told that,

if kept today, it has to occupy a certain number of

days or at a certain period of time. Thus, a yearly

gathering, of some sort, with fellow believers would

suffice. (The original began on the 15th of the seventh

month [Tisri], and lasted seven days; later 8


It should be noted that we are never told to keep

the typical feast of trumpets or the day of atonement.

That is because we are today living during

the antitype. We are now to be engaged in the

antitypical work of spreading the final message everywhere

while putting away sin and preparing our

lives for the final atonement, when the Judgment

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passes to our names (see Great Controversy, chapter

28; “The Investigative Judgment”).


In the seventh month came the Feast of Tabernacles,

or of ingathering. This feast acknowledged

God’s bounty in the products of the orchard, the

olive grove, and the vineyard. It was the crowning

festal gathering of the year . . This feast was to be

pre-eminently an occasion of rejoicing. It occurred

just after the great Day of Atonement, when

the assurance had been given that their iniquity

should be remembered no more. At peace with God,

they now came before Him to acknowledge His

goodness and to praise Him for His mercy. The

labors of the harvest being ended, and the toils of

the new year not yet begun, the people were free

from care, and could give themselves up to the

sacred, joyous influences of the hour. Though only

the fathers and sons were commanded to appear at

the feasts, yet, so far as possible, all the household

were to attend them, and to their hospitality the servants,

the Levites, the stranger, and the poor were

made welcome.

“Like the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles was

commemorative. In memory of their pilgrim life

in the wilderness the people were now to leave

their houses and dwell in booths, or arbors,

formed from the green branches ‘of goodly trees,

branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees,

and willows of the brook.’ Leviticus 23:40, 42, 43.

The first day was a holy convocation, and to

the seven days of the feast an eighth day was

added [in Neh 8:18], which was observed in like


At these yearly assemblies the hearts of old

and young would be encouraged in the service of

God, while the association of the people from the

different quarters of the land would strengthen

the ties that bound them to God and to one another.

Well would it be for the people of God at

the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles—

a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God

to them. As the children of Israel celebrated the deliverance

that God had wrought for their fathers, and

His miraculous preservation of them during their

journeyings from Egypt, so should we gratefully

call to mind the various ways He has devised for

bringing us out from the world, and from the darkness

of error, into the precious light of His grace

and truth.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, 540-541.

The Feast of Tabernacles was the closing gathering

of the year. It was God’s design that at this

time the people should reflect on His goodness

and mercy. The whole land had been under His guidance,

receiving His blessing. Day and night His

watchcare had continued . .

This feast was not only the harvest thanksgiving,

but the memorial of God’s protecting care

over Israel in the wilderness. In commemoration of

their tent life, the Israelites during the feast dwelt in

booths or tabernacles of green boughs. These were

erected in the streets, in the courts of the temple, or

on the housetops. The hills and valleys surrounding

Jerusalem were also dotted with these leafy dwellings,

and seemed to be alive with people.

With sacred song and thanksgiving the worshipers

celebrated this occasion. A little before

the feast was the Day of Atonement, when, after

confession of their sins, the people were declared to

be at peace with Heaven. Thus the way was prepared

for the rejoicing of the feast.”—Desire of Ages, 447-


The people of Israel praised God at the Feast

of Tabernacles, as they called to mind His mercy

in their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and

His tender care for them during their pilgrim life

in the wilderness. They rejoiced also in the consciousness

of pardon and acceptance, through the

service of the day of atonement, just ended.

“But when the ransomed of the Lord shall have

been safely gathered into the heavenly Canaan, forever

delivered from the bondage of the curse, under

which ‘the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in

pain together until now’ (Romans 8:22), they will

rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ’s

great work of atonement for men will then have been

completed, and their sins will have been forever blotted

out.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, 542.

“The time chosen for the dedication [of the rebuilt

temple] was a most favorable one—the seventh

month, when the people from every part of the kingdom

were accustomed to assemble at Jerusalem to

celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast was

pre-eminently an occasion of rejoicing. The labors

of the harvest being ended and the toils of the

new year not yet begun, the people were free from

care and could give themselves up to the sacred,

joyous influences of the hour.”—Prophets and

Kings, 37.

Is it possible that, following the death of Christ, if we today observe any ceremony pointing to the death of Christ,

we crucify Him twice (Hebrews 6:6 refers to returning to sinful habits: “They crucify . . the Son of God afresh”)?

Moses’ great sin was striking the rock twice (PP 418:1). After the first time (PP 411), he was only to speak to it.