The Jerusalem Debate – Objection Number 8: We don’t have to keep those commands because we aren’t in The Land. | The Lamb’s Servant
Response by Bob Parham
Many people feel no need to appear in Jerusalem at the Pilgrimage Feasts because they live outside of Israel. More than once, someone has told me, “We don’t have to keep those commands, because we aren’t in The Land.”
I would have to ask, “Which commands do we not ‘have’ to keep?”
First of all, I want to stress that we don’t HAVE to keep any of Yah’s commands. He sets them before us and asks us to choose: life or death.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. (Deut. 30:19)
So to put it another way, which commands can we safely ignore? If we aren’t in The Land, can we kill, or steal, or have sexual relations with our neighbor’s wife? I hope the question is easy to answer: NO! Of course we can’t! If there is a WAY for us to obey a command, we are foolish to ignore the command.
I would ask you to look again at the passage we first looked at under Objection Number 6:
Deut. 30:1-3 – (1) When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, (2) and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, (3) then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.
We should be obeying all His commands with all our heart in whatever nation we have been dispersed to.
OK, so maybe we are talking about laws that are tied to The Land, but those laws might be more in number than you would think. Yah’s Sabbaths are tied to The Land. According to the logic of Objection Number 8, if we’re not IN The Land, we don’t need to be concerned about keeping ANY of His Sabbaths, right? WRONG!
In fact all His feasts and Sabbaths are tied to The Land, although only three were commanded to be observed in Jerusalem proper.
So why would we be concerned about observing any of His feasts if we cannot be in The Land?
We are concerned because we want to keep all of Torah that we are able to keep.
The believers in Acts 2 came ‘to The Land’ to celebrate. Notice how many ‘Jews and converts to Judaism’ have come for the one day feast, Shavuot / Pentecost.
Acts 2:5-12 – (5) Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. (6) When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. (7) Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? (8) Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? (9) Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (11)(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (12) Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Most of those present are from OUTSIDE THE LAND. Why are they there? Why did they undertake hazardous journeys and tremendous expense to be there in Jerusalem for a one-day Pilgrimage Feast? They evidently had the understanding that even the commands that are tied to The Land pertained to them if they called themselves by His Name.
They understood, as did Paul, that the commands that ‘call you’ to The Land do just that – call you! The fact that some commands are specified FOR The Land would be a good reason why people should come home!
What if those worshipers from many nations had NOT been at Jerusalem? How much longer would it have taken the apostles to spread the Good News to all those other lands? What might you and I miss if we are not at Jerusalem at the appointed times? Could our presence there someday facilitate Yah’s Plan like theirs did? And don’t forget that Yeshua will return (to Jerusalem) at one of the Feasts – I want to be there to welcome Him!
How can we be the best and the most perfect lights in this world until we can exemplify ALL Torah? How can I tell Brother Judah that I “observe Torah” if I am NOT doing my best to observe the commands to appear in Yah’s Holy City?
When I speak to Jews in Jerusalem at the feasts and tell them that there are hundreds of thousands of people like me who follow Yeshua and who also keep Torah, the first question they always ask me is, “Where ARE they?”
I have been told more than once that if 10,000 people like me were to show up for the Feasts, Israel would HAVE to take notice and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Do I need to go to Jerusalem? Do you?