Feast Days & Sabbaths, Are they still Binding? Joe Crews 1980s
This is a booklet (originally 32 pages) on the subject of whether or not we should be keeping the feast days today by a man who is regarded as one of the straightest in his theology among conservative Seventh-day Adventists from around 1970 to his death in 1994. He is the founder of Amazing Facts, a biblically centered organization that is known for its “conservative” “solid” theology. I too respect Amazing Facts very much, and consider Joe Crews to be one of the greatest champions of truth in the latter part of the 20th century. His book “Creeping Compromise” is still the standard among SDA literature for showing how our church has become Laodicean, and calling on us to repent, lift the standards, and let Jesus come in.
I was challenged to study into the feast days/holy days of the Lord in summer of 2010 by my cousin’s husband. He wasn’t a keeper either, but said he couldn’t see where they were abolished in the Bible. I did some surfing on the net, and quickly found this booklet by Br. Crews. Respecting him highly, read thru it quickly, and it confirmed what i’d always been taught and believed – the ceremonial system was abolished at the cross. I told him the results of my study, capping it with Colossians 2: 14-17, and Ephesians 2:15, and told him that settled it for me.
The next year i decided to really study deeply into whether or not October 22, 1844 was the actual date for Jesus to go into the Most Holy Place in heaven. I believed so, but wanted to know exactly how to arrive at that date. My journey led me to the Grace Amadon collection of material. The General Conference had gotten her and several other people including top theologians Froom and Andreason into a group to calculate carefully the date in the late 1930s. They did a very thorough job.
In reading their material, and of course other material i could find on how the Millerites came to the conclusion that Oct. 22, 1844 would be THE day, i slowly came to the inescapable conclusion that it all hinged on the actual day for the Day of Atonement that year. It depended on:
1. When the new year starts
2. When the month starts
3. Everything by the Hebrew calendar
There are lots of detailed charts and explanations about conjunctions and translations etc., but it keeps going back to the point that everything hinges on whether or not new moons and such have any relevance at all today. Being taught that everything related to that ended at the cross, it was very discomforting to realize that our denomination’s deepest roots go back to the moon phases of the Hebrew calendar!
That realization made me study more into what the holy days were all about. It soon became clear that our current teaching that they ended all significance at the cross is totally mistaken. For example, the disciples did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost on just any old day, but exactly on the day of Pentecost. This is irrefutable evidence that the holy days had significance after the cross. Of course Oct. 22, 1844 had great significance too, and that is all tied into a holy day.
To the review:
He shows clearly that the 10 Commandments are not part of the Mosaic law. Good. But then he quickly turns on the Mosaic law and says that while the 10 Commandments were not done away, the “ceremonial law of statutes and ordinances came to an end when Jesus died”. He quotes 2Kings 21:8 to try and distinguish between “God’s law”, and “Moses’ law”. Inadvertently or not, he has now set up God against Moses.
Because the judgments spell out the curses and penalties for breaking the law, he makes the ever-common mistake of equating them with a law that was “against” the people. After making this very common, and unwarranted mistake, it is an easy matter for him to then go to Colossians 2:14-17, and show that they were done away with at the cross. However, Colossians 2:14-17 is definitely talking about the 7th day Sabbath! This fact is what split the Worldwide Church of God, and caused most of their members to give up 7th day sabbath keeping. Actually, Col. 2:14-17 can be easily explained by reading it in context – basically it is saying don’t worry if some non-believer judges you a bad person for keeping all the things God says to do.
Ezekiel 20:24-25 is quoted to try and show that God gave things that “were not good” to the Israelites, and that he took those away at the cross. Again, he is setting God against himself, saying that God gave the Israelites good things and bad things. (or that God gave them good things, and Moses gave them bad things, thus implying that Moses was a wicked leader!)
He quotes Genesis 26:5, trying to show the ceremonial law did not start until the time of Moses, but this very verse says “Abraham… kept my statutes”! Then Galatians 3:17-19 is used to try and show the ceremonial law was done away with, but again, there is no proof in the text itself, it is just an interpretation. Actually, the Holy Spirit seems to be saying thru Paul that the promise was to Abraham, and God will fulfill his promise, not thru any work we do, but thru his son Jesus Christ are we justified.
“THERE COULD NEVER BE TYPES OR SHADOWS BEFORE SIN EXISTED!” Written in bold type is perhaps supposed to make it more effective, but it just highlights the fact that there is no inspired proof for this assertion. In fact, thinking about it, one of our whole denomination’s foundational truths is that the 6 days of Creation are a type of 6,000 years before Jesus comes, and the 7th millenium will see the earth taking her rest. So there is a “type or shadow” existing before sin came into this world.
Leviticus 23:37-38 is used to show that these holy days are not sabbaths of the Lord. But what about the Day of Atonement as described in verses 26-32? Verse 32 uses the exact same language for this Day of Atonement being a “sabbath of rest”, exactly as used to describe the 7th day sabbath. In fact, verse 32 is the greatest proof text used by our fledgling SDA group back in the 1840s-1850s when they were struggling over what should be the exact time to begin the 7th day sabbath observance. Even Ellen White kept it from 6pm to 6pm for awhile, and considered that to be good enough, but this text is just too plain to be misunderstood – yet Br. Crews would have us throw it away at the cross?
Ephesians 2:15 is said to mean that the ceremonial law was wiped out. As with other proffered texts, this text says nothing about any statutes or judgments being wiped out. As in other places, he tries to make it appear that the holy days (which are all statutes) are “enmity”, and being bad, were rightfully taken away at the cross. This interpretation tho, as noted above, either makes God out to be a capricious God, giving good things some times, and bad things some times, or else he is saying God did not inspire Moses to write down those laws.
He concludes with an impassioned plea to keep the 7th day sabbath, which is very good and proper. The point that the ceremonial law was done away with at the cross is made, which is good and proper, but the connection is never proven from inspired words to show that the holy days of God are part of that ceremonial law that was abolished at the cross.
May we not follow any man, no matter how strong they are in the faith, but always demand a “Thus saith the Lord” for our beliefs, and then have the faith and courage to step out and go where God leads.