Response by Bob Parham
So which scripture(s) in John, Chapter 4 are being referred to?
John 4:19-26 – (19) “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. (20) Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” (21) “Woman,” Yeshua replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. (22) You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. (23) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (24) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (25) The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” (26) Then Yeshua declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Now, did you see where this passage is talking about doing away with the three Pilgrimage Feasts? Me neither! So let’s look at this passage a little more closely.
Yeshua says in verse 21 that “a time is coming when YOU will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”
First, it’s important to understand who the “you” is in this passage. Is it everyone? believers? Jews? or the Samaritans?
The woman had just said in verse 20, “Our ancestors”, so we can understand that certainly Yeshua was talking about the “Samaritan people”. The Samaritans mixed worship of YHWH with worship of false gods, and the Jews hated them even more than they hated gentiles.
“A time” or “an hour” is coming when the “Samaritans” won’t worship on Mount Gerizim or in Jerusalem. They don’t know what they worship but the Jews DO! THEY, the Samaritans, won’t worship for “an hour, a time, a season or a day” (Strong’s # 5610) in JERUSALEM!
Yeshua clearly told the woman that, “we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” Who are the “we” here? Clearly it is Yeshua and His people, NOT THE SAMARITANS! Yeshua is responding to her statement, “but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” He continues to rebuke her that WE (Jews) know Torah and it reveals salvation. (Rom 3:21-31) And we know “the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
What if this passage was referring to “all believers” as well? If it had to do with all believers having a season or an hour when they wouldn’t worship on Mt. Gerizim (why would ANY believer worship at the pagan site of Mt Gerizim?) or in Jerusalem, does this “worship” now refer to the three Pilgrimage Feasts? I don’t see it, but this is where this passage has been used to teach this ‘doctrine.’
Even though this passage really seems to be only referring to the Samaritans, let’s look at it with the premise that it’s referring to ALL believers and peoples as well.
Now we need to try to identify when this “hour” took/takes place for believers, that would keep us from worshiping in Jerusalem.
Did the hour come before Yeshua died? We see in John 12: 20 that Greeks were along with believers who “went up” (went to Jerusalem) “to worship at the feasts”. We see that people were still WORSHIPING in Jerusalem. Therefore, the “hour” hadn’t come yet, at least for the Jews, believers and Gentiles, anyway.
Did the hour hit after Yeshua died? Take a look at the following verses:
Acts 2:46 – And they [the new believers], continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
Acts 3:1 – Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer [also an hour of sacrifice], being the ninth hour.
Acts 20:16 – For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost [Shavuot].
Acts 24:10-11 – (10) When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense, (11) since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
Ooops, people are still worshiping in Jerusalem – at the Temple! Paul was definitely keeping the Pilgrimage Feasts and worshiping IN JERUSALEM many years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua, as late as Chapter 24 of Acts.
The plain fact is that Yeshua in no way took away any commands concerning the Pilgrimage Feasts. We need to be careful that we don’t twist Yeshua’s words, like many were twisting Paul’s words “to their own destruction” even while Peter still lived. (2 Peter 3:16) Yeshua was very clear when He stated in Matthew 5:18:
For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
We need to go back and make sure we understand that Yeshua was only talking to the Samaritans, not the Jews or believers. There was an “hour” coming that “they”, the Samaritans (and other pagans), wouldn’t worship on either mountain. In fact the Word tells us that when the Kingdom is established, NO ‘uncircumcised heart’ will be allowed into Jerusalem or even into the Land of Israel (in which Mount Gerizim is located).
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. (Isaiah 52:1)
It is also possible that Yeshua was referencing to the ‘time’ of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, in AD 70. That period mimics the tribulation. It may also very well be true that people were not allowed for a time to enter the city, but Yeshua certainly wasn’t changing Torah over it. If Yeshua changed Torah, He was lying when He said He didn’t. He would also be disqualified as Messiah:
YHWH is well pleased for his [Messiah’s] righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law [Heb: torah], and make it honorable. (Isa 42:21)
To the law [Heb: Torah] and to the testimony [the Covenant]: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isa 8:20)
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:19 ESV)
If Yeshua changed Torah, why was the early church, including Paul, keeping it at the end of Biblical church history?
Yeshua obeyed His Father by attending the feasts in Jerusalem, and the apostles and disciples followed His example by doing the same: should we not ALSO do our best to do the same?
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:6)
© Bob Parham, Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2016. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, as well as to the original author (in this case Bob Parham) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.