A simplified list of the Biblical Feasts, their symbols, meanings and how to celebrate with God. The Lord Jehovah Himself tells us, “These are My set appointed meeting times.” (Leviticus 23:2)
The Seventh-day Sabbath
The Sabbath is God’s weekly meeting day which He established on the 7th day of Creation when He laid the foundations of the earth (Genesis 2:2-3). God decreed that it is “holy” and gave a special blessing on this day (Exodus 20:11). God asks us to “remember” The Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8). It is to be a memorial of both Creation (Genesis 2:3; Exodus 20:11) and God’s work of Salvation (Deuteronomy 5:15). Jesus tells us that God made the Sabbath for us (Mark 2:27) and that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8).
God’s blessing on the Sabbath did not come to an end at the Cross. And the day of the week for Sabbath was not changed at the Cross. Nowhere in Scripture is there any blessing given to the first day of the week, or any other day, and no text shows any change in God’s mind about His Holy Day of worship. But there is reference to Sabbath observance far into the New Earth (Isaiah 66:23). Even the 24 Elders who are in Heaven and the Heavenly Beings worship God for His act of Creation (Revelation 4:11).
- This day is to be celebrated by assembling together with like believers and coming apart from our usual activities (Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:14) so that we can reflect solely upon God and His great acts.
- God has asked that His Sabbath be kept as a day of rest (Deuteronomy 5:14), both as a memorial of His rest at Creation, and because He knows that the human body needs a rest for healing and mental health. It is also a symbol pointing to the future when Jesus will rest from His work of Salvation and we will rest from the sin of this planet.
- Jesus made an example of doing good on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4-5; Matthew 12:11-12).
- God has asked us to keep the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8) which we will be unable to perform truly until we are holy beings. It is a day to rehearse living in holiness in anticipation of a time when we will be reunited with God and join Him in holiness and rest (Hebrews 4:1-11). If we confessed and forsook our sins each week before Sabbath began, there would be no way for sin to take root in our lives. We would have a better understanding of sin and its seeds and a have a better chance of avoiding its snares.
- Many Sabbath-keepers find a blessing in having the house clean and Sabbath meals prepared ahead of time to avoid the work of cooking or cleaning on the Sabbath. God set the example of this when He commanded the children of Israel to gather double portions of manna on Friday and have it all prepared before the Sabbath (Exodus 16:23).
- God told the children of Israel not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:1-3). This has been practiced by some Jews by not turning on a light on Sabbath. But the deeper meaning can be seen in the verse that says, “A fire is kindled in My anger and it shall burn to the lowest hell.” (Deuteronomy 32:21-22) God would like for us to not kindle a fire in His wrath and not provoke Him to jealousy by putting other gods before Him—especially on His Holy Day. This is a day to fellowship with God. What kind of togetherness would there be if we continue to provoke Him to anger on His Sabbath?
- In two places in the Bible we are told not to bear a burden on the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13; Jeremiah 17). Both passages are referring to the buying and selling that was going on in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Clearly God does not encourage shopping or merchandising on His Sabbath.
- There is another meaning tied into this word “burden.” When God was talking about rescuing the children of Israel from Egypt, He specifically pointed to releasing them from the burdens that the Egyptians had placed on them (Exodus 1:11; 6:6-7). Being freed in mind from the burdens of our daily lives is truly in keeping with the spirit of the Sabbath. Let your cares fall away during the hours of the Sabbath.
One author describes the Sabbath as a “place out of time.” On the Sabbath we step out of time and out of our own lives to join God in holy communion—holy fellowship. On the Sabbath, God gives us a chance to reset our minds in contemplation of holy things. His promise is that we would enter into the heritage of Jacob, meaning that we would become the people of God. “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 32:9) When the land was parcelled out to the various tribes, this is the portion that was allotted to the Lord. God’s desire for His Sabbath is that it will be a delight to us and a day of joy and refreshing.
“If you turn away your foot from [trampling] the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honourable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words,
“Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD Has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)
The following Holy Days are to be celebrated yearly at their appointed times. “These are the Feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” (Leviticus 23:4) Unlike the weekly Sabbath, these holy days may fall on various days of the week, with one exception, and are marked by counting days or months from the first day of the Biblical New Year. The Sabbath days within these Feasts are known as “High Sabbaths” or “High Holy Days.” These yearly feasts have significance throughout the ages as they explain to each generation God’s Plan of Salvation.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread (includes Passover)
This Biblical Holiday lasts for 8 days and contains two days that are Sabbaths in addition to the weekly Sabbath of that week. The first day of this feast is a preparation day, called the Passover, which commemorates Christ’s death. The first and last of the next 7 days are memorial Sabbaths. The Sunday within this holiday is a memorial of Christ’s Resurrection. The entire Feast is meant to be a rehearsal for removing sin from our hearts and a memorial of the beginning of God’s work in rescuing us from sin and from death.
A special memorial in this feast comes on the 14th day of the first Biblical month of the year. This was the day in which the Passover lamb was prepared and eaten and was the same day when Jesus was crucified as our Passover. It is sometimes referred to as “the preparation day” because they would spend the day “preparing” the Passover lamb and then eating it just before sundown that night. (Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Mark 15:42; Luke 22:7-9; Luke 23:54; John 19:14, 31; 2 Chronicles 35:6, 16; John 19:31, 42)
In the past, the Passover was celebrated by killing, roasting and eating the lamb and spreading its blood on the doorposts of the house. This blood served as a sign to the Angel of Death that passed through Egypt with the command to kill all the first born of both men and livestock. When seeing the blood, he was to recognize that people of God were within and to cause no harm to that household.
Both the symbols of the lamb’s body and its blood pointed forward to the sacrifice of Jesus. He is our Passover lamb who will grant us life. Before His death, Jesus was anxious to show a change in these memorial symbols when He said that His body will now be represented by breaking the unleavened bread, and His blood would be commemorated by drinking the grape juice (Luke 22:15-20).
The Passover meal that Christ ate with His disciples is often referred to as “The Lord’s Supper,” making this a new name for the Passover meal. Some churches hold a foot-washing ceremony and take wafers and wine which they call the “Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.” Though intended to honor the Lord’s death, today’s ceremony is not defined this way in the Bible. Jesus and Paul encourage us to keep a sit-down Passover meal, breaking the bread and drinking the wine in fellowship, to honor Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). And Jesus gave the command, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
Jesus instituted the memorial of foot-washing on the Passover to remind His disciples (including us) of 2 things. 1) Their humility and service as they worked together to preach the Gospel. (John 13:12-16) 2) The final spit-and-polish needed for their characters. (John 13:10) This transformation came to them in the 40 days they spent with Christ after the Cross. (Acts 1:3; Luke 24:27, 44) They didn’t realize they needed this final cleansing until after their disappointment at Jesus’ death. (John 13:19) These final lessons from Christ are once again realized in Revelation 7:1-4 when He is waiting for His end-time servants to be sealed and become righteous. Only after this work has been accomplished in them can the outpouring of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit fall just as it came on the Day of Pentecost 50 days after the Resurrection.
Keeping Unleavened Bread
The day following the Passover is the first Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. Both this 15th day of the month and the last day of the Feast on the 21st day are treated as Sabbath days by refraining from your customary work in every way except for preparing food. (Exodus 12:16)
The Bible tells us the seven days of Unleavened Bread are to be celebrated this way:
- We are to actively eat unleavened bread in memory of Christ’s body which He gave in place of our own death (Luke 22:19; Deuteronomy 16:3; Exodus 12:18). The unleavened bread, or matzoh in Hebrew, is a symbol used by both Old and New Testament believers. In the Old Testament, the symbol of the unleavened bread represented a coming Messiah who would not have the leaven of sin found within Him. It should have helped the Jews see that their Messiah would come in a humble form because He was pictured by simple bread. Jesus showed New Testament believers to use this bread as a replacement for the lamb that had represented His body. This was a timely instruction because the sacrificial system was going to come to an end at the moment of His death the next day. His intent was for us to continue to think about His death by eating the unleavened bread. He said, “The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “I AM the bread of life.” “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:33, 48, 54.) Paul showed us this feast would continue to honor Christ’s death all the way until the Second Coming. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
- We are to drink unfermented grape juice in memory of Christ’s blood by which He signed God’s covenant with mankind. By giving His life for us, He turned the unsigned and proposed covenant into a ratified and valid contract. (Luke 22:20; Exodus 24:8; Hebrews 13:20; Hebrews 9:16-22; Galatians 3:15). This act reminds us that God still desires to enter into a covenant agreement with believers. The terms of the covenant are still the same. Jehovah said, “If you will indeed obey My voice, … you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Leviticus 19:5-6) This symbolic wine also honors Christ as the one who has made that covenant possible. Jesus said, “This cup symbolizes the new covenant which I have signed with My blood, shed for you.” (Luke 22:20, paraphrased.) Jesus said He himself is using the wine as a memorial as He abstains from any grape products until we are together with Him in His Father’s Kingdom. (Luke 22:18) His abstinence is referred to in 2 places in Scripture: 1) The Nazarite vow of dedication to God, and 2) The vow of the priest to abstain from any strong drink when officiating in the temple. (Numbers 6:2, 4; Leviticus 10:9) At the same time, Christ told us to continue to drink the grape juice in His memory. (Luke 22:17)
- God has asked that we abstain from all foods containing yeast in a rehearsal of abstaining from all sin (Exodus 12:19-20; 13:7). In the sanctuary service, the leaven represented sin. There was also another symbol that represented the sin—the fat of the animal sacrifice. The Hebrews were told that the fat was to be cut away and burned and this purging would cause a sweet aroma to the Lord. “The priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma; all the fat is the Lord’s. … You shall eat neither fat nor blood.” (Lev. 3:16-17.) In place of the animal sacrifice, we are to remove all the leaven from our diet and our premises. This would literally mean that you throw out your sourdough starter which you incorporate into the new lump of dough in order to make it rise. Paul explains that we are to be a new lump, without leaven and without sin. “Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened—for Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8) Paul teaches us that the feast is to be held both literally, by removing the old leaven, and also spiritually, as we remove the sin from our hearts. Let us not overlook the fact that Paul writes these words 30 years after the Cross as he addresses a mostly non-Hebrew congregation.
- On the first day of the Feast you are to remove all leaven from your house (Exodus 12:15-20; Deuteronomy 16:4). This is thought to be the origin of the practice of Spring Cleaning. This activity is a symbolic lesson about removing deep-set sin from all the cracks and crevices of our lives (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). It is surprising what you may find in your heart when you search out to destroy your sin.
- The day after the Passover is eaten at sundown is the First Day of Unleavened Bread. This is always a Sabbath day no matter which day of the week it falls on. The last day of the feast, on the 21st day of the month, is also a Sabbath. The days in between these Sabbaths don’t need to be strictly kept as days to refrain from your work, but they should continue to be days of fasting from leaven and eating unleavened bread. “Seven days you must eat unleavened bread.” (Leviticus 23:6) They should be a continuing memorial of the lessons that God is bringing us: removing the leaven from our lives, honoring Jesus as our Passover who gives us life, remembering the strength of God’s power to save us.
- God ordained that both the first and last days of the feast are “holy convocations” or “sacred assemblies.” (Leviticus 23:7-8; Deuteronomy 16:8.) A “convocation” is an invitation from God to come together and worship. So we should consider that these would be communal gatherings—or church meetings—if we were in fellowship with like believers. By setting apart quality time to reflect on the past, present and future works of God, we can learn more about His power to save us from the enemy of sin and to rescue us from the slavery of death. (Exodus 13:14; Zechariah 9:11.)
The Wave Sheaf
Another highlight within the feast falls on the day of the Wave Sheaf (Leviticus 23:10-11). This is the day after the weekly Sabbath which is in the week of the Feast. In Old Testament times, a sheaf of the first grain of the harvest was waved before the priest to be accepted by God. Only then could the full harvest begin. (Leviticus 23:14.) So this holiday is also referred to as the day of firstfruits.
Today the day of the Wave Sheaf marks the day of Christ’s resurrection from the grave. He too waved before the Father on that day to make sure His offering was acceptable. We can see that Jesus went to heaven that morning in His conversation with Mary. He said to her, “Do not detain Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.” On the same day, later in the afternoon, He appeared to the men on the road to Emmaus and allowed them to detain Him because He had returned from His mission to wave before the Father. (Luke 24:29-30, see the story in verses 13-35) The story of what happened in heaven that morning is told symbolically in Zechariah 3, the whole chapter. That story tells us that this was the day that Jesus resumed the priesthood of Melchizedek when they set the priestly mitre (crown or turban in NKJV) on His head. From that moment on, He became our Mediator in heaven. (1 Timothy 2:5.) This is the same day that “war broke out in heaven. Michael and His angels fought with the dragon and his angels. … So the great dragon was cast out” of heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9.)
How do we celebrate the day of the Wave Offering today? This special memorial always falls on the first day of the week (Sunday) during the Feast. It is the one day of the year to honor Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus is so profoundly deserving of our praise for this act, that many Christian churches have chosen to honor the Resurrection each and every Sunday by thinking to change the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st day of the week. However this practice only serves to teach disobedience towards God’s law and disrespects both the Sabbath and the Lord of the Sabbath. However, knowing that this one special Sunday was designed to celebrate the Resurrection gives us a unique day to honor Christ. He said, “I have power to lay down [My life] and to raise it up again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:18) “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25) “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death!” (Revelation 1:18) The heart of the Gospel message is that, even though all men will die, Jesus has given us the chance to have eternal life. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep… for in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22) This is the message celebrated on the Day of the Wave Sheaf. How appropriate it would be for us to honor the Resurrection of Christ on this day.
The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
Also called the Feast of Firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest, Shavuot
This is a single Holy Day that is linked to the Feast of Unleavened Bread in a unique way. It is to be counted by one of two different methods from that memorial day of Christ’s resurrection. You may count “seven Sabbaths” to arrive at the correct date for this feast, which explains why it is called the “Feast of Weeks of the Wheat Harvest” or “Shavuot” (which means “weeks” in some Hebrew dialects.) You then hold the feast on the next day after this seventh Sabbath, on the first day of the week. Or, you may count 50 days from the memorial of Christ’s resurrection and arrive at the same day. This is why the Feast is known by its Greek name “Pentecost” which means “fifty count.” These two methods of counting (Leviticus 23:15-16; Deuteronomy 16:9) clarify and ensure that this feast will always be kept on the first day of the week—on a Sunday.
In Old Testament times it was known that this Feast celebrated two memorials. It was known as the second wave sheaf offering or the “firstfruits of the wheat harvest” (Exodus 34:22) and it also commemorated the event of God giving the Law from atop Mount Sinai . Fifty days after Christ’s resurrection it became the day of the abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples. This significantly showed God’s intent to remain true to His calendar even after the Cross. It also clearly taught that salvation was no longer just for the Jews, but for anyone who believes in the Son of God and accepts Him as their Saviour. (Acts 15:8-9)
Although the timing of this Feast correlates in general to the giving of the Law at Sinai, there is no exact date given in Scripture to link the feast to the day God spoke from the mountain. But after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit after the Cross, it can be seen that the meaning of the Feast does link together the Law, the Covenant and the Holy Spirit:
“Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
This text ties together four seemingly unrelated topics: God’s Law, baptism, the Covenant and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Any or all of these would be excellent topics to research during the hours of the Feast. This Feast is to be celebrated as a Sabbath by coming apart from our regular occupations and worshiping God. It is to be kept as a sacred assembly. It is a lesson, past and future, of God’s ability to implant His Holy Spirit within us. And this link to God with His Spirit is the key element that seals God’s people into a righteous character. Pentecost commemorates:
- The signing of God’s covenant. This is both a past event looking back to Sinai and Christ, as well as a future event as God forms His end-time remnant.
- Christ’s inauguration in Heaven (Revelation 5).
- The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, both the early rain on the Disciples (Acts 2:1-4) and the latter rain that will ripen the final harvest (Jeremiah 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7; Revelation 18:1). This begins the “Loud Cry” (Isaiah 58:1).
- Baptism (John 3:4-6).
- The second offering of firstfruits (Revelation 14:4).
This second firstfruits offering was to be uniquely kept with leaven (Leviticus 23:17). This commemorates sinful man who would be resurrected and also sinful man who would be cleansed of sin. This also ties in the topic of Revelation’s 144,000 firstfruits. (Rev. 7 & 14)
The Feast of Trumpets
Yom Teruah, or incorrectly called Rosh Hashanah
This is another single Holy Day that is to be celebrated as a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:24-25) and kept by an assembly of believers. It falls on the first day of the seventh month of the Biblical Calendar. It can fall on any day of the week. It is specifically designed to be “a memorial of the blowing of Trumpets.” (Leviticus 23:24) This points back to Numbers 10:1-10 which brings in the meanings of this Feast which are:
- Sounding an alarm.
- Obeying the call of God’s voice when He tells you to get your lives in order or go into battle.
- God will remember us when we call upon Him in distress.
- The final loud cry of salvation to be given to the world.
The Feast of Trumpets appropriately comes ten days before the Day of Atonement as an alarm that the end of Grace is fast approaching (Joel 2:1). Its lessons point to both God sending us an alarm and us calling on God in distress. The phrase “blowing of trumpets” is teruah in Hebrew, which can mean a trumpet blast, a shout (even a shout for joy) and an alarm.
The Feast ties into the 7 Trumpets of Revelation (Rev. 8-11) and the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30; Genesis 32-33). An excellent text representing this day is found in Psalm 107 which says, “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.” God calls it “a memorial” and says that He will remember us! (Numbers 10:9) It can be a fun activity to read Psalm 107 in a group as a responsive reading on this day.
The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated by worshiping God, setting apart our time as a Sabbath and studying or reviewing these lessons, past and future.
Without fully understanding the meaning of this Feast, the Jews have ascribed to it the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah or “head of the year”) following the civil calendars of ancient times. But it is not Scripturally celebrated as new year since this Feast falls in the seventh month which cannot also be the first month (Leviticus 23:24). Furthermore, God refers to this seventh month as “year’s end” (Exodus 34:22) and He has given instruction about when to begin the year in Spring (Exodus 12:2).
The Day of Atonement
This is another single Feast Day that can fall on any day of the week but is to be kept strictly as a Sabbath with a congregation of believers (Leviticus 23:27-32). It commemorates the “cleansing of the Sanctuary” which was done one day per year (Leviticus 16). This act pointed forward to the one single day when Christ will wipe all our record of sin out of the books of heaven (Zechariah 3:9; Hebrews 10:25). This means that all of our sins need to be confessed and forsaken by that day, giving the reason why the alarm of the trumpets is sounded ten days earlier.
We are commanded to “afflict our souls” on this day (Leviticus 23:29) in anticipation of the solemn event that will occur in the heavenly realms. Some people may celebrate this day with fasting from all food. Though there is no harm in this type of a fast for a healthy person, this is not the kind of affliction God desires (Isaiah 58) and fasting from food is not specifically mentioned.
The Word “Atonement,” or Kippur, means purging or cleansing and breaks down in English to “At-One-ment” showing that it refers to a moment when Christ will declare to His Father that His work is done and He has restored mankind to be one again with God. This is the most solemn day of the year and the pinnacle of Christ’s work. The one and only final Atonement is shown several times in the book of Daniel:
- Daniel 2:34 – It is Christ at the moment of Atonement that strikes the blow to the feet of the image.
- Daniel 7:14 – It is at the Atonement that Christ is given the everlasting kingdom (Revelation 11:15-19).
- Daniel 8:14 – The Atonement is the act that puts an end to the reign of terror caused by the Little Horn.
- Daniel 9:26 – The Atonement will mark the “end of the war.”
- Daniel 12:1 – “At that time shall Michael stand up” is the action of making the final Atonement.
When the actual final Day of Atonement occurs, the Beings in Heaven will look on in silent awe and anticipation (Rev. 8:1).
The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Ingathering or Sukkot
This is a seven-day feast with a Sabbath falling on the first and eighth days. (Yes, this is how the Bible describes it.) It is a past memorial of the wilderness wandering (Leviticus 23:43) and holds many lessons for our future. It is a time of Thanksgiving for God’s blessings and a time to rejoice that the burden of sin has been lifted off of us. A time to respect the temporary shelter that God has given us here on earth while He prepares to lead us into the promised New Earth.
It is celebrated by building a wilderness shelter made of tree branches on the first day. You continue to live in this booth for seven days while you rejoice before the Lord (Leviticus 23:40-43). It is also the time to remember the poor among you and provide a way for them to attend the Feast, perhaps even paying their wages so they too can take off the whole week to celebrate (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12; Luke 14:13; John 13:29). Some of the many lessons of this Holiday are:
- Our homes are only temporary shelter as we journey to a promised land—The Earth Made New.
- God will shelter His people during the Trumpets and 7 Last Plagues (Isaiah 26:20-21).
- Practicing for a future time when God’s people may need to flee from the wicked before Christ’s Second Coming. Though building a booth is a rehearsal for building a wilderness shelter, God’s protection will be our only true refuge.
- Joy in the Atonement that just occurred, making it possible for the lion to lie down with the lamb and to eat grass like an ox—a time when sin will be ended.
- A time for publicly reading the Torah out loud in the hearing of the people (Deuteronomy 31:9-11).
- A time to contemplate the Second Coming of Jesus which will come at the end of the final Feast of Tabernacles. What a marvelous time to bring out all the Second Coming hymns and sing them with resolve! We even see this in Scripture when the Saints sing aloud, “Lo, this is our God. We have waited for him and He will save us!” “Let us rejoice in His salvation!” “Lo Jesus comes, yes, Jesus comes!”
The Last Great Day
Sometimes called “Simhat Torah” or “rejoicing in the law”
This is technically a separate Feast, but comes as the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a High Sabbath commemorating the day of our resurrection and of the Second Coming of Christ (John 6-7). Jesus Himself looks forward to this day as He repeatedly says, “And I will raise him up at the last day.”
The meaning of this Feast has never been understood by the Jews. It has been kept in the past by a water-pouring ceremony which Jesus redirected onto Himself when He stood in the temple on this day of the Feast and said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” (John 7:37-40) The Jews have also kept it as a day of rejoicing in the Law of God. This is appropriate in two ways. First, it marks the end of the year’s reading of the Torah. Second, it will mark the time when God’s Law is at last restored in the universe, and in mankind, bringing an end to sin.
The Biblical Feast Days did not end at the Cross
Here are highlights of the Scriptural evidence that supports keeping God’s Feast Days by today’s church:
God’s true worship was planned at Creation when God set up His calendar on the fourth day of Creation and His weekly Sabbath on the seventh day (Gen 1:14; 2:2-3). He gave the lights in the Heavens to mark His “set appointed meeting times” (moed). He then told us what these “meetings” are in Leviticus 23 and said, “These are My Feasts… My moed.”
The sun marks the Sabbath every 7 days because the sun governs a night and a day. “… and the evening and the morning were the first day.” “From evening to evening shall you reckon your Sabbath.” (Genesis 1:5; Leviticus 23:32) The light in the Heavens that God chose to mark His yearly feasts, His “set appointed meeting times” (moed), is the moon. “He appointed the moon for moed. (Psalm 104:19).
God even explains when to begin His new year. It is based on the moon and the harvest season. “Observe the new moon in Abib and keep the Passover.” (Deuteronomy 16:1) The term “abib” is a certain stage in the maturation of barley at the end of Spring. It is described in the Bible as “when you begin to put the sickle to the grain.” (Deuteronomy 16:9) God also uses this word as the name of the first month of the year and tells us it is also the month of the Passover when Israel came out of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 16:1) This new year is also an “appointed time” on God’s calendar. (Exodus 34:14) Even though it is never listed as a day of worship or gathering, it does hold some status as the starting point in the year for all the other Feasts.
- God’s Feasts illustrate the Plan of Salvation in a way that we can understand and pass down to our children (Exodus 13:8, 14; Leviticus 23:43).
- After the Fall, the Feasts were kept in the Garden of Eden. Cain’s offering of the firstfruits of His harvest would have been acceptable on any day other than the Passover. Again we can see the Passover 430 years before the Exodus from Egypt when Abraham made his great sacrifice. This was also many generations before there were any Jews. (Genesis 4:1-4; Genesis 26:5; Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:41)
- When Israel was brought out of slavery in Egypt, they were reminded of God’s true worship when God was restoring the knowledge of Himself at Sinai. (Leviticus 23).
- The Sabbaths and Feasts are part of God’s covenant, are written on the Tables of Stone, are part of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:10-28).
- God’s True worship was corrupted by King Jeroboam in an effort to separate the people from God (1 Kings 12:26-33).
- True worship is finally fully restored when the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven at Christ’s Third Coming (Zechariah 14:16). This shows God’s desire to continue His worship into the New Earth.
- The Feasts, Sabbaths and God’s Law were reinstated at each true Spiritual revival (2 Chronicles 30; 2 Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 35:1-19; Nehemiah 8:14-18, including both the Exodus and when Joshua was anointed as leader: Joshua 5:1-12).
- God refers to His Sabbaths in the plural form (Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 26:2; Ezekiel 46:3).
- God says that His Sabbaths are the sign that He is our God (Ezekiel 20:12, 20; Exodus 13:9). Notice that Exodus 13:9 is speaking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Along with the Sabbath, the Feasts were kept by the Disciples and Paul long after the Cross (Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; and others).
- We are told by Jesus that the Passover (which seems like the most obvious Feast to have ended) is not fulfilled until He eats it with us in His Father’s Kingdom (Luke 22:15-16).
- The Feast Days and Sabbath are full of lessons pointing past the Cross, reaching beyond the Second Coming and are kept far into the New Earth (Isaiah 66:23).
- True vs. false worship forms the core of the controversy regarding the final battle, the Mark of the Beast and the Little Horn (Daniel 7:25; Rev. 13:8, 14:9-12)
- In the final days, God calls His people to restore His true worship in a revival of primitive godliness. We see this in the First Angel’s Message: “Worship Him who made heaven and earth and the springs of waters.” (Revelation 14:7)
These Yearly Feast Days outline the entire Plan of Salvation and show the work that Jesus is doing, step-by-step, to work out our salvation. Anyone who believes that keeping these days denies Christ’s sacrifice, does not know of the rich lessons taught about Jesus by these Holy Days. These are thoroughly Christian Holidays that cannot even be fully understood without Christ.
It is often believed that these Feasts are “ceremonial” and therefore came to an end with the sacrifices and earthly temple. But Jesus Himself showed us how to keep the Feasts without an earthly temple and without sacrifices. And to think that they came to an end because Moses wrote them in the Torah, is just a misunderstanding of God’s Law.
Through the Dark Ages, the Christian Church has lost sight of these Holy Days that were revered by the Early Church. We have accepted adulterated versions of these Holy Days through the same spirit that led King Jeroboam to corrupt God’s worship. The counterfeit holidays do not contain the same lessons, truths and blessings that we find when worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth.
God, in His wisdom, is today moving forward in His work of The Reformation as He inspires Spiritual revival among His faithful believers. This was prophesied by the 7 Thunders of Revelation 10 that reveal sudden bursts of lightning which enlighten God’s people in their time of need. This brilliant light shining on God’s Feast Days helps to restore God’s Law and Covenant to us as we draw nearer to Christ’s return.
The weight of evidence is overwhelming. God’s Sabbaths are valid and important for Christians today. They are being brought back to our attention today as Jesus begins to prepare this generation for what is coming on the earth. In the moment of our ignorance God may have blinked, but there is now no excuse to keep us from returning to God with fasting and weeping and prayer as we restore this breach in His Holy Law.
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue and people—saying with a loud voice,
“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7