The Top 15 Bible Facts that can encourage Christians and Seventh-Day Adventists to return to the True Worship of God as the First Angel proclaims His judgment and restores His Feasts.
The First Angel of Revelation 14 cries with a loud voice,
“Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment has come. And worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7
This Angel is calling mankind back to the true worship of the True God. Do we hear his cry within the newly rekindled message of God’s Feast Days?
The seriousness of our times ought to inspire us to stand in readiness for service in God’s army, to witness resolutely for His Truth and to eagerly proclaim His Word to all flesh. We have been admonished by Paul to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that burns within us. Whether ministering to the needy or standing before magistrates, we need to be witnesses to the love and character of Jesus, our Saviour. To do this, we need to know Him as our Brother.
The Feasts of God will help us know our Saviour better. They outline His Plan of Salvation and, through their harvest lessons, they teach us of Jesus’ ongoing work after the Cross. At the same time they give us guidance for the end-times and prepare us to meet our God. They form the foundation of our covenant with God and distinguish His followers from the world around them. The Bible tells us that, together with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as evidence of our faith, the Feasts form the Seal of God—His Mark—that identifies His true worshipers. And they give us an assurance of salvation as they display God’s power to save in a way that every generation and every age can understand.
In 1843, the Seventh-Day Adventist Pioneers were directed by God to look further into these Feasts and yet they struggled for many years merely to accept the Sabbath Commandment. Though they did finally gain a profound love for the seventh-day Sabbath, by 1888 they had become unwilling to move forward into the fullness of the knowledge of Christ. In that state of mind, the weekly Sabbath was as far as they were willing to venture into the truth of God’s Sabbaths. Yet, like Jesus and the Apostles, Mrs. Ellen G. White was never led by the Holy Spirit to speak against celebrating His Feasts. When looking into the future, she saw that the time would come for God’s people to be filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaim the Sabbath message more fully. At that time it will be found that no one could “refute the Sabbath truth.”
“At the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches, and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God’s chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us.” White, Early Writings, p. 33.
The effect this would have on the Adventists reveals to us that this would not merely be a louder or wider proclamation of the same Sabbath they had already accepted, but that richer knowledge would come to test our faith. That alone should make us hesitant to resist the Feast-day message.
When is this test supposed to come? Are we there today? All of Christianity has been stirred by the message of the Biblical Feasts. The Holy Spirit is moving on hearts all around us. Can we all agree that the world shows we are nearing the Time of Trouble? All the ingredients are present. So, does it come as such a surprise to us that God is trying to restore His true worship at this time? The same worship that He asked for at Sinai and that He foretold in the First Angel’s Message?
What keeps us from moving forward into this beautiful Bible truth? Celebrations aren’t hard or grievous, so why do we slam on the brakes like the car is going off the cliff? Is there some reason that we do not want to know any more about the Law of God? Are we afraid of something and not trusting Jesus to be our Guide? Or have we just become immobilized by our surprise at encountering something we have never known before? Maybe it is time to get a few more facts on this important topic.
The Number 1 reason that we should consider restoring God’s true worship is because the hour of His judgment is upon us and the Master is inviting us to His Feast. But here are 14 more Bible Facts about the Feasts of the Lord that should encourage both Seventh-Day Adventists and Christians of all denominations to fully embrace the beauty and truth of God’s Holy Days—His Feasts.
1. The Feast Days ARE part of the 10 Commandments, sometimes called the “moral law,” and not part of the sacrificial system, often called the “ceremonial law.”
This is an important point in understanding the Feasts. Most of the arguments used today against the Feasts are actually arguments about the “ceremonial law” coming to an end or changing at the Cross. These arguments may be true as they relate to the sanctuary services and sacrifices. But they are not valid arguments against the Feasts because the Feasts are not part of the ceremonial law!
The Bible says that both the weekly and yearly Sabbaths of God were given to Moses as part of His Commandments and Covenant. God gave His Law, His Judgments and His Sabbaths (all of them) and then entered into a verbal covenant with the people. Afterwards He privately gave Moses instructions for the sanctuary and all of its services.
Follow the progression of what happened on Sinai. God the Father appeared in the sight of the people and spoke in their hearing where He gave them His Commandments and Judgments. (Exodus 19:9, 11; Exodus 19 – 23) When He was finished speaking, Deuteronomy 5:22 says, “He added no more.…” After this, Moses spoke all the same words to the people and the people agreed to keep all these laws. (Ex. 24:3)
Then Moses wrote the same words in the “Book of the Covenant” and read them again in the hearing of the people. This Book of the Covenant contained the Feasts, the Sabbath, and the 7-year Sabbatical. (Exodus 23:10-19; Exodus 24:1-8)
For the second time, the people said, “All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient.” (Ex. 24:7) Here is where we find the people entering into a verbal covenant with God, embracing the words that the Father had spoken from atop the mountain.
After this, Jehovah called Moses to come up onto the mountain where He would give Moses the Tables of Stone that God had already written and which contained these words. God said,
“Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” (Exodus 24:12)
Moses went up on the mountain to get the tablets. While he was there, God gave him the instructions for the sanctuary in private while Moses remained on the mountain for 40 days.
The people were not present for this part of the conversation. These sanctuary instructions are given to Moses separately and after the people agreed to keep covenant with God and accept His law and Sabbaths as the foundation of that covenant.
The following verses can simplify for us the order of events. We can see that the context in which the Sabbath and Feasts fall is before they agreed to keep covenant with God. Compare this with the time when the sanctuary instructions were given after Moses went back up on the mountain to get the tablets.
- Exodus 23:10-19: Sabbaths and Feasts
- Exodus 24:3-8: Covenant agreement
- Exodus 24:12-18: Jehovah called Moses to come up the mountain for the tablets
- Exodus 25 – 31: Sanctuary instructions given to Moses in private
The Feast Days are found before the people agreed to all the Sabbaths as part of their covenant with God and before God gave Moses the sanctuary instructions.
And within those sanctuary instructions, there is no mention of the Feast Days. So, it becomes difficult to see why so many of the leading men classify the Feasts of God as part of the sacrificial law instead of including them within the Sabbath Commandment and the terms of God’s Covenant.
For Adventists, it could be helpful to know that Ellen White agrees that the Feasts are part of the “moral law” and not part of the “ceremonial law.” She wrote,
“That the obligations of the Decalogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments.… The first of these laws related to servants. … The rights of widows and orphans were especially guarded. … The taking of usury from the poor was forbidden. …
These first laws related to the Judgments that God gave from Sinai in conjunction with His Commandments. (Exodus 21 – 23) Afterwards He continued speaking about the Sabbath Commandment (Exodus 23:10-17.) Mrs. White continues on to show that the yearly Feasts are connected to the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments when she says,
“… Again the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord. …
“These laws were, … with the ten precepts which they were given to illustrate, the condition of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel.” White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 310-311.
2. The Feasts are the terms of God’s Covenant.
This covenant is founded on the true worship of God and that worship is performed by keeping the Feasts of Jehovah on His time schedule.
Exodus 34 is a clear covenant document given to the Children of Israel after the sin of the Golden Calf. God told Moses to make two new tables of stone and come up to Him on the mountain where He would give him new tablets with all the same words as the first tables. (Exodus 34:1) At that time, He clearly presented the terms of His Covenant relationship with the people.
What is found in Exodus 34 is laid out just like a modern contract.
- We find God’s name at the beginning of the document. (vs. 5-7)
- Then we find the title of the document: “Behold I make a covenant. Observe what I command you this day.” (v. 10)
Then God begins to lay out the terms of this covenant and we find that all the terms revolve around the true worship of God.
- Do not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land lest they cause you to worship their gods for “you shall worship no other god.” (vs. 12-16)
- “You shall make no molded gods.” (v. 17)
- “The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep.” (v. 18)
- “The Seventh day you shall rest.” (v. 21)
- “You shall observe the Feast of Weeks of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest [Pentecost] …” (v. 22)
- … And you shall observe “the Feast of Ingathering at year’s end [Tabernacles or Sukkot].” (v. 22)
- “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel.” (vs. 23-24)
- “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.” (v. 25)
- “All that open the womb are mine.” (v. 19)
- “The firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord.” (v. 26)
Then God said, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” (v. 27) God told Moses to write a duplicate copy of these commandments so that they were written by both man and God. That made 2 witnesses to the words of the covenant. With a duplicate written in man’s own hand, it could never be said that we did not understand the terms of the Covenant.
God then finalized the document. “He wrote on the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” (v. 28) These “words of the Covenant” contain the seventh-day Sabbath as well as the yearly Feasts. In fact, the worship of God is the only thing we are specifically told is written on the Tables of Stone. This is the only place in Scripture where we actually find the term “The Ten Commandments.” (There are two other places that both refer back to the history of this event: Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4.)
Did you know that the Tables of Stone are also called the “tables of the covenant?” (Deuteronomy 9:9, 11, 15; Hebrews 9:4) When Moses came down off of the mountain to find the people worshiping the golden calf, He broke these “tables of the covenant” as an outward sign that the people had broken their covenant with God. God’s covenant revolves around His true worship. This is why the Lord placed an emphasis on worship when He repeated the Law.
The Bible shows us that true worship makes the difference between the faithful wife and the “adulterous woman.” (Hosea 2:9-12) This is why the Lord can say that keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a sign of belonging to Him.
“It [the feast] shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.” (Exodus 13:6-10)
It also explains why Ezekiel 20 lists the plural Sabbaths as the sign of belonging to God. “Hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I AM the LORD your God.” (Ezekiel 20:20) God is looking for our worship to be pure and devoted exclusively to Him.
3. “The Book of the Law” that Moses placed beside the Ark of the Covenant is the Torah.
God told Moses he was going to die. (Deuteronomy 31:14) So Moses finished writing all his work in a book and asked the Levites to place this book in the Ark. This writing of Moses included the first five books of the Bible so it is also called the Pentateuch. These five books include: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In Hebrew this is the Sepher Torah, the Torah Scroll. Scripture says,
“So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: ‘Take this Book of the Law [sepher torah], and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you.’” Deuteronomy 31:24-27
Most people can understand that the Torah is God’s Law and His Word. And yet, as important as the Torah is, these verses in Deuteronomy are often used to minimize the importance of the Feast Days by saying they are not written on the Tables of Stone but only written in some insignificant and temporary book. Oops. We just saw that God’s Feasts are irrefutably written on the Tables of Stone and that the copy of the Torah—the Book of the Covenant—that Moses wrote was an exact duplicate copy that God ordered him to write. The book that Moses placed in the safest place in the world was the original copy of the first five books of the Bible and it was in no way inferior to any other Biblical writings.
In other places in the Bible, this Torah Scroll, or Book of the Law, is also called: the Book of the Covenant, The Book of the Law of Jehovah, The Book of the Law of Jehovah Elohim, The Book of the Law of Jehovah given by Moses. (2 Chronicles 34:1-4, 14-15, 21, 30; Nehemiah 8:3, 18, 9:3.) Different names, but only one Book! And that book is the Torah of Jehovah Elohim!
Anyone who thinks that book is insignificant or temporary has yet to understand that it contained the entire writings of Moses that he completed before he died. (Deut. 31:9, 14, 24) Tossing this out would destroy the entire foundation of the Judeo-Christian religions.
4. The Law that was “done-away-with” at the Cross, and was the “yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear,” (Acts 15:10) was the “Oral Law” of the Jews. This is sometimes called the Law of Moses because the Jews claim it was handed down orally since Moses. Others claim it was passed down by mouth since Adam. This is also called the “Second Law” or the “tradition” of the Jews and it was often found in conflict with the Torah, as Jesus said, “You make void the Law of God by your tradition.” (Matthew 15:2-3)
From the Babylonian Captivity until about 500 AD, the Jews were compiling this “Oral Law” into writings which are known today as the Talmud or the “Second Law.” The first volume of the Talmud is the Mishnah, which literally translates as, “second law.”
Jesus showed an example of the Talmudic law, and how He felt about it, when He explained in Mark:
“‘In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.’ He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.’” (Mark 7:7-9)
All of these “washings” were found in the Talmud and have nothing to do with God’s Feasts or any of the rest of His Law. In another place Jesus showed more of these traditions:
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’” (Matthew 23:2-7)
In this passage, Jesus was talking about both of these laws—the Torah of God and the Talmud of the Jews. He brings to light the comparison between the two. Moses spoke the law of God to the people and he also sat as a judge among the people as they passed through the wilderness. The Pharisees were supposed to carry on the position of Moses to judge the people and speak the law of God. It became a tradition in Jerusalem to sit in a dedicated seat while publicly speaking the Law of God. This is the “seat of Moses” that Jesus is referring to. When they sat in Moses’ seat, they read from the Torah. These words Jesus encouraged the people to obey.
But in their daily lives, the Pharisees lived according to the burdensome laws of the Talmud which they had written themselves. These laws governed such things as the distance you could travel on the Sabbath day, the weight you could carry on the Sabbath, the length of the ritual fringe and other various washings and ceremonies. This was supposed to be a safety net around the Law of God to keep people walking the right way, but it had become a burden by taking the focus away from God and placing it on externals.
This Talmudic law, the rite of circumcision and the sanctuary services that were recently ended by Jesus, were the three main points of contention between the Jews and the new church. (Acts 6:13-14; Acts 15:1, 5) It is understandable that, after all the years of remaining separate from the heathen people, the Hebrews thought that the Gentiles needed to follow all the laws that made them “Jewish” before coming into the synagogue. But Paul cautions the new church to avoid the pressure placed on them by the Jews—even if they had accepted Christ! Here we see this controversy in Colossians 2 among other places in Scripture.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Even the early Hebrew Christians were confused about what changed at the Cross and which “laws” they were supposed to be following. Today there is no difference. Jews still believe they need to reinstate the Mosaic sanctuary rituals. And Christians have a nagging sense that “some law” ended at the Cross without really knowing what that law was.
Because of this confusion, Christians have long been argumentative about which part of God’s Law ended at the cross. It is true that Jesus took over the work of the sanctuary services. But Jesus also showed that the “law” that was unnecessary was the Talmud of the Jews.
5. The “handwriting of ordinances that was against us,” found in Colossians 2:14, has been misunderstood as the Book of the Law of Deuteronomy 31:26 which was handwritten by Moses and which we have already seen is the Torah of Jehovah. However, this “handwriting” is actually found in Daniel when the hand came out of nowhere and wrote against the plaster of the wall: “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin: thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.” (Daniel 5:5-6, 24-28) This judgment against us reveals the death sentence which is written beside our names. This is the handwriting that was taken out of the way when Christ nailed His body to the cross, rescinding our death.
This whole chapter of Colossians 2 is currently misused by Christians to tear down some part of God’s Law. And yet its subject is how Christ’s humanity and death on the Cross has saved us from death and given us a chance to be resurrected with Him and partakers of His reward. His body brings us from death into life.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17, KJV)
Does this verse say we are not to keep Sabbaths or Feasts? Or, rather, does it say that you are not to be judged by any man, whether we keep Feasts or not? We are judged only by Jesus’ humanity—His human body that He gave in order for us to have a chance at life. Salvation cannot be seen by our outward acts, no matter how good or how holy we appear. It is only the body of Christ that can judge us. By His death and resurrection, He has given us the tools to pass from death into life everlasting.
6. The Feast Days were an integral part of the revival that gave rise to the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Why did God choose to revive the knowledge of His Feasts at that time? More than 1800 years after Jesus left the earth? Were these Feasts an important part of preparing people for the Second Coming? Can that fact apply to the church of God today as well? As we read in that powerful message coming from the 1st Angel of Revelation 14, God’s hour of judgment is tightly linked to the restoration of His worship.
As the Millerites prepared for the Second Coming in 1844, they were shown that the “cleansing of the sanctuary” was an act associated with the Day of Atonement—one of the Feast Days. They were expecting the Advent, or return of Christ, which is memorialized by the feast of the Last Great Day, representing the Second Coming and Resurrection of the saints.
And as they counted on the calendar until October of 1844, they found that a key date was the first day of the 7th month which was the Feast of Trumpets, coming 10 days before the Day of Atonement. They found that all of these Feasts still had significant meaning for the end of time.
They were also shown the importance of the Biblical Calendar and that Christ continues to work according to His calendar. They discovered that the Karaite Jews of the Middle Ages had a more correct understanding of the starting point of the new year, placing the new year in April-May instead of March-April. This point came to light in the Karaite movement in the 9th – 10th centuries AD. This information from the Karaites ultimately led the Pioneers to begin the year on April 19 in 1844 and to look for the Day of Atonement on October 22. They also learned from the Karaites that the Biblical way to identify the start of the new month was to literally observe the first crescent moon in the sky. “Observe the new moon in Abib.” (Deuteronomy 16:1; Psalm 104:19)
Jesus did not return to earth in 1844, causing widespread disappointment among those who were waiting for Him. Over the next two years, Brethren O.R.L. Crosier, Hiram Edson and Dr. F.B. Hahn researched the errors that were made by the Millerite movement in thinking that Christ would come in 1844. In 1846 they wrote their conclusions in a 4-part document titled, “The Sanctuary.”
During their studies, they learned that the sanctuary was in heaven, that Christ was now acting as High Priest in that sanctuary, that an earthly temple was no longer needed and that the Feasts of the Lord had not expired at the Cross. Crosier realized that even the Spring Feasts [Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost] are not fulfilled until the Second Coming. These points became part of their fundamental doctrines as they formed the new denomination of Seventh-Day Adventists. Even the name of the church reflected the importance they placed on the Feasts, having named it “Seventh-Day Adventists” in respect for the Sabbath of God.
Here are some profound excerpts from Crosier’s findings relating to the Feast Days:
“The Paschal feast [Passover and Unleavened Bread] must be ‘fulfilled in the Kingdom of God,’ which according to verse 18 [Luke 22:18], was then and is yet to ‘come.’ … One extreme of the Paschal antitype is his death, and the other his second coming, hence it spans and is fulfilled during the Gospel Dispensation.”
Here Crosier uses the term “Gospel Dispensation” to mean the period of time between Christ’s first and second comings.
“The autumnal types [meaning the Fall feasts] were none of them fulfilled at the first advent.”
“He was buried and arose, and shed down the Holy Ghost in direct fulfilment of the types [referring to the Feast of Pentecost], which would not have been the case if the significancy of the law had terminated at the cross. In fact, His anointing and crucifixion were only the beginning of its fulfilment, as being the beginning of that great system of redemption whose shadows were contained in the law.” Crosier (sic)
(References: O.R.L. Crosier, The Day Star Extra, “The Sanctuary,” February 1846. A full copy of this document is available on request. Reference to the Karaite dating is from Lessons in Denominational History, General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1942.)
Crosier realized that non of these Feasts were finished at the Cross: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and the autumnal feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. As the Advent Pioneers learned these points, they diverged from the traditional teachings of the other denominations of their day. They learned all these key points about the Feasts and the Biblical Calendar even before they embraced the seventh-day Sabbath.
How has today’s church lost its focus?
7. The Feast Days were in existence before the Jews and will be kept again in the New Earth.
➤ Abraham kept all parts of God’s Law 430 years before that Law was given at Sinai and before there were any Jews. “Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Genesis 26:5) In Hebrew, these are God’s mitzvah, cuqqah, torah—commandments, statutes and Torah. How was it that Abraham understood and obeyed all this definition of God’s Law if it was only given to the Jews at Sinai over 400 years later? The Bible tells us that all parts of God’s Law were in existence well before the Jews were called out of Egypt.
➤ God planned His set appointed meetings—His Feasts—on the 4th day of Creation. (Genesis 1:14) This comes even before He blessed the Sabbath or created mankind.
➤ Abram’s great vision and offering was on the very night of Passover 430 years before the Passover in Egypt. (Genesis 15:13 combined with Exodus 12:41)
➤ The Bible tells us that any harvest can be offered as a firstfruit. (Leviticus 2:12) Cain’s firstfruit offering of vegetables would have been acceptable on any day of the year, EXCEPT the Passover, when only a lamb would do. (Genesis 4:3-5)
The Bible shows that God’s worship continues in the future into the time of the New Earth as both the Sabbath and His calendar are mentioned in Isaiah. “From one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:23) Not only is the Sabbath revealed, but also the New Moons which are the markers that identify the time for God’s worship.
And at Christ’s Third Coming, when the Holy City comes down from God out of heaven, we find this verse in Zechariah takes place.
“He will place His feet on the mount of Olives … and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two. … And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem. … And it shall come to pass that everyone … shall go up from year to year to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:4-19
This passage does not point to one event only, but to an ongoing yearly worship to the Lord at the Feast of Tabernacles—even in the New Earth! Looking back to the time that King Jeroboam corrupted the Feast of Tabernacles, we can see that it takes until Christ’s Third Coming for His true worship to finally be restored. Truly, God is waiting a long time for a people to worship Him in holiness.
8. Mo’ed: God established His calendar on the 4th day of Creation to mark His, “set appointed meetings”—His mo’ed H4150.
“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons [mo’ed], and for days and years.’” (Genesis 1:14)
On the fourth day of Creation, God set the lights in the heavens in such a way that they would be markers that would identify His meeting times as well as indicating days and years. So God planned for meetings with mankind as early as the fourth day—before God blessed the seventh-day Sabbath.
It should come as no surprise to us that God reminded men of His meetings as He restored His law. When we come to Leviticus 23, and find God listing those fixed appointments, we should realize that He was just restoring this knowledge to a people who had lost sight of God through long captivity. These Feasts—or in Hebrew, mo’ed—were part of those same commandments, statutes and Torah that Abraham had kept 400 years earlier and that we see evidence of in the story of Cain and Abel.
This word, mo’ed, can be translated as “feasts,” but they are more accurately the set, appointed meeting times of God. God tells us these meetings include the weekly Sabbath as well as the seasonal Sabbaths in Leviticus 23, where He said, These are “My mo’ed which you shall proclaim in their mo’ed.” “My set appointed meetings which you shall proclaim in their set appointed times.” (Lev. 23:4) It is sometimes said that the Feasts are the feasts of Moses. But there never was a mo’ed of Moses—a set appointed meeting time of Moses. Rather, “Moses declared to the children of Israel the Feasts [mo’ed] of the Lord.” And the Lord said, “These are My Feasts—My mo’ed.” (Leviticus 23:44, 4)
One of the most profound uses of the word mo’ed is found in Isaiah in reference to the New Earth. The Holy City that comes down from God out of heaven is named: Zion, the City of Mo’ed.
“Look upon Zion, the city of Our Appointed Feasts [Mo’ed, “solemnities” in the KJV]. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home, a tabernacle that will not be taken down; not one of its stakes will ever be removed, nor will any of its cords be broken.” Isaiah 33:20
And if that isn’t enough to convince us of the lasting importance of God’s holy days, here is another interesting fact about the word mo’ed and the name of the Holy City. This will be one of the names that will be written on the foreheads of the redeemed.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” Revelation 3:12
9. Jesus and the Passover: We already saw that the Feast Days are not part of the sanctuary services. But what we often don’t realize is that “the sacrifices” didn’t actually come to an end at the Cross.
Killing the ram may have stopped forever, but Jesus took over the role of the ram and became our true Sacrifice. He also became our true Temple where sin is dealt with. He took on all the duties of the sanctuary including the role of High Priest. And when He did this, the sacrificial rites were terminated as Jesus began His true work in the heavenly realm. We can see this transition from the animals to the body of Christ in the book of Hebrews.
“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body you have prepared for Me.’” (Hebrews 10:5)
Again, as it said in Colossians, it would be the human body of Christ that would remove the reproach of sin.
The end of the animal sacrifices did not bring an end to the worship of God—it just meant that God would be worshiped in a different way. In the ancient days, there were sacrifices ordered for every Sabbath day (Numbers 28:9-10) as well as for every Feast Day. But we have learned to worship God on the Sabbath without offering an animal sacrifice because we focus our worship on the sacrifice of Jesus as our lamb.
Today, a Christian can keep God’s Sabbath without performing the sacrifices that were called for on the Sabbath. The same is true for the animal offerings on the Feasts. The sacrifices are replaced by the body of Jesus, but the worship of God continues. Seventh-Day Adventists have learned that there is a clear difference between the day of worship itself and the animal offerings that were associated with the worship during the time of the temple.
Jesus Himself removed the Passover lamb from the worship service when He gave the replacement symbols for the Passover, replacing the body of the lamb with the bread and replacing its blood with the wine. (Luke 22:14-19) He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” (Luke 22:19) while at the exact same time telling us the Passover is not fulfilled until the New Earth.
“Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 22:15-16)
If the Feast of Passover was destined to end within 24 hours, why would Jesus have given new symbols for the Feast? And also, why would He have encouraged His followers to continue to use these symbols until His return? When Paul said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes,” which “coming” was he speaking of? (1 Corinthians 11:26)
Were the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover coming to an end at the Cross? Or was it the sacrificial service of the Jews that surrounded the Passover that ended with Christ’s death? The following passage from Mrs. White is often quoted as removing the Passover from our worship today, which would be in complete opposition to the words of both Jesus and Paul if we understood it to mean the end of the Passover Feast.
“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.” (White, The Desire of Ages, DA 652.2)
What is this passage really saying? “The system of types and ceremonies” was about to pass away, meaning the entire temple service was about to come to an end. The “service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice” was “instituted in place of” the sacrificial system. As Jesus said, Keep the Passover, “In remembrance of Me.” The lamb had been pointing forward as a rehearsal; the Bread and Wine would now point backward as memorials.
And what was the “service which Christ established?” Jesus had just changed the way the Passover was to be celebrated. He also added foot-washing as a method of keeping His servants humble as well as teaching them about the final touches that needed to be done for their righteousness to be complete. And this ceremony was still to be a “great festival” and was “to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages!” This quotation is in perfect harmony with the words of Jesus and Paul. Jesus changed the way we were to celebrate the Passover but did not remove the Feast entirely!
10. Jerusalem Temple: It is often mistakenly said that “no one can keep the Feasts without the Jerusalem temple.” Some people have claimed that, without the temple, Christians just plain cannot literally keep the Feasts. But is that true? Are they still thinking that the Feasts can only be kept with a priest and a sacrifice? Or do they think that God had only one location where He placed His name? God said,
“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.” (Deuteronomy 16:16)
The location where God placed His name was in Jerusalem for many years. And yet God did not specify that Jerusalem would forever remain the place of His worship. Before Jerusalem, the Lord had placed His name in Shiloh, revealing to us that He is able to move the place of His worship. (Jeremiah 7:12) Today, the place where the Lord chooses to make His name abide is on our foreheads and within our hearts. For even Jesus said He will bring His temple right down into our presence.
“Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
Paul said that God’s Holy Spirit dwells within us instead of in a temple.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
And in Revelation we read that God has again moved “the place of the name of the Lord of Hosts.”
“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.” (Revelation 14:1)
“They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)
With the end of the sacrificial system, we no longer need a temple. With Jesus taking on the role of our Mediator, we no longer need an earthly priesthood to offer sacrifices. With the Law of God being moved to our hearts and His name written on our foreheads, we no longer need the Jerusalem temple. The destruction of the Jerusalem temple does not hinder our ability to worship God on His Sabbaths and Feasts.
11. The Feasts are specifically Christian holidays. The Feasts are memorials of Jesus’ work: His past, present and future work. The Feasts are the road map to the entire Plan of Salvation and outline Christ’s work from His First Coming to His Second Coming. This is that period of time called “the Gospel Dispensation” that Crosier spoke of. Jesus began His work at the Cross on Passover and continues to conquer one milestone after another, passing through Pentecost and Trumpets and the Atonement, until His Second Coming on the Last Great Day of the Feasts when He resurrects His saints. (Well, even then it is not yet fully completed.) He says,
“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40)
In these verses we find the assurance of salvation. Jesus will loose no one that His Father gave into His hand. He will finish His work and grant us eternal life. And He will raise up those who are His at the Last Day! All His work is taught by lessons contained in His Feasts. This makes the Feasts even more relevant to Christians than they ever were to the Jews who could only see them as past national memorials.
Keeping a solemn feast unto the Lord could never deny Christ’s sacrifice unless you were to reinstate animal sacrifices and earthly priests as we see happening in the last days in Isaiah 66:3. Or keep them as the Jews were doing in Isaiah 1 when God said,
“I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1:13-14 NKJV)
Why did Jehovah hate their Feasts? Because they came before Him filled with iniquity in their hearts. Instead, with our hearts in a state of true worship, His own memorial celebrations glorify Christ as they teach us more about Jesus in His work of salvation.
12. Broken cisterns. When Moses came down off of the Mountain to find the people worshiping the golden calf, he broke the Tablets of the Covenant, symbolically showing that they broke God’s covenant by worshiping a false god. The concept of true vs. false worship dogged the footsteps of the Ancient Israelites all their days. In the end, worship is the final test that will divide the world. (Rev. 14:6-11, seen in the 3 Angels’ Messages.)
Yet, for some reason, we are more resistant to put away worldly holidays, and the false worship that they contain, than were the Israelites coming out of Babylon to put away their foreign wives. Does this make these worldly holidays into a god? If they are not idols, then we should be able to give them up easily. God said,
“My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewn for themselves cisterns—broken cisterns which can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
We have not only broken covenant with God by rejecting His true worship, but we have replaced this with pagan holidays that can offer us no Spiritual refreshment. Two Evils.
It is inborn in mankind to keep holidays and memorials. But replacing God’s holy Feasts with paganized holidays is like filling up on junk food—we get no nourishment and plenty of empty calories, while at the same time we feel full and have no need to search for life-sustaining food.
In Ezekiel we find an important historic event when God’s presence rose up and literally left the Jerusalem Temple. (Ezekiel 8 – 11) God told Ezekiel the reason why He could no longer live among the people. It was because they mixed the worship of God with the worship of false gods and brought that worship right into the temple of God. God said,
“Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary?” (8:6)
What were those “abominations” that they brought into the house of the Lord? The Seventy Elders were burning incense to their gods. The women were weeping for the god Tammuz. The priests were standing in the door of the temple and worshiping the sun god.
God continues this same theme in Jeremiah.
“’Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. Do they provoke Me to anger?’ says the Lord. ‘Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?’” Jeremiah 7:16-19
“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. … They cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot go by themselves.” Jeremiah 10:2-5
Have we done this in the house of the Lord despite His command in Deuteronomy which says,
“You shall not plant for yourself any tree, as a wooden image, near the altar which you build for yourself to the Lord your God. You shall not set up a sacred pillar, which the Lord your God hates.” Deuteronomy 16:21-22
And how does God respond when His people join in with these customs? He reminds them of the simplicity in His commands. He says,
“This is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.'” Jeremiah 7:23-24
Here are our two evils. We not only reject the voice of God when He calls to us, leaving us perishing for thirst. But we also set up our own idols in our hearts, as did ancient Israel, in which we can find no fountain of living water. We need the lessons that are contained within God’s holy worship, but we are not hungering for these because we are filled with other holidays. At the same time, we are dangerously walking on thin ice by continuing to forsake the voice of God calling us to return to His true worship. It is never going to be okay for us to put Christ’s name on a pagan feast and think we are doing God a favor. He is looking for people who worship Him exclusively.
13. The lessons of the Feasts were not all learned at the Cross and neither was Christ’s work finished at the Cross. God is the same today as yesterday. There is no logical reason for His true worship to come to an end. The same arguments used to tear down the Feasts can be, and have been, used against the weekly Sabbath: like saying they were all ceremonial rituals or tossing them out because they were written down and taught by Moses. What makes the weekly Sabbath any different than the yearly Sabbaths if you want to disregard God’s Law? This is a dangerous path to take.
At the Cross, some things did change. But we must be careful when throwing out the bathwater not to include the baby. The sacrificial system of temple, priests and offerings ended. But God’s meeting times and true worship are written in stone and will last forever. And the wonderful opportunity to meet with Jesus Himself, to learn at His feet, and to join in with the Heavenly Host as they sing praises to God for His work of salvation, is eternally priceless.
Worship can come in many forms. We could kill sacrifices and burn their flesh as the ancient Hebrews were asked to do. Or we could lift up banners, rub beads in our hands, kiss idols, chant repetitive phrases, bow our faces to the ground 3 times per day, place gifts at the feet of statues, carry idols through the streets in a parade, decorate and embellish images with flowers and confetti, hold midnight mass and sunrise services, masquerade in costumes or cut a tree out of the forest.
But the form of worship that God chose for us is to hold memorial services in which we engage our minds and hearts to praise, understand and revere God for His greatness. God chose memorials as His form of worship to remember that He is the only God who saves. By celebrating these memorials, we acknowledge that He is the Creator of the universe. Within these memorial ceremonies, He asked us to eat Unleavened Bread, to afflict our souls and to build beautiful booths out of branches. Nothing He asks for is too hard. Fortunately we do not have to draw blood or cut ourselves to serve Him. So why is it so hard for us to submit?
God’s meeting times have a purpose in teaching us about His saving power. This purpose did not come to an end at the Cross—in fact, we need these lessons now more than ever before. These Feasts are the tools used by God to increase our faith as they memorialize His past works, point to His future works and reveal Christ to us. The longer we keep pushing God away as He tries to restore these lessons, the less time we have to prepare for Jesus’ Coming.
14. Revival. At each revival and reformation throughout history, God has restored His Law and returned the people to His true worship on His Feast Days. We see this in the days of the Exodus, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezra and Jesus. (2 Chronicles 30:21-27; 2 Chronicles 35:17-19; Nehemiah 8:13-17) The Feasts of God came to light again with the Karaites of the 10th century as God made an attempt to reform the Rabbinical practices of the Jewish church. (2 Chronicles 30:21-27; 2 Chronicles 35:17-19; Nehemiah 8:13-17) And during the revival in 1844, God again pointed His remnant people back to His Feasts.
Here we are again, at another season of revival, and the church is faltering even on the very borders of the heavenly Canaan as we hesitate to put our feet in the water. God is seeking revival. He has given us His Feast Days to lead in that movement. If we don’t revive this time, what will the next generation look like?
Today the First Angel of Revelation announces that it is time to restore the true worship of the only True God. “Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7) Following God in faith to first grasp, and then preach, the Sabbath more fully is the First Angel’s Message in verity. In refusing the warning of this angel, and his call to restore God’s true worship, we reject the very means which Heaven has provided for our restoration.
15. Jesus is the Master of the Feast. The most important reason of all is given to us in a parable by Jesus. He tells of the Master who invited his friends and family to his great supper but they were too busy to attend. (Luke 14:16-24) Their excuses may have seemed significant to them at the time, but what is a new field, a pair of oxen or a young wife in comparison with eternal salvation? In the last book of the Bible Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me to give to everyone according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12) So it is true that our actions matter. Just as it is true that the faith and love in our hearts matters.
When the First Angel cries, “The hour of His judgment has come,” it means that the time has come to make a decision and show the evidence of our choice by our outward actions. And it should come as no surprise to us that this time of decision arrives in connection with a revival of God’s true worship. As the other Angels continue with their messages, we find that the final choices are made and the world is divided into two camps. There are those who worship the Beast and the false god that he sets up and there are those who worship the True God who created all things. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.”
Seventh-Day Adventists have a powerful and profound message that could unite Christians and Jews worldwide if they would separate themselves from the pagan worship and embrace the true Messiah of the Bible. They have a great message to share out of the heavenly Sanctuary. Add to this the truth about God’s Law, the unsealing of the Book of Daniel and a true living witness of the love of God, and their churches would spring to life again. And God would again honor them as in the revival in Nehemiah’s day. “Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.” (2 Chronicles 30:27)
And today’s revival would be just in time too, since Jesus is holding back the Four Winds of Heaven that are about to blow in a new kingdom—and Ellen White tells us these winds are slipping through the fingers of the angels who hold them. The message of the Feast Days is urgent and the time is NOW to worship God in Spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
People have offered so many objections to the Feasts, but are these objections founded? Are they truly Biblical? Are any of them solid enough to jeopardize our salvation? The outcome could be tragic if we rely on pastors, expecting that they know more than we do. Even pastors we respect can make mistakes. But, if these Feasts are written on the Tables of Stone, do we want to be found fighting against God? The consequence of denying a heavenly message sent from God will be devastating to our souls.
The weight of evidence in support of God’s Feast Days for Christians and Seventh-day Adventists is overwhelming. It cannot be refuted by a misunderstanding of Paul or some obscure text in Galatians, Colossians, Hosea or Isaiah. And the evidence does not stop here with these 15 Bible Facts. There is so much more. But this is a good place to start. Ask your questions and pose your rational objections and see where they lead as you dive deeper into the Bible truth on God’s set appointed meetings. With this much evidence in support of the Feasts, it behooves us to take a serious look at this topic. But don’t delay. The Bridegroom is coming! Do we have enough oil? Will we be ready? ❑ MAM