Passover; Unleavened Bread; the Feast of Weeks; the Feast of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles are all Biblical Festivals. Today they are not just for the Jewish people, but can be celebrated and enjoyed by all who love Yahweh.
Some people believe that the Feasts of Yahweh are not relevant for our day, and that Yahshua’s death and resurrection was the beginning of a new era: a new “christianity” embracing new festivals and celebrations – such as Christmas, to celebrate His birth, and Easter, to commemorate His death. Nowhere in my Bible does it speak of any festival being instituted by Yahshua (nor by His Apostles, for that matter). Some go as far as to argue that Yahshua ‘did away’ with the law, claiming that He abolished the old Covenant (Testament) Scriptures with its laws and regulations, thus making the Feasts no longer relevant. But did He? Are the Feasts of the Bible irrelevant today?
One thing we do know is that Yahshua came to fulfil the law, not to do away with it (Matt 5:17). We read accounts in the Gospels where Yahshua went up to Jerusalem to “keep the Feasts”. Would He have done so, if He felt they were of no importance, and that it was only a matter of time before their abolition? The Feasts of the Torah are memorials. A memorial is something we remember year after year. Yahweh said His Feasts were to be observed as an “ordinance forever” (Ex. 12). Does that also mean today?
One very good reason to keep the Feasts of the Bible is that they belong to Yahweh and were given by Yahweh. The Feasts were divinely instituted right at the beginning of time and were appointed by Yahweh for many reasons:
Just as Yahweh gave the Sabbath day, the most ancient of all the Feasts, not only as a reminder of creation, but also as a time of rich fellowship and blessings – so the Feasts are appointed times in the year when we can come aside and enjoy Yahweh. Yahweh’s presence is always there. So if you have found keeping Sabbath a blessing then, if you are not already doing so, why not try keeping the Feasts of Yahweh?
Another good reason for keeping the Feasts is that they tell us so much about Yahshua, our Saviour. The Feasts are a good time for appreciating our salvation. Yahshua did not abolish the Feasts of Yahweh, but rather He heightened their importance and significance by what He did. We see some very important parallels between the Feasts and Yahshua, so that, in our day, the observing of Yahweh’s Feast days has an added dimension – something which is rich, meaningful and very beautiful.
Yahweh’s Feast days are also prophetic. That means they tell us something of the future: the last trumpet blast, the final ingathering of Yahweh’s people, the perpetual rest from sin and wrong. We also read that everyone will be expected both to observe Sabbaths and new moons (Isaiah 66:22 & 24) during Yahshua’s millennium reign on earth, and at least the Feast of Tabernacles. Those nations who do not do this will have to suffer the consequences for disobedience (Zech. 14:16-19). It sounds very much as though we will be keeping the Feasts in the New Jerusalem, so why not get some practice now?
We can find the dates for celebrating Christmas, Easter and Halloween on our calendars, but rarely do we find the dates of the Biblical Festivals. So how do we know when to celebrate them?
In the Bible, the word ‘month’ is derived from the word ‘moon’. Originally a month was from new moon to new moon. The book of Psalms tells us that Yahweh set the moon in the heavens to determine the seasons (Ps. 104:19). Genesis enlarges this to include days and years, showing that, from the position of the moon in the sky, we can calculate each new month and the days, weeks, seasons and years (Gen. 1:14). But the same moon, placed there right back in creation, Yahweh also declared His “moedim”.
Farmers in Palestine were able to calculate the times of Yahweh’s Feasts by the seasons, for they begin in the springtime and conclude in the autumn. The three major Feasts, - Unleavened Bread, Weeks and Tabernacles - occurred at the time of the major harvests. The barley and wheat harvest began around March/April and was finally gathered in around May/June. The vintage harvest took place around September/October. Yahweh told Moses that the month of Abib (which literally means ‘green ears’) was to be the beginning of months, the first month of the year (Ex. 12:2). Passover was to be celebrated on the 14th day of this month, or the time of the full moon – and was to last 7 days. 50 days after the weekly Sabbath of that same week was to be the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost). The day of the 7th new moon was to be the Day of Trumpets. 10 days later was the Day of Atonement, and on the day of the full moon, the 15th day of the 7th month, was the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles, which would last for 8 days (Lev.23).
The Feasts of the Bible are as relevant today as they have ever been. May you also find great joy and blessings in keeping them.