Feasts / Festivals of God
The Feasts (annual holy days) where not only commanded to be kept prior to Christ, they were also kept by Christ, and his apostles. If you look closely, you will find that the Church continued to observe these annual holy days after Christ's resurrection.
There are six ordained Biblical Holy Days called Memorials or Festivals of God recorded in the Scriptures. Within these there are seven High Sabbaths or "Holy Convocations" which are in addition to the weekly Sabbath which is also a Holy Convocation. On these Sabbaths work is restricted.
The first day of God's Year is based on the Biblical system of observing the new moon in Palestine on or after the spring equinox, but not before.
Leviticus 23:1-2 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts." [Read all of Leviticus 23]
Deuteronomy 16:16 "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:" [Note that all males must appear before the LORD in the place which he shall choose, where he has placed his name, with an offering during three of these]
Passover / Unleavened
The observance of Passover was a memorial feast to commemorate the freeing of God's people from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. This annual observance is celebrated the first month of Abib on the 14th day according to Gods calendar.
Passover also marks the beginning of the seven days of unleavened bread. During unleavened the first fruits of that years grain harvest could not be eaten until wave sheaf offering was brought to the priest, who in turn waved it before God.
The feast should be a constant reminder to us of the need to remove sin from
our lives, just as we remove leavening from our homes beginning on the
fourteenth of Abib for seven days. The first day and last day are a holy assembly
Exodus 12:11-20 "it is the Lords Passover This day will be a memorial, and you will keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You will keep it a feast by law forever. Seven days you will eat unleavened bread, on the first day you will remove all leaven out of your homes [Passover day], for who ever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. And on the first day there will be a holy assembly, and on the seventh day there will be a holy assembly, no type of work can be done on them, except that the meals must be cooked to eat, and that only may be done. You will observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on this day did I bring you out of the land of Egypt. You will observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dark, You will eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at dark [Seven days counting Passover]. Seven days there can be no leaven found in your homes, for whoever eats that which has leavening, that person shall be removed from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger, or born in the land. You will eat nothing leavened in all your land but you will eat unleavened bread."
Exodus 12:25-27 "And when it comes to pass that your children ask you what this service means, you will say, it is the sacrifice of the Lords Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, that he smote the Egyptians, and protected our homes."
Exodus 12:42-49 "It is a night of watching to be much observed to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is the night of the Lord to be kept by all the descendants [as Christians we become spiritually adopted] of Israel in their generations. ..."
Exodus 13:3 "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten."
Exodus 13:6-7 "Seven days you will eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day you will have a feast before the Lord your God, you will eat unleavened bread seven days. No leavened bread can be seen with you, or can leavening [A lump of leavened dough was kept for leavening] be found in all your homes."
Exodus 23:15 "You will keep the feast of unleavened bread and none can appear without an offering."
Exodus 34:18 "You will keep the feast of unleavened bread, seven days you will eat unleavened bread,"
Leviticus 23:4-8 "These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein."
Numbers 9:1-14 "... keep the Passover at its appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month at dark you will keep in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, you will keep it... And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land."
Numbers 28:16-18 "And on the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover to the Lord. The fifteenth day of this month is the feast, seven days will unleavened bread be eaten. On the first day you will have a holy assembly, you can do no manner of servile work on this day."
Deuteronomy 16:1-7 "You will therefore sacrifice the Passover to the Lord ... in the place the Lord chooses to place his name. Observe in the month of Abib the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib God brought you out of Egypt by might. You will therefore sacrifice the Passover to the Lord from the flock and from the herd in the place the Lord chooses to place his name."
Deuteronomy 16:16-17 "Three times during the year must all the males appear before the Lord at the place that he shall choose. At the feast of unleavened bread, and at the feast of weeks, and at the feast of tabernacles, and they can not appear without an offering, every man will give according to the blessings he has received from the Lord."
Ezekiel 45:21 "In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days [Passover lasts seven days, unleavened was considered part of Passover]; unleavened bread shall be eaten."
Second Passover Observance
The Passover observance is so important to God that He has a second date for its
observance for those that could not make it for the first date.
Numbers 9:6-14 "And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day: And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel? And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD. The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it... And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land."
2 Chronicles 30:1-3 "And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem."
New Testament Observance
Matthew26:17-29 "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, where will you have us prepare for the eating of the Passover. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed and prepared the Passover."
Mark 14:12-24 "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said to him, Where will you have us go and prepare the Passover to eat?..."
Luke 22:8-16 "And he [Jesus] sent Peter and John, saying, go and prepare us the Passover that we may eat. I shall eat the Passover with my disciples. And he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God" [notice here that Christ will be keeping the feast when the kingdom of God comes to earth].
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 "For Christ is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Institution of the Passover Service / Lord's Supper
Jesus asked his disciples to remember that he had to pour out his blood unto
death in order to bring the New Covenant into effect. So the killing of the
Passover lamb is no longer required, Jesus our christ replaces that part of Passover.
Keep in mind that this is to be a FEAST for seven days, so it appears that unleavened bread, wine, bitter herbs, and possibly lamb
could make up the meal.
Matthew 26:26-28 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Luke 22:14-20 "And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
1 Corinthians 11:24-30 "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
Mark 14:22-24 "And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."
To feast on Christ is to do so spiritually through faith in him and through the Holy Spirit’s work in us.
As Christ says,
John 6:56 “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him”
Feast of Weeks
In determining the date of this festival, unlike the other feast dates that
have a set date in the year, you count seven Sabbaths plus one day from the day
after the weekly Sabbath that occurs during Unleavened Bread. The count
will always begin within the date range 14th - 20th of the first month.
Exodus 34:22 "And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end"
Leviticus 23:10-21 "... And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days;... And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."
Numbers 28:26 "Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the Lord, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work:"
Deuteronomy 16:9-11 "Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the grain. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to place his name there."
New Testament observance
Acts 2:1 "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."
Acts: 20:16 "For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost."
1 Corinthians: 16:8 "But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost."
This day is a Sabbath day, with the blowing of trumpets to signify the event.
Leviticus 23:24-25 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein:"
Numbers 29:1 "And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you."
Psalms 81:3-5 "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not."
This is a Sabbath day of fasting, no food or water.
Leviticus16:29-34 "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you... It shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever... And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses."
Leviticus 23:27-32 "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls,...And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath."
Numbers 29:7 "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein:"
New Testament Observance
Acts 27:9 "Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast [atonement] was now already past, Paul admonished them,"
This festival brought the whole country together in one location before God, in which they were commanded to stay in temporary shelters made from plants. The first and last days are observed as Sabbath days.
There are those that
have decided to separate the last day into it's own special day, it is not! It
is part of the Tabernacles observance. The first seven days they were
commanded to rejoice "therefore
thou shalt surely rejoice" in feasting, but on the last day (eighth
day) the rejoicing and feasting was to come to an end in a solemn assembly.
Leviticus 23:34-43 " The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein... on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; ... it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations,... on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."
Numbers 29:12-35 "And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days:... On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein:"
Deuteronomy 16:13-17 "Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, ... And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee."
Deuteronomy 31:10-11 " At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing."
Nehemiah 8:14-18 "And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner."
New Testament observance
John 7:14-2 "Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught."
Acts:18:21 "But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus."
The verses below makes it clear about keeping at least three of the Lords
festivals, Passover, Feast of Harvest, and Tabernacles only in Jerusalem. The
reasoning for this is most likely due to the fact that the Lord takes pleasure
in watching his creation being happy / joyous. Thus they were to come together
in one place in a festive atmosphere of eating, singing, and dance.
"Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt."
Deuteronomy 16:16 "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:"
Notice also what the Catholic John Chrysostom wrote in 387 A.D.
"In speaking about this feast of the Passover, the Law says to them something such as this: "You will not be able to keep the Passover in any of the cities which the Lord your God gives to you." The Law bids them keep the feast on the fourteenth day of the first month and in the city of Jerusalem. The Law also narrowed down the time and place for the observance of Pentecost, when it commanded them to celebrate the feast after seven weeks, and again, when it stated: "In the place which the Lord your God chooses." So also the Law fixed the feast of Tabernacles. (4) Now let us see which of the two, time or place, is more necessary, even though neither the one nor the other has the power to save. Must we scorn the place but observe the time? Or should we scorn the time and keep the place? What I mean is something such as this. The Law commanded that the Passover be held in the first month and in Jerusalem, at a prescribed time and in a prescribed place...But the Passover comes to an end on the twenty-first of that month. If they began the feast on the fourteenth day of the first month and then continued it for seven days, they then come to the twenty-first ...the Law said they must not observe those rituals outside Jerusalem" (John Chrysostom. Homily IV Against the Jews IV:3-4,V:4,5. Catholic Christians of Antioch. Turning to Sabbath and The New Moon Day and Other Holy Days. 387 A.D.).
Scripture even states in Zechariah 14:16-18 and Nahum 1:15, that the feasts will again be observed. The question is if they where kept prior to, during, and will again be kept after his return, should we be keeping them now and how?
Though they could travel beyond their own borders, they where instructed to live within their borders (Israel), making it possible to hold the Holy Days in Jerusalem.
The annual feasts (Holy Days) were not part of the law of Moses, but were observed before the ritualistic ordinances contained in the law of Moses was given.
Yes it is true that Christ did away with the sacrifices, but he did not do away with the Sabbaths, they still remain. It is clear that sacrifices were also offered on the weekly Sabbath, but this does not do away with the weekly Sabbath, in fact, sacrifices were offered on every day of the year (Numbers. 28:3).
So the answer to the question, "have the annual feasts ( Holy Days or Sabbaths) been done away with at Christ's death?" No!
For more on where the Lord has placed his name Place where the Eternal has Placed His Name
The Church of God Proclaimed