Many Christians insist that God is no longer holding us to keep His seventh-day Sabbath and the Biblical feasts. That's because they don't realize that He set specific times for everything, including the fact that we are to celebrate Him through these various feasts. The Seventh Day Sabbath and the Feasts are our regular "dates" with God, yet, many feel they have to do nothing more than to "believe in Jesus"....
Corporate worship is important to our Creator. This is evident throughout the Tanach ("Old Testament"), and specifically outlined in Leviticus 23 which describes the whole annual cycle of special convocations. YHWH (Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, or "Yahweh" - most likely pronounced, "Yahway") designed these appointed times, the mo'edim, for His people to come together to worship Him. "His people" includes anyone who has attached him/herself to Israel to worship the risen Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiyach (whom Christians call Jesus).
Let's examine these special convocations: There are seven feasts commanded by YHWH to be celebrated each year (and these pertain to ALL believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob):
||Redemption/Sacrifice/Death of Messiah
|2. Unleavened Bread
||Santification/Burial of Messiah/No decay
|3. Firstfruits/Grain Harvest
||Represents the Savior as first of the harvest
||Pentecost/Holy Spirit sent by YHWH
|5. Yom Teruah (Trumpets)/Rosh Hashana
||Believers' New Year/Messiah returns to Israel ("Rapture")
|6. Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur
||Day of Atonement/Messiah saves Israel
||Wedding Feast/Golden Age/Messiah starts Millennium
- Passover (Pesach): Passover (Nisan 14) falls in the March/April time frame on the Gregorian calendar. Leviticus 23:5 tells us: "'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for ADONAI." This feast celebrates the deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt; a tale of redemption through the killing of the Passover Lamb whose blood was to be applied to the doorposts of their houses - an act which would spare their firstborn from the Tenth Curse against Pharoah. YHWH promised that the Angel of Death would "pass over" those houses with the blood on the doorposts, and spare the first born (Exodus 12:1-13). Foreshadowed Yeshua, who fulfilled Passover when he was crucified and willingly allowed His own blood to be shed on our behalf in order to become our redemption.
- Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot): Celebrated on Nisan 15, it marks the beginning of a seven day period during which the eating of leavened Bread is forbidden as leaven is a symbol of sin (I Cor. 5:6-8). Messiah Yeshua fulfilled this Feast when he was buried and became our righteousness. (Exodus 12, Deuteronomy 16:1-8, Leviticus 23:4-8, Numbers 28:16-25, Romans 6:4, II Cor. 5:21)
- Firstfruits (Yom HaBikkurim): Fulfilled when Yeshua, the Firstruits of Creation, rose from the dead to be presented to YHWH as the first of the harvest (I Corinthians 15:20-23). FirstFruits is celebrated on Nisan 16 (Leviticus 23:11), and falls during the March/April timeframe. This Feast celebrates the bringing of the firstfruits of the winter harvest to the Temple - indicating there would be more to come. Please note, the first three Feasts were fulfilled through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Yeshua haMashiyach! Though Yeshua did not rise on Firstfruits, He is still our firstfruits, because Firstfruits don't "rise" - they are "presented" - and Yeshua was presented after 3 days/3 nights. (See Leviticus 23:9-14, Numbers 28:26-31, and 1 Corinthians 15:20.)
- Feast of Weeks (Shavuot): Known by Christians as "Pentecost" the Feast of Weeks/Shavuot is celebrated during the May/June timeframe. Exodus 34:22 tells us: "Observe the festival of Shavuot with the first-gathered produce of the wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year...." Torah directs the seven-week Counting of the Omer (which begins on the second day of Passover and culminates after seven weeks, the next day being Shavuot). The counting of the days and weeks conveys anticipation of and desire for the Giving of the Torah. In other words, at Passover, the Israelites were freed from their lives of slavery in Egypt; and 50 days later on Shavuot they accepted YHWH's Torah which made them a nation committed to serving God. This Feast was fulfilled by the coming of the promised Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on the disciples of Yeshua in the Temple. It represents the beginning of the body of Messiah on Earth, in which ALL believers, redeemed through the blood of Messiah, are lifted up before ADONAI and set apart as holy (Acts 2, John 14:15-18, Ephesians 2:11-22).
- Yom Teruah (Trumpets)/Rosh Hashana: New Year; it is the Jewish Civil New Year; the creation of the world, according to tradition; the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve and their first actions toward the realization of man's role in the world; of the first sin that was committed and resulting repentance; a day when YHWH takes stock of all of His Creation, which includes all of humanity. It's a rehearsal for the day when the bridegroom will come to claim us, his bride, who are betrothed to Him. This Feast on Tishri 1 falls in the September/October timeframe. Leviticus 23:23-25 says: ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI.'"
According to tradition, during this time YHWH's people are to concentrate all their efforts into making amends with their brethren and apologizing for past offenses. However, what most traditional Jews do not yet realize is that this Feast is the next one to be fulfilled by Yeshua, because when the trumpets will sound and the true believers in Messiah Yeshua will be gathered/resurrected (I Thess. 4:13-18, I Cor. 15:50-54).
- Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur): Celebrated ten days later; represents the need for the sacrifice/sin offering that must be made for the sins of the nation. Yeshua WAS that Sacrifice and He will be recognized for it at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which will take place immediately after Rosh Hashana/the "rapture" just BEFORE we all return with Him to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, wherein Yeshua will "tabernacle" among us for the next thousand years! Celebrated on Tishri 10, this Feast falls in the September/October timeframe. Leviticus 16:29 tells us: "It is to be a permanent regulation for you that on the tenth day of the seventh month you are to deny yourselves and not to do any kind of work, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you. For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before ADONAI from all your sins. It is a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you are to deny yourselves. This is a permanent regulation."
- Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot): The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) as seen in Leviticus 23: 33-37, is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur. Sukkot is a week-long holiday that reminds us of the hardships of Israel's 40 years in the wilderness and provides us with insight into the correct birth date of our awesome Messiah. Yeshua, our Savior was born during the Feast of Sukkot (not on the 25th of December, which is a Christian myth!) and He was circumcised on the eighth day. Because there was no room at the inn because of the census (Luke 2:7), Miriam and Yosef (Mary and Josef) ended up in a "sukkah" - a temporary dwelling. Bethlehem is only about 5 miles from Jerusalem and so Y'shua was born there because there was no room at the inn. The name Bethlehem means "House Of Bread". And as we all know, Y'shua is the Bread of Life" (see John 6:43-51).
Leviticus 23: 33 ADONAI said to Moshe, 34 "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to ADONAI. 35 On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work. 36 For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI ; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work. 37 "'These are the designated times of ADONAI that you are to proclaim as holy convocations and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI -a burnt offering, a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, each on its own day - 38 besides the Shabbats of ADONAI, your gifts, all your vows and all your voluntary offerings that you give to ADONAI.
In Deuteronomy 16:13 - 15, YHWH tells the Israelites: "You are to keep the festival of Sukkot for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing-floor and winepress. Rejoice at your festival - you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L'vi'im (Levites), and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you. Seven days you are to keep the festival for ADONAI your God in the place ADONAI your God will choose, because ADONAI your God will bless you in all your crops and in all your work, so you are to be full of joy!
PLEASE NOTE that the first three major events for believers in Yeshua - His death, burial and resurrection - exactly represent the first three feasts, and the symbolism of the feasts appears to be beyond coincidence:
- While Passover was being celebrated - which included the slaying of an unblemished Lamb - Yeshua was being slain on the cross (1 Cor 5:7).
- The feast that followed, Unleavened Bread, is a picture of sanctification, as Yeshua was buried. Leaven is representative of sin, of which Yeshua had none.
- And then the feast of Firstfruits, which is a presentation of the "firstfruits of the crop" following the feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:10-11). Yeshua, "presented" on our behalf, is our Firstfruits. See 1 Cor 15:20-23 "But now the Mashiyach has risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. And as by a man came death, so also by a man came the resurrection of the dead. For as it was by Adam that all men die, so also by the Mashiyach they all live: Everyone in his order; the Mashiyach was the first-fruits; afterwards, they that are the Mashiyach’s, at his coming."
- Even more interesting, the next big event for believers was the coming of the Holy Spirit. And it fell EXACTLY on the next feast 50 days later, upon completion of the counting of the Omer (Leviticus 23:15-16), on Shavuot (what Christians call Pentecost). On that day the Ruach haKodesh decended on the believers, see Acts 2:1. The symbolism is again obvious as two loaves of bread are offered - another "firstfruits" (Leviticus 23:17) - which become "holy" (Leviticus 23:20) and we become eligible to receive the Ruach haKodesh when we repent, see Acts 2:38.
Since Yeshua has fulfilled the first four Biblical feasts, we can probably assume that the next big event - the so-called "Rapture" - could fall on the next scheduled feast day, Rosh Hashanah ("Jewish Civil New Year"/Feast of Trumpets), when YHWH calls his people together. Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the month of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew religious calendar as ordained in the Torah, in Leviticus 23:24. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), or Asseret Yemei Teshuva (The Ten Days of Repentance) which are days specifically set aside to focus on repentance that conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement - when we become "at-one" with YHWH).
Rosh Hashanah is the start of the civil year in the Hebrew calendar which was instituted by YHWH Himself in Exodus 12:2. Rosh Hashanah is observed as a day of rest (Leviticus 23:24) and is characterized by the blowing of the shofar, a trumpet made from a ram's horn, intended to awaken the listener from his or her "slumber" and alert them to the coming judgment.
The Final Feast to be fulfilled is Sukkot/Tabernacles, when Yeshua will once again come to "tabernacle" among His people!
There is, of course, much more to YHWH's feasts, but the bottom line is: Judging from the importance that HE placed on His Biblical feasts, why would anyone think "Jesus abolished them"?