Whenever it gets close to one of the Biblical Feast Days (sometimes called the Holy Days), I am often times questioned as to why I celebrate them. Many questions start off like, “I was just wondering why you still keep the Jewish Holy Days” or “Why do you think those days are special still?” Most people think I’m just some Judaizer or that I don’t believe in Jesus, when in reality there are a few logical reasons why I still keep God’s Holy Days.
1) They Aren’t the “Jewish Feasts”
Many people would be surprised that these feasts are not Jewish. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we see them being exclusively for the Jews. Rather, they are God’s feasts.
So you don’t have to be a Jew to celebrate these days. The only times we see them being labeled as Jewish, such as in John 2:13, are because at this time the only people in the world keeping them were Jews. These feasts were originally given to all 12 tribes of Israel – Judah (Jews) being one of those tribes – but all but Judah were dispersed and lost as a people in the two exiles of Israel in 722 BC to Assyria and 586 BC to Babylon. The only tribe to (barely) survive these two exiles was Judah; thus, during the first century, Jews were all that were left. Today, the Jews are still in the majority of celebrating the feasts, though millions of Christians are coming to the realization that these days are still parts of our Christian faith; after all, Christians are Israel as outlined in the Scriptures. But just because a majority does something, that doesn’t mean that the act is exclusively for them. For example, video games today are primarily played by teenagers, but there exist other age groups of people who play them. Does the fact that teenagers are the majority when it comes to playing video games mean that video games are not made for people of all ages? Of course not. Majority does not mean exclusivity.
2) Jesus Kept the Feasts
Many times today we forget one important thing about Jesus: he was a Torah-observant Jew. Jesus, his Hebrew name being Yeshua, which means “salvation”, was completely Torah-observant. This means that he lived and taught the Torah, which included these feasts. Jesus was our blameless lamb who came and died for our sins, but he also did something we don’t think about quite often; he lived his life as the perfect example of what God wants us to be like. God gave Jesus the same standard of living as he gives us. That means that the same rules that applied to Jesus apply to us; otherwise, how can we say that we live like Jesus without holding to the same exact standard of living which was laid out before him? We literally cannot say that we are living like Jesus if we fail to recognize that his standard of living is the same exact standard as our own.
It is interesting to note that the word Christian literally means, in the original Koine Greek language which it was coined, “Follower of Christ.” We followers of Christ, as John plainly puts it, ought to live exactly like him. When we walk in the room, our lifestyles should mirror his in every way, shape, and form, and this includes keeping the feasts. Otherwise, we really can’t consider ourselves a “Follower of Christ.”
3) The Feasts Are All About Jesus
Jesus is spoken of numerous times in the Old Testament. So much so that there were around 350 of these Old Testament passages quoted in the New Testament and applied to Jesus. It’s no surprise that even God’s feasts were prophetic.
There are seven Biblical Feast Days and they all originally symbolized a great act of God on behalf of Israel:
Passover – the sparing of the firstborn of Israel before the Exodus.
Unleavened Bread – the Exodus from Egypt and away from Pharaoh’s army.
First fruits – the celebration of the release from bondage in Egypt.
Pentecost – the giving of the Law from Mount Sinai.
Trumpets – the announcement of the ending judgement from God on the earth.
Day of Atonement – the day which God makes atonement for the sins of his people.
Tabernacles – the celebration of God sustaining Israel in the wilderness following the Exodus.
But these seven Biblical Feast Days also symbolize something even greater: the fulfilling life of Jesus.
Passover – Christ dying as the blameless lamb for his people.
Unleavened Bread – Christ ridding himself of the leven (sin) which he bore for humanity.
First Fruits – Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
Pentecost – the giving of the Holy Spirit which helps us to live by God’s law.
Trumpets – the return of Christ.
Day of Atonement – the final day which Christ will completely atone for the sins of the world.
Tabernacles – 1) Jesus was born during this feast as he “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14); 2) the time when Jesus will forever dwell in our presence in the Kingdom of Heaven.
It seems pretty clear that these days are still relevant to believers today. What God required long ago he continues to require, and the feasts are no exception. These days are filled with wonderful fellowship, spiritual insights, and if you haven’t guessed it by now, FEASTING! I personally invite you to see God for a little more of who he is by examining these days and maybe even participating as Christ would have us do.
So maybe you’ve never heard about the biblical Feast Days, and maybe you’re now a little more curious about them after reading this article. If so, that’s wonderful! If you would like to talk with me directly about the feast days, or any other matter, click here to be redirected to my Contact Me page. I would love to discuss further with you these awesome days.