Whose feasts are they? If you think they are exclusively the feasts of the Jews, look again-what does the word say? “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations these are MY FEASTS. The children of Israel are the conduit, they are to proclaim the feasts of the LORD, but the feasts were conceived, initiated and sanctified by God Himself! He asked his people to celebrate and keep these feasts for a reason. When did he ever ask the people to stop keeping these feasts? Some will still say that they were given to Jews and not to Christians. However, we see in scripture that it is the nations, namely, gentiles, who are allowed to enter in, to live within Israel throughout the history of the Jewish nation. Those who wanted to know God, to live with Israel were called the “stranger among you”. Over time, one could learn the ways of the God of the Bible from the Jews, and enjoy greater and greater participation through being assimilated into the nation of Israel–and not the other way around. When the Lord, Jesus came, he proclaimed the good news that atonement and forgiveness can be made through faith, but he also taught and followed the Biblical laws and feasts. In his own words, he did not come to abolish any part of the law, make no mistake, the holidays are part of God’s laws, precepts and ordinances. Further, the arguement has been made that being grafted into Israel as Christians often quote and rarely understand. Most understand that accepting God’s son means that there is a profound change in our purpose and motivation for life. The question is how much of our lifestyle will we submit to Biblical teachings? Indeed, in the first few centuries of the faith, the believers in Jesus (Yeshua), often kept and attended these feasts. Some believe that the Apostle Paul and Christ Himself taught that these feasts were abolished at the cross when grace was initiated based on their interpretation of a few of Pau’s teachings and Jesus’ lack of sympathy for some of the teachings of the Pharisees. On the the other hand there are those that teach there is no biblical mandate for such creating a completely new faith running parallel to but not completely following the entire Bible. In fact, it has been proposed, and with no small merit, that it was the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. and with it the dispersion of the Messianic believers from Jerusalem that destroyed the link between the original practice of the faith in Jerusalem to a more westernized leadership in the church. History shows that when this dispersion took place, the Western church in Rome became the head of the movement and led the followers of the way, away from it’s Hebrew (Jewish) parentage into a more paganized, heirarchal faith later known as the Catholic Church.
All that to say, that first century believers who followed the Nazarene were Jewish, and as bold as they were about declaring their beliefs in the Messiah they never abandoned the Sabbaths, the holidays or the commandments. In fact, new converts were zealous for the law, according to James in Acts 20:21-24. Further, Paul attempts to convince those who have been lied to about him that does not teach the Jews among the Gentiles to forsake the commandments of Moses, circumcision, nor to walk according to the customs. This was a slander against Paul that still exists in the mind of most Christians today. Paul, himself went to some trouble to attempt to prove these accusations FALSE. My research indicates that far from abolishing the Jewish calendar, the church founders, in fact, followed the calendar and evidence can be produced they kept the seventh day sabbath, lived lives that allowed them to be a part of Temple and synogogue worship. For example, Peter kept the laws of clean and unclean eating so meticulously that when he had his famous dream in preparation for meeting Cornelius several decades after the establishment of the Jerusalem church he still had not eaten anything unclean. Why is that? If Jesus taught that all foods are clean, why was Peter still being ‘bound’ by the Levitical laws of clean and unclean foods? The clean/unclean discussion is not the purpose here, but only to make the point that the Apostles, the original fathers of the original congregations did not stop following the Jewish practices that are recorded in the Bible. Everywhere in the New Testament can be foundreferences to the holidays, the synogogues, even commentary on Toray and the commentary on them that the Rabbis taught in the first century.
So, we see that there is nothing anti-grace, anti-christian, or cultic in following, keeping and celebrating holidays that God instituted for His people. But what significance do these holidays have to believers today.
History’s Road map/God’s calendar:
It is commonly taught among Messianic Jews, that the feasts declare Messiah! They are rehearsals or commemorations of the comings of Messiah, to Christians, Jesus! What could be more wonderful than that? So it is not surprising to find them mentioned in the Apostolic writings of the New Testament.
The spring feasts celebrate and are all fulfilled by Jesus at His first coming and the fall feasts are yet to be fulfilled they demonstrate His second coming.
Since it is now fall, let us look at the celebrations in September:
Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana)
Day of Atonement/Judgment (Yom Kippur)
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
To all good Bible scholars, there should be some words that jump out at us, one trumpets, two judgement, these immediately evoke pictures of Revelation, of end times of the second coming. The order of events in Revelation, in Daniel and other prophetic books is clearly reflected, At the sound of the trump! The trumpet sound calls us to look up, our redemption is close at hand! It reminds us also that there is a time of accountability coming in which everyone will give an account of themselves. Finally the feast of tabernacles commemorates when God dwelt with his people on earth, he in hte tent of meeting and they in their temporary dwellings, and so we see that we are in our temporary dwellings dwelling with him now, but, in the future there will be a future Millenial reign of Messiah! He will dwell on earth. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people,God Himself will be with them and be their God.” This seems to be a great day, God is looking forward to as much as we are! When we do this are we not physically proclaiming His coming as we are commanded to do? When we hear the trumpet of Rosh Hashana, we look up for his coming and when we rehearse for His coming by celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, we show our belief that some day God will dwell with men.
Interesting Prophecy regarding the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles/Sukkot) in Zechariah 14. That all those nations who went up to war against Israel and survive the radical and powerful coming of Messiah, will be required to go up to Jerusalem for the feast of booths every year. This is further indication that the feasts will be restored, renewed, reinstituted at the coming of the Jewish Messiah! One wonders, what blessing attends those who are wise enough to see these feasts and festivals as what they are, who being grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, spiritually, keep and celebrate them in obedience to the word of God.
We are currently in the time of the Gentiles, but the time of the Gentiles is a temporary blip on the radar of God’s eternal calendar. God Himself will dwell with us on a renewed earth. How are we to understand Mt. Sinai and the giving of the law? These blessings, these are shadows of what is to come, these lead us to the father if we are wise enough to seek Him. Below is a lesson on the feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah by a Messianic Rabbi I hope you will be blessed!
Great Ideas for Rosh Hashanah