Everlasting Kingdom: Unraveling the Bible’s Secrets

Festivals and Feasts—There is a Difference!

“Three Times a Year!”

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Back Next Chapter 5, Part 2 Preview: Anciently, it was crucial to attend Elohim’s (God’s) “Feasts”: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Are they relevant today? Should these three Feasts still be “Pilgrimage Feasts”. Does Elohim expect us to celebrate these appointments? Should we celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the same solemnity as we do the Feast of Tabernacles—from beginning to end? What about the days from Leviticus 23 other than these three “Pilgrimage Feasts”? Is there a the distinction between a “Festival” and a “Feast”? What is required to celebrate a Feast? Even tho the issues in this chapter are a bit technical due to translational considerations, there will still be a test at “the end”.

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What about the Kadishea (Saints)

Some may say: “This was all well and good for ancient Israel, but what about today? Are today’s kadishea even supposed to celebrate the Feasts?”

A close look into the Testimony of Yeshua (“New Testament”), especially Paul’s writings, reveals that quite a number of things that pertained to the Levitical priesthood were suspended for the kadishea. The “washing”, ze’bakim (sacrifices), and even some of the “statutes and judgments” are all suspended, as was tithing to the priesthood once the Temple was destroyed and the Levitical priesthood was dissolved. (Interestingly, all of these things will be resumed when the latter temple’s Levitical priesthood is resumed—Ezekiel Chapters 40-48.)

What about the Moed and Chag? As far as the Moed are concerned, the answer is uncomplicated. Since the Ten Commandments encompass every age of man, which includes “keeping” the seventh day Sabbath (a Moed), we can readily see one Moed still in force. Now as for the seven annual Moedim, remember that they are found as far back as creation week (Genesis 1:14). Next, we find that in Leviticus 23 that Elohim declared that these Moedim are “His”, not man’s, and He listed all of the seven annual Moedim along with the weekly Moed, thus connecting the weekly to the annual. In addition to this, we find that all of these Moedim, including the three “Feasts” that were presented to ancient Israel, were all celebrated by Yeshua. Furthermore, as if that were not enough, we also find that these same Moedim (Feasts and Festivals) were also celebrated by the envoys (apostles) and the first century Assembly. Finally, we discover that these Moedim will be celebrated after the return of Elohim and “His Messiah” in the Kingdom of Elohim (God), and that even non-Israelites, the so-called “gentiles” are to celebrate the Moedim (Zechariah 14) and note that if they will be celebrating the entire Feast of Tabernacles, then they will also be celebrating the entire Feast. More about this later but note that Moed and Chag were still in force in the early Assembly. For example, Paul said that we should celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:8). (Note: Greek does not have distinct words differentiating Feast Days from Festival Days, as does Hebrew and English.)

John 19:31 Because it was the Preparation Day, the Jews said, “These bodies must not remain all night on crosses, because the Sabbath was approaching and that particular Sabbath was a ‘special[megas] Day.” So they asked Pilate if they could break the legs of those crucified and take them down.

So, what possible reason or excuse can there be for the kadishea, presumably followers or imitators of Yeshua, for not still celebrating those things that Yeshua celebrated while human and that He and His Elohim will require the world to celebrate in the future?

The early Assembly celebrated the Feasts and Festivals in local areas such as Phillipi—not even close to Jerusalem.

Acts 20:5-6 They went ahead of us, and waited for us at Troas. 6 We sailed from the Macedonian city of Philippi during the Days of Unleavened Bread and sailed to Troas in five days, where we remained for seven days.

Acts 18:18-21 After staying there for quite a while longer, Paul said goodbye to the Friends and set sail for Syria. Priscilla and Aquilla went with him, after he shaved his head in Cenchrea, because of a vow. 19 They arrived in Ephesus, and Paul went into the synagogue and conversed [dialegomai] with the Jews. 20 They asked him to stay with them, but he couldn’t be persuaded. 21 He told them, “It is an absolute necessity that I celebrate this coming feast in Jerusalem. If it pleases YHVH [Yehovah], I’ll visit you again. Then he left Priscilla and Aquilla and set sail to Ephesus.

A Feast location should be a place where the cares of this life do not interfere with the spiritual nature of the Feast. The kadishea should make every effort to meet together to worship Elohim:

Hebrews 10:24-25 Let’s consider ways to motivate each other to show love and to do good works, 25 not forsaking our assembling in synagogues [Gr. epi-sunagoge] together, as some habitually [Gr. ethos] do, but encourage each other increasingly more as you see the Day of YHVH approaching. [1]

[1] As Paul mentioned in his opening statements (Chapter 1:2), he believed that he was living in the “last days”. This influenced some of the things he said, particularly since he thought that the New Covenant with Israel was about to be implemented (Hebrews 9, and 10:16-18 above). Only a tiny minority are converted now, so until the Kingdom arrives we must still announce the Good News and be His witnesses, until Hebrews 8:8-10, especially 10, is really fulfilled.

A few people in Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s time were zealous to obey Elohim. Unfortunately, this was a rare exception to the rule.

Unleavened Bread

2 Chronicles 30:21-23, 25-26 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised Yehovah day after day, accompanied by Yehovah’s loud instruments. 22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good understanding in the service of Yehovah. So they feasted for seven days, offering peace ze’bakim, and giving thanks to Yehovah, the Elohim of their ancestors. 23 The entire assembly then agreed to celebrate for another seven days, so they joyfully celebrated for another seven days. ... 25 The entire assembly of Judah celebrated, including the priests and the Levites, both those who came from the land of Israel and those who lived in Judah. 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, because there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.

Do you think for a minute that these people only celebrated the two commanded assemblies during the first seven days? More to the point, wouldn’t the fact that they decided “to keep the feast another seven days” indicate that they indeed had already celebrated the Feast for seven full days, rather than just two days?

2 Chronicles 35:17-18 The Israelites who were present celebrated the Passover at that time as well as the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 No Passover had been celebrated like this in Israel since the time of the prophet Samuel. None of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated a Passover like Josiah did and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, with the people of Jerusalem.

Are Unleavened Bread and Pentecost Less Important?

Are the Three Pilgrimage Feasts of equal value? If so, then why do so many people, when they consider celebrating these Feast Days, only concern themselves with the Feast of Tabernacles, essentially keeping just one Solemn Assembly? Yeshua’s example:

Luke 2:40-42 The Child grew up and became strong in spirit. He was filled with wisdom and YHVH’s favor was on Him. 41 His relatives went up to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When He was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast as prescribed by the Torah.

Here is one example of the early Assembly celebrating a Feast:

Acts 2:1 When the days leading up to Pentecost [Ar. Pen-ikaos-ia] were fully counted, while they were all assembled together,

The Bible illustrates that Unleavened Bread and Pentecost were still Pilgrimage Feasts, as was the Feast of Tabernacles.

John 1:1-2, 10-11, 37 In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word Herself was with Aloha, and Aloha was the Word Herself. 2 He was with Aloha in the beginning.... 10 He was in the world, and the world came into existence thru Him, but the world didn’t recognize Him. 11 He came to His own people and His own people didn’t accept Him. ... 37 Two of His disciples heard him when he said it, so they followed Yeshua.

Three Pilgrimage Feasts Stand or Fall Together

Thousands of people in the mid twentieth century celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for a full seven days, as a Pilgrimage Feast. In recent decades, as happened in ancient Israel, most have compromised Elohim’s teachings. There will be a price to pay for this compromise.

Matthew 5:19 Anyone who breaks one of the smallest prescribed rules and teaches it as doctrine to others will be called small in the Kingdom of the Heavens, but anyone who carries out and teaches them, will be called great in the Kingdom of the Heavens.

For decades, many have been told that it was important to be present for all seven of the days of the Feast of Tabernacles, but not celebrating the “middle days” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was expected. It was not even thought to be possible to celebrate these days because “the church” had determined that there was no need to continue making provisions for anyone to make such a pilgrimage. Any effort to celebrate the middle days with others would likely have been considered insubordination. It is more than paradoxical that a church would mandate attendance during the entire time at one of Elohim’s Feasts, but not even have a Feast to attend at another, except for the two Feast Days. Yet, there is absolutely no Biblical difference between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in regard to their status as Pilgrimage Feasts. The only requirement unique to Tabernacles is accommodations—dwelling in “booths”. A few actually pitch a tent, others just make certain that it is temporary housing—a place they don’t own. This requirement had nothing to do with “whether or not” people attend all seven days of the Feast, but only pertains to the accomodations. The Feast of Unleavened Bread has one requirement that is unique to it as well, and that is that we eat unleavened bread each day for all seven days of the Feast. This, too, only addresses one aspect of the “manner” that we celebrate the Feast.

Some people ask why Elohim would put such a burden on His people. Didn’t Yeshua say that His burdens were light? Yeshua said that whoever would seek to save their life would lose it. Those who dedicate their lives to serving Elohim will save their lives. How do we enter the Kingdom? Thru the blood of Yeshua, putting sin out of our lives, obeying Elohim, and receiving His spirit. Let’s not forget what our predecessors endured to obey Elohim:

Hebrews 11:35-38 Women received their children by a resurrection from the dead. Others were put to death during torture, not even hoping to be rescued, so that they could secure a better resurrection. 36 Others endured being mocked and whipped, while others were chained and imprisoned. 37 Some were stoned, others were sawn in half, others were killed by the edge of swords, others roamed around clothed in sheep and goat skins. They were poor, oppressed and mistreated. 38 The world was not worthy of them, yet they wandered in deserts and mountains, or hid in caves and fissures in the earth.

What Does the Future Hold?

Soon enough, just before Yehovah (God) returns all twelve of His tribes of Israel to His land, He will be forced to stop the Feasts and Festivals of many, because they are being dedicated to false religion! Those who survive will be “called” to live on in the flesh into the Kingdom as the restored Bride of Yeshua (Jesus)! (While those who served in spirit and truth will be instantaneously born into the spirit realm!)

Hosea 2:11, 13-16 I’ll put an end to HER celebrations, HER Pilgrimage Feasts [Chag], HER new moons, HER Sabbaths, and all HER appointed Festivals [Moedim]. ... 13 I’ll come and punish her for the times when she burned incense to the Baals, when she adorned herself with her rings and jewelry, and chased her lovers, and forgot Me, says Yehovah. 14 But I’m going to allure her back. I’ll bring her into the wilderness [Ezekiel 20:35], and speak tenderly to her there. 15 I’ll give her back her vineyards beginning there, and the valley of Achor [trouble] as a doorway of hope. She’ll respond there, as in the days of her youth, just like when she came out of the land of Egypt. 16 Yehovah says: When that day comes, you’ll call Me Husband [Ishi] and you’ll never again call Me ‘Lord’ [Baali]. —The Gabriel Bible

The Day of Yehovah [the “Lord”] is approaching. Who will Yehovah spare? The following Scriptures provide some insight into His insistence that everyone on earth will ultimately be properly celebrating His Feasts. When Yeshua and His Yehovah come back to earth, they will be quite angry with the people who have opposed their ways. Would you want to be lukewarm toward Their Festivals and Feasts when They return?

Isaiah 34:4-6, 8 The entire array of ‘stars’ will disappear. The sky will roll down like a scroll, and all of its ‘stars’ will fall, like leaves falling from a grapevine or a figs from a tree [1]. 5 My sword was drenched with blood in the sky. Now it will descend on Edom, the nation I have marked for destruction. 6 Yehovah’s sword is drenched with blood. It’s covered with fat, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with fat from the kidneys of rams. Yehovah ‘will receive’ a zebak in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. ... 8 Because Yehovah has a Time of Vengeance, a Year of Payback settling the dispute over Zion.

[1] I believe that top heavy New Jerusalem will shift north and become the new north pole, allowing for a stable rotation. Were this to happen slowly the stars would appear to be rolling south. As the motion accelerates they would seemingly disappear; just as stars disappear from the image of a moving camera.

There are scores of Scriptures that describe the coming captivity of the modern nations descended from ancient Israel:

Isaiah 26:19-21 Your dead will live. Their bodies will rise. Those who lie in the dust will wake up and sing for joy. Your dew reflects a delightful light, and the earth will push out her dead. 20 Come, My people, enter your safe chambers [1] and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves briefly until ‘His’ fury has ended. 21 Yehovah is coming out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their wickedness. The earth will reveal her bloodshed and will no longer cover her slain.

Nahum 1:1-2, 6-7, 12-15 A revelation [not oracle] about Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 Yehovah is a jealous and avenging Elohim. Yehovah is avenging and wrathful. Yehovah takes vengeance on His enemies, reserving wrath for His enemies. ... 6 Who can withstand His indignation? Who can endure His fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, even rocks are shattered because of Him. 7 Yehovah is good, a stronghold in times of trouble. He knows those who take refuge in Him. ... 12 This is what Yehovah says: “Tho they are at full strength, and numerous, they’ll still be destroyed and disappear. Altho I’ve punished you, I’ll punish you no more. 13 Now I’ll break ‘Nineveh’s’ yoke off of you, and tear off your shackles.” 14 Yehovah has given an order about you: “No more descendants will carry on your name. I’ll destroy the engraved and cast images from the temples of your gods, and I’ll ‘dig’ your grave, because you are worthless.” 15 Look, there on the mountains, the feet of the One [Yeshua (Jesus)] who brings Good News, who publishes peace! Celebrate your Feasts, Judah; fulfill your vows, because the wicked will never invade you again; they’ll be completely destroyed.

Zechariah 14:16, 18-19 Then everyone who is left behind [survives] from all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yehovah the Commander, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. ... 18 If the people of Egypt don’t show up, they won’t get any rain. This is the plague that Yehovah will strike the nations with that don’t go up and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of any other nation that doesn’t go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

Why do you suppose that Yehovah mentioned the Feast of Tabernacles in the context of punishing the nations of the world three times in one single chapter? Why doesn’t it mention the other Feasts in connection with them? There is a reason for this. Yehovah will be working primarily with Israel during the Tribulation. The nations of Israel will be the victims of the Tribulation/Holocaust. “The nations that came against Jerusalem” will have been responsible for plundering and enslaving Israel. Israel will learn to revere Yehovah as a result of the Tribulation on Israel. Following this, the non Israelite people will begin to learn to revere Yehovah during “The Great and Awesome Day of Yehovah”— if they survive it.

Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the time of Tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon won’t shed her light and shooting stars will fall from the sky, and the inherent power of the skies will be shaken.

The symbolic meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles, as it pertains to the nations, will be revealed to them in the very presence of our Yehovah in Jerusalem at this time.

The Moed, (weekly and annual Days) remain as mandatory convocations (gatherings) of Yehovah’s people, and so do Yehovah’s three appointed times (Chag) a year. Because it was mandatory that “all your males will appear” during the three times (Chag) a year, it insured that almost every family in Israel was represented. A woman’s attendance, if at all possible, is extremely essential as well. In ancient Israel, people were concerned with physical harvests of various crops. Ancient Israel was to be blessed for obedience. Today we look at the Feasts and the Festivals and consider the spiritual applications of what the designated Chag and Moed represent in Yehovah’s Plan. We are nearing the time when the promise, resulting from Abraham’s faithfulness, will finally be fulfilled:

Genesis 26:4-5 I’ll multiply your descendants like the stars in the heavens, and give your descendants all these lands. All the nations on earth will be blessed by your descendants. 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice, and obeyed My requirements, My Commandments, and My statutes, and My Torah instructions.

Hebrews 4:4 & 9 As he said about the Sabbath, “Aloha [God] rested on the seventh day from all His works.” ... 9 So it is established that the people of YHVH [Yehovah] are to celebrate the Sabbath. [2]

[2] The Aramaic says “celebravit diem sabbathi”, and the Greek says “apoleipo sabbatismos”. Check the honesty of your English translations here. Years ago the older versions (and some newer ones) tried to sweep the Sabbath under the carpet and just say “rest”!

The promise to us if we obey the Commandments is eternal life.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who obey His Commandments [2], so they’ll have the right to the Tree of Life, and can enter thru the gates into the city.

[2] Almost every modern English (Wescott & Hort) version of Revelation unconscionably substitutes “wash your robes” for “obey His Commandments”, unlike the Peshitta and the Majority texts. See Matthew 19:16-19.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Clean out your old leaven so that you can be a new batch of dough, as you are unleavened. The Messiah, our Passover, was offered in our place. 8 So let’s celebrate the Feast, not with the old leaven or with the leaven of wickedness and bitterness, but with the unleavened bread of purity and dedication.

Be encouraged now to “celebrate the Feast” of Unleavened Bread for all seven days next time. Celebrating the Moed and Chag the way Yehovah designed them to be celebrated will lead to a better understanding of our duty to Yehovah, country, and neighbor. It will lead to a better understanding of the Bible, particularly prophecy, and the “Way” of life befitting a disciple. It will also bring about a fuller insight into the many prophecies of both the (Hebrew) Scriptures and the The Testimony of Yeshua that were directly inspired by Yehovah.

One way or another, you’ll have your day to “stand before the Human Son” (Son of Man). Will you stand before Him “worthy”?

Luke 21:36 So always be vigilant and prayerful, so that you are worthy to escape everything that is about to happen and take your stand in the presence of the Human Son.

The End
Lon Martin, lonwmartin@yahoo.com
11/02
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Back Back to  Part 1

Chapter 6: Biblical Feasts And Equinoxes—Is there A Connection?  Chapters

The method of determining when Yehovah’s Feast Days has been a controversial issue in recent years. Here are some excellent articles on the topic. He offers excellent factual information even tho we draw different conclusions!

Dealing With the Calendar Question

The New Testament Church and the Calendar

Proof that the “Postponement Rules” of the Jewish Calendar are contrary to the Bible

Scriptures That Have Been Used [by the WCG] as a Basis For Accepting the Present Jewish Calendar

The Myth of “The Oral Law”

Part 1 Chapters Articles

Intro Feast Days

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Minor update January 27, 2014