The Return (National Day of Prayer and Repentance) was a pivotal moment in history and seeing the crowds of people there, on their knees and repenting, blowing their shofars as one united body of Christ… it definitely sparked something in me. My siblings and I also attended #LETUSWORSHIP in Nashville (10.11.20), where prophesies were spoken, shofars were blown, and 10,000 people united to praise Jesus… and repent for our nation. With these encounters close to my heart, I speak the following with love, and pray it benefits you.
First, a brief introduction of what the holy days of the Lord are! Here is a full break down post and another here. In short, though (though without the Hebrew terms, sorry)…
Passover – remembers the last plague in Egypt, when the angel of death “passed over” the children of Israel who applied the blood of the lamb to their doors.
Unleavened Bread – seven-day feast beginning on the day following the start of Passover. When the Israelites fled Egypt, they didn’t have time to add leaven to their bread, so during this holy day, nothing with leaven is eaten. During this time, we remember the hardships of their journey and the mercy of God when he freed them from captivity.
First Fruits – one of three Jewish harvest feasts to thank and honor God for all He provided.
Pentecost – celebrated not only the wheat harvest, Pentecost remembers how the message (the harvest) was extended to everyone!
Feast of Trumpets – the time Jesus will return, a day of celebration.
Day of Atonement – before Jesus’ death, this was a day for sacrificing animals and payment for our sins. However, Jesus came and atoned for our sins! (This is not only a day to humble ourselves before God, but to thank Him for His atonement!)
Feast of Tabernacles – celebrates God’s provision and protection for the people of Israel during their 40 years wandering in the wilderness. (One year, we actually made a tipi for this day! So fun!)
With a very rough understanding of what we will be discussing, let’s get to it! Why do Christians (who are not “Jewish”) observe Biblical holy days?
We are called to be more like Christ and follow Jesus’ ways (1 John 2:6, 1 Peter 2:21, John 14:15, etc). When we look into the New Testament, we see Jesus and His apostles celebrating Passover (Matthew 26). Acts 18:21, we see Jesus’ apostle returning to keep the feast in Jerusalem. If you believe in the Bible’s “two or three witness” rule (Matthew 18:16), we now have two cases where the Biblical feasts are observed, by Jesus, and the very followers He led. These instances are in the New Testament, so for those proclaiming Jesus’ death and resurrection “did away with” the “need” of celebrating the Biblical holy days… They must then ask, why would Jesus not only partake in them (even if He knew He was the Lamb), but His followers also celebrated these holy days? Does this not portray the Biblical feasts as a time Jesus spent with His Father–a time we, also, can use to deepen our relationship with our Lord?
On the same note, Believers must remember that Jesus came to fulfill the law of His Father: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20
Therefore, Jesus came to fulfill not only the laws, but He became the Passover Lamb, and, to quote Jesus and the Feasts of Israel, “… the feast of Unleavened Bread was a visual aid pointing them to Messiah Jesus who had come and fulfilled in His flesh the reality pictured by the feast.” Jesus did these things! He fulfilled the Word! So by celebrating what He gave to us, we are not conforming to legalism, but following the heart of God that Jesus lived by example!
I’ve seen Christians claim that Jesus’ sacrifice does away with the holy days. However, this is not true, as 1) the holy days still hold meaning, even greater meaning because of His sacrifice 2) the Lord did not give a expiration date in Exodus 12:17; “And ye shall observe [the feast of] unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.” and 3) not every Biblical holy days is concerned about blood sacrifices, laws, or punishment for sin…
Leviticus 23 begins, “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.” These are the words of the Lord. He would not speak these things if they meant nothing, or if He would do away with the fulfilling truth in them, would He? If we look even closer, perhaps these verses show God’s yearning for His children–that we do not stop in our pursuit of God, and by observing the days He has set aside, we are growing even closer to Him.
The Bible also warns us to be watchful (Proverbs 8:34, Ezekiel 33:6, Isaiah 21, Isaiah 51). Therefore, does it not make sense to follow the Lord’s command to observe His holy days and unite with God’s Children of Israel? Again, a couple of these feasts are yet to be fulfilled, and the Bible warns us to be watchful, so His two commandments truly coincide.
Since Jesus is our atonement and our Savior, we celebrate these days out of remembrance, out of love, out of a yearning to do as Jesus did and become even closer to our Father. Celebrating the holy days is not about earning our way to heaven, legalism, or out of fear of breaking some law… We celebrate these days to remember the promises God has kept (He shed mercy on the firstborns, Passover; led His people out from Egypt, Unleavened Bread) and the promises that will be fulfilled (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles). By observing His holy days, we are also being watchful for what is yet to come. This is not unlike church goers who enjoy Sunday service traditions or holidays, only these specific days are written in God’s Word!
In conclusion, I believe Jesus is atonement for our sins, and no actions we can take can earn mercy. However, it is written in the Word that God wills us to observe His holy days, to not only rejoice in all He has blessed us with, but to be watchful for what is yet to be fulfilled. Christians, Jews, etc, we must stand united as God’s people, and partaking in the very festivals Jesus did, is truly a blessing. The Bible constantly tells us to remember God’s promises and His mercy. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are set free. While we may be unable to obey every part of the Bible, God is still merciful and will never forsake us… THAT is the whole point of these celebrations!
I have shared this post to encourage those who are hungry to dig deep. If you want more Jesus, if you want more of His joy, His hope… these holy days are truly a great thing to begin studying and celebrating! God bless you!
More links, if you’re interested in learning more, or farther sources! There is a lot on this topic out there... and most importantly, in the Bible.
A Brief Video regarding “The Significance of the Jewish Holy Days”
Jesus Christ in the Biblical Festivals
Hidden in Plain Sight: The Festivals Jesus Celebrated
Why I Celebrate God’s Biblical Holy Days Instead Of Holidays (This was written by an 11 year old and I thought it was so cute haha)
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