Each year, millions observe non-Biblical holidays with vigor and excitement, even if they profess no religion. What about the Almighty's Feasts? How should we observe His sacred appointments? What kind of times are the Biblical Feasts? What should we do during the Eternal's Feasts?
Three Times To Move Our Feet
There are three annual pilgrimage feasts: "Three times [Hebrew regel, Strong's #7272 meaning 'feet'] thou shalt keep a feast unto Me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) And the feast of harvest [Pentecost], the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering [Tabernacles] which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. Three times [Hebrew paam, Strong's #6471 also meaning 'footsteps'] in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God," Exodus 23:14-17.
Regelis an interesting Hebrew word. In 233 places it is translated "foot" or "feet," and only 4 places regel is rendered "times." Three times a year we are to use our feet to observe God's cyclical pattern.
We are to walk, or go, to a certain place. "Three times [paam] in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee," Deuteronomy 16:16-17. It is to be an habitual practice, something we do automatically.
(1) Preparation and Humility
The fall feasts have a pattern: Feast of Trumpets (New Moon), Day of Atonement
(Tishri 10) and an eight-day Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day. Likewise, the Spring Feasts follow the same pattern: New Year (Nisan 1, a New Moon), Nisan 10, and the eight-Day Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
What is so special about Nisan 10? The instruction in Exodus 12:1-10 was probably given on Nisan 1 (New Moon), and the preparation for the Passover (taking of the lamb for each household) was to be done on Nisan 10, kept without blemish until Nisan 14 when it was killed.
We have been admonished in the Church of God to prepare for the Passover, with prayer and fasting, so as to be in the right spirit for the most solemn, awesome day of the year. Thus there is a parallel between the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10) and the meaning of Nisan 10. Both are demonstrative of the need for physical and spiritual preparation for the upcoming Feast. Before the joyful Feast, there must be a period of humility, Proverbs 15:33, I Peter 5:5-6. This theme is carried over from Nisan 10 to the night of the Passover itself, with the footwashing ceremony preceding the actual supper, John 13.
(2) A Time For Being AboutOur Father's Business
Discipleship requires total supreme devotion, Luke 9:62. We must put our Father's business first, above all else. Jesus set us an example during the Feast of Unleavened Bread at age twelve, Luke 2:40-52.
We are not to return to our life's chores during the Feast. The Eternal even promises protection of our possessions when we leave them to go to observe the Feasts, Exodus 34:21-24, Proverbs 16:7.
(3) A Time of Hearing the Word
The Eternal's Feasts have a physical purpose. Primarily they are spiritually oriented. It is a time to "feast" on the Eternal's Word, Nehemiah 8:1-8, 18, Deuteronomy 31:10-13.
It is not a time only to "stick one's nose in the Bible," but also to speak the words of the Bible one to another, Malachi 3:16, Hebrews 10:24-25. This doesn't happen by accident, but is the result of living the Bible all year long. Bible studies take preparation, both on the part of the Speaker and the listeners.
(4) A Time of Joy and Feasting
Nehemiah 8:9-12shows that we can only rejoice when we understand the Law, and are zealously keeping it, together. We are commanded to rejoice, Deuteronomy 16:11, 13-15; II Chronicles 30:21-27. A feast is made for rejoicing, Ecclesiastes 10:19.
(5) A Family Time of Togetherness, Unity and Fellowship
See Deuteronomy 12:11-12, 14:26, 16:14. Our Savior set an example as He stayed at the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary prior to the Passover. Feast time is a time of reunions and renewed fellowship. We need to develop a close relationship with our spiritual brethren. "How excellent are the LORD's faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them," Psalm 16:3(Today's English version).
(6) Appreciating the Creation
Israel kept the Feasts in Shiloh before the Jerusalem Temple was built. It was a beautiful place with vineyards, Judges 21:19-21. Jerusalem had gardens and trees. Our Savior appreciated the creation, as witness His walking through the corn fields on the Sabbath, Matthew 12:1. After the Passover supper, He prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane. A Jewish friend says the term "place which the Eternal has chosen to place His name" means "place which you can seethe Eternal." The resurrected saints will have the Father's name written in their foreheads, Revelation 14:1, and see Him face to face, as He is, I John 3:2. In the Creation we can be removed from the cares of this life, see the Eternal, and be close to Him.
(7) A Time of Special Prayer
Feast time is prayer time at a special place in the wonderful creation. The Savior prayed at Gethsemane, Matthew 26:36-46. He was often a visitor of such places of solitude, John 18:1-2. During Hezekiah's Great Feast of Unleavened Bread, prayer was an important part of the worship, II Chronicles 30:21-27.
I have experienced ardent vocal prayer during the Feast, next to a majestic California Redwood tree, a Juniper tree in Central Oregon, etc. These experiences made me feel especially close to my Heavenly Father.
(8) A Time to Give and Share
We are to give physically to those that are less blessed than ourselves, Nehemiah 8:10, 12;Deuteronomy 14:26-29. This was again an example set by the Messiah. It was such a habit that the disciples thought that Judas was going out to give something to the poor, John 13:27-30.
Spiritually we are to give to others, and not just have a physical Feast. Some just sit and take in sermons, giving nothing except Holy Day offerings. We are to come to the Feast prepared to give and receive. Our Savior did, even at age twelve! The Almighty does not want us to be spiritual sponges, merely absorbing in everything from others. He wants us to give and share with the brethren.
The Eternal's Feasts are far better than worldly holidays such as Christmas and Easter! We plan our entire year around them. We get "Feast Fever" in anticipation of these joyful times. Our souls long for these days as we do for the Eternal's Kingdom, Psalm 84:1-12.
Holy Days, General Information
Responding to the Attack on God's Holy Days
Pagan Holidays - or God's Holydays -Which?
Holy Days or Feast Days?
God's Second Tithe
Holy Day Words
Miscellaneous Information on Holy Days
Did God Intend For the Holy Days To Be Fund-Raising Occasions?
Main Holy Day Menu
Written by: Richard C. Nickels
Giving & Sharing
PO Box 100
Neck City, MO 64849
United States of America
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