What’s the difference? Well, to be honest, I had never really thought about it. As a matter of fact, I never even knew about Yahweh’s feast days. Growing up, I noticed some odd holidays on the calendar that we didn’t celebrate…those are Jewish holidays I was told. I grew up celebrating the “traditional” holidays…Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and on the list goes. And I learned the “true” meaning of the holidays in amongst all the extra fluff…you know…Santa, the Easter bunny, coloring Easter eggs, all the important traditions that go along with celebrating. And I taught them to my children as all good parents do.
Fast forward to 2010 and I was presented with the fact that some (or even all in some cases) of the holidays and traditions that I had been celebrating came from pagan roots and were not scriptural in the least. Well, let me tell you, that rocked my world. Really…how can that be…that can’t be right…I was happy and comfortable in my traditions…my family’s traditions. But, I also knew I had to investigate for myself. What I found out turned my world upside down. I discovered that it was true! Great…so what do I do now? Well, through much prayer and study, I decided not to celebrate Christmas and Easter. (I had given up celebrating Halloween many years ago…that was a no brainer!) But, I didn’t stop there. I continued to study the bible and pray, which led me to studying about the Feast days.
The first thing that I discovered was that when Yahweh told Moses about His appointed times, they were permanent statutes throughout the generations. The next thing I discovered was that He gave those eternal statutes to the Israelites, the people, that if we claim to be believers in Yeshua, have been grafted into (Romans 11:17)…adopted into His family (Romans 8:14-16). Think about that…if you adopt a child, do you follow the child’s traditions or does he/she become part of your family and take on the teachings and traditions of your family? If we are Yahweh’s children, we are to take on His ways…His traditions. And the Feasts of Yahweh are just that…His appointed times. He did not say they were for the Jews, the Christians, etc. They were His feasts, His appointed times (Leviticus 23:1-2).
But, you cry out, “Those are part of the old covenant which is a shadow. Jesus is the substance.” And I say, “EXACTLY!!!!!” How much more depth and meaning do these appointed times have now that we have the substance of them? Yahweh’s feast days tell the story of Yahweh and His people. It begins when Yahweh called His people to Himself and continues through to the end of time that John saw in his vision and wrote about in the Revelation. They identified special times throughout the year to give glory and honor to Yahweh for specific acts done on behalf of His people. But they also have a spiritual meaning as well.
The first three feasts of Yahweh have been fulfilled through the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua. Let’s start with Passover as it is the first feast day of Yahweh’s calendar. Passover not only represents the Israelites rescue from Egypt, it is also the day of Yeshua’s sacrificial death. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 tells us, “Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” He is our Passover! This feast has certainly been fulfilled through Messiah Yeshua and is observed on the 14th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. (As a side note, did you know that Christians commemorated the death and resurrection of Christ on Passover until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, in its quest to rid Christianity of anything Jewish changed the date to coincide with the pagan carnival Easter which celebrated the goddess of fertility Ishtar?)
The next feast, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, has also been fulfilled by Yeshua at his burial in the tomb on Nisan 15. Yeshua is our bread of heaven. John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
Next is the Feast of Firstfruits. This was fulfilled by Yeshua at His resurrection. (One thing that I noticed when studying these appointed days, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, there is actually three days between the death and resurrection of Christ, unlike Good Friday to Easter.) 1 Corinthians 5:20-23, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.”
Fifty days from the Feast of Firstfruits, we are to observe the Feast of Pentecost. This feast was fulfilled by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1-4, “When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.”
The last three feasts of Yahweh, the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles, have yet to be fulfilled by Yeshua. They represent future events in Yahweh’s master plan. They point to His return, judgment, millennial reign, and final triumph over evil. The last feast, the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the Feast of Booths or Feast of Ingathering), represents the fulfillment of Yahweh’s plan. The Messiah will return to “tabernacle” with His people. Zechariah sees the ultimate fulfillment of this feast, Zechariah 14:16, “Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths.” See also, Revelation 7:9-17, Revelation 21:1, and Revelation 22:5.
But you cry out, “Christmas and Easter don’t mean anything about paganism to me! It’s how I celebrate Christ’s birth and resurrection. God knows my heart.” First of all, the heart is deceitful above all things…(Jeremiah 17:9) Jeremiah 17:5-8 also says, “This is what the Lord says: The man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed. He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives. The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.” Colossians 2:8 says, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.”
I will be the first to tell you that celebrating Yahweh’s appointed Holy Days is not a matter of salvation or acceptance by Him. However, as a child of the Most High God, Yahweh, I have been adopted by Him and as such, I am going to follow His ways and His traditions. Since Yahweh says His feasts are to be celebrated forever and He never changes, it is quite clear to me that He still desires to be worshipped the way He has outlined in His Word. “Therefore, let us keep the feast…”
“As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.” (Joshua 24:15)