YHVH’S FEASTS – Introduction

Feasts - Divine AppointmentsYears ago, a church in our area sponsored a teaching event featuring a demonstration Seder (Passover meal), and it was a deeply moving experience for all of the participants.  The correlation between the elements of the feast and the life, death, resurrection and Kingship of Y’shua was so obvious, and gave us new insight into His ministry and His prominent place in Old Testament prophecy.  

The experience left me very puzzled: Why does the church refuse to ‘officially’ celebrate such an amazing feast, which was ordained by God Himself and which is packed with prophetic symbolism, ALL of which has to do with Messiah?

Now I realize that every single one of the biblical feasts are packed with prophetic meaning, ALL of which has to do with Messiah!  It makes me grieve all the more because of all the blessings that my brethren in the traditional church are missing out on….

What a joy and a privilege it is to meet YHVH at His mo’edim (appointed times) to celebrate the victory of His Amazing Plan through the ministry of His Amazing Son!

Foundational Understanding

The first and most important thing that any believer should understand about the feasts is this:

They  are  NOT  ‘Jewish’  feasts.

They  are  YHVH’S  feasts!!

Speak unto the children of Israel [1], and say unto them, “Concerning the feasts of YHVH, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY feasts.”  (Lev 23:2 KJV, emphasis added)

YHVH Himself designed the feasts, set the times at which they are to be celebrated, and promised that He will meet with anyone who observes them according to His instructions.  In fact, scripture tells us that He planned them even before the creation of the world!

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for SEASONS, and for days, and years…  (Gen 1:14 KJV, emphasis added)

The word translated as seasons is the Hebrew word mo’edim, and it does NOT generally mean ‘seasons of the year.’  The word mo’edim and its variations are used 223 times in the Hebrew scriptures, and almost every single time the word carries the meaning of ‘congregation‘ (150 times), ‘gathering‘, ‘appointed time of meeting‘ or ‘FEAST‘ (23 times)!!!   Even the 13 times that it is translated as ‘season(s)‘ it is referring to a set time for a particular event.

All of the feasts are determined by the phase of the moon.  YHVH’s calendar is a lunar calendar!  He had planned the feasts even before He created the universe, and He set the moon in place precisely so that it could be used as His ‘day-planner in the sky.’  

There were no Jews – or even Hebrews – at the time of Creation.  YHVH put the moon in the sky so that Adam and Eve and their descendants would know when to MEET with Him.  You and I are definitely descendants of Adam and Eve, and we have been invited to YHVH’s Feasts!!  WOW!

The second most important thing that any believer should understand about the feasts is this:

Feasts - forever and for all

YHVH designed the feasts for the instruction and encouragement of ALL His people, Jewish or Gentile, young or old, and He desires that they be observed by anyone who wishes to identify with Him according to His terms.

YHVH may have initially given His feast instructions to the twelve tribes of Israelites [2], but His stated purpose was that Israel would serve as priests to the rest of the nations, teaching THEM to fellowship with Him at His feasts, too!

And ye [Israel] shall be unto me a kingdom of priests [3], and an holy nation.  (Ex 19:6)

Keep therefore and do them [the Torah instructions, which include the instructions regarding the Sabbath and the feasts]; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.  (Deut 4:6)

Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvelous works among all nations. ( 1Ch 16:24)

Thus says YHVH of hosts: “In those days [the End of Days, prior to the coming of Messiah] ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ “ (Zec 8:23, NKJV)

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHVH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHVH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people (Isa 56:6-7, emphasis added)

Millennial Kingdom TempleThat last verse (about Gentile burnt offerings and sacrifices being accepted on Yah’s altar in His Millennial Kingdom) is a puzzle to many believers. They don’t realize that the Temple will be in operation during the Millennial Reign and the feasts will continue to be celebrated.   Some folks of my acquaintance take great delight in quoting the prophet Zechariah (below) and asking:  “If you’re going to be expected to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennial Kingdom, why not start now?!”

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem [at Armageddon] will go up [to Jerusalem] year after year to worship the King, YHVH Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.  If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH Almighty, they will have no rain.  If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. YHVH will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.   This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles (Zec 14:16-19, NIV, emphasis added)

My friends also love to remind us of Isaiah’s prophecy about events during the Millennial Kingdom:

“From one New Moon [i.e., Rosh Chodesh, a Torah-ordained celebration] to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says YHVH (Isa 66:23 NIV, emphasis added)

So yes, the feasts are going to be with us for a long time yet – at least throughout the Millennial Kingdom period. Obviously YHVH believes that the feasts are still valid, and that they are for everyone.

The feasts teach us a LOT about YHVH, His character, His Son, and His Kingdom.  The feast instructions are a large and important part of Torah.  Torah is the vehicle that YHVH has given us in order to allow us to actively express YHVH’s holy character into this world, rather than our own sinful natures.  I’ve shared my reasons for believing this in some of my other articles, and if this is a new concept to you, I hope you will take the time to read one or two of those articles, as well.   (Evidence That Torah Was Given to All Men at CreationDoes Paul Really Teach that Torah Has ‘Passed Away’?Y’shua and the Torah in the KingdomThe Just Shall Live by FaithTorah: The Purpose; etc.)

The Feasts are HOLY – They are consecrated (set apart) to YHVH

Speak unto the children of Israel [1], and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of YHVH, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY feasts.  (Lev 23:2 KJV, emphasis added)

caution

The third, and perhaps the most important thing that I feel impressed to bring to your attention is that the feasts are not to be celebrated lightly They are not to be used as mere teaching tools or evangelism tools.  They are not even primarily designed to unite the brethren.  They are designed for and intended to be celebrated by Torah-observant believers as an expression of committed, obedient loyalty to the Holy and Living YHVH and His Way (Torah).

In other words, dear reader, be cautioned that NOT JUST ANYONE MAY CELEBRATE THE FEASTS, NOR MAY A CELEBRANT ‘ADAPT’ A FEAST IN ANY WAY HE WANTS.   The Feasts belong to YHVH and MUST be celebrated carefully, in a holy manner, and they must be celebrated ONLY FOR HIS GLORY, not for our entertainment, not as an educational tool, nor to satisfy our desire to create or maintain family traditions.

Many seem to think that it is acceptable to use the feasts as a witnessing tool or as a way to include their unobservant family and friends in an ‘interesting’ event associated with their faith.  I confess that I have been tempted to use the feasts in just this manner.  I am grateful that Abba has always prevented me from doing so!

This attitude may be so prevalent because the church teaches that ‘Torah has been done away with.’   If that were true, then logically the feasts would no longer have validity as a means of worship and could be used for more casual purposes —  but this is NOT what the Bible teaches, nor is it what Y’shua taught.

cropped-hosea-4-6.jpgWARNING: Scripture teaches that anyone – believer or unbeliever – who desires to approach YHVH through the feasts MUST conform to YHVH’s holy expectations as expressed in Torah, and if he does not do so, he is in sin and is subject to YHVH’s discipline!

And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto YHVH; as ye do, so he shall do.  One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger [non-Israelite] be before YHVH.  (Num 15:15)

Because he has despised the word of YHVH, and has broken His commandment [Heb: mitzvah – specific instruction], that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him(Num 15:31 NKJV)

If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of YHVH’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible.  (Lev 5:17 NIV)

Holy Holy HolyThose are very heavy statements and should cause us to carefully consider our conduct with regard to all of Torah, and particularly with regard to the feasts, which YHVH calls Holy Convocations.

YHVH takes His feasts very seriously.   Our goal as believers should be to study His Word, find out what HE desires from us, and then DO it.  We need to know what is permitted and what is not permitted with regard to His holy mo’edim, lest our conduct demonstrate to YHVH that we don’t really love Him because we don’t really pay attention to His desires.

It is true that love covers a multitude of sins, and YHVH does indeed search the heart, but He also states that after searching our hearts, He judges our deeds, which expose what is in our hearts.

“I YHVH search the heart and examine the mind, to reward [Heb: nathan – pay, recompense] each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”  (Jer 17:10 NIV)

So please do not invite Aunt Susie and Uncle John to your Passover Seder or other celebration if they have not yet fully committed to obeying Y’shua AND HIS TORAH.   Do not subject your loved ones to YHVH’s discipline if they have not yet fully understood and entered the Covenant.

If you think a Seder or one of the other feasts will help them understand your commitment to Torah, then have a “demonstration” feast on a different day, making it clear that you are presenting it as an educational event only, and modify it in such a way that it is not an actual worship event. (Ex: Don’t actually pray, but say something like, “At this point we would say a prayer thanking God for….”)

In love, dear reader, I reiterate: NOT JUST ANYONE MAY CELEBRATE THE FEASTS, NOR MAY A CELEBRANT ‘ADAPT’ A FEAST IN ANY WAY HE WANTS.   The Feasts belong to YHVH and MUST be celebrated carefully, in a holy manner, by covenanted believers, and they must be celebrated ONLY FOR HIS GLORY, not for our entertainment, mere education, or to satisfy our desire to create or maintain family traditions.

As we acknowledge the holy character of the feasts, offering ourselves as living sacrifices according to the precepts and statutes of Torah, we act as priests and demonstrate to the world that there is a Holy God Who is faithfully completing His Redemptive Plan, and we offer them the opportunity to be allied with this amazing and compassionate YHVH!

May the Feasts of YHVH be the rich blessings to you that He intends them to be!!

 

Click here to go back to THE FEASTS and select the Feast that you would like to read about.


FOOTNOTES

[1]  The reader should remember that those who are true disciples of Y’shua have been grafted into the family and nation (commonwealth) of Israel (Eph 2:12).   YHVH has sworn that, even if Israel breaks the Covenant, YHVH will remain true and will continue to honor the Covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants (Lev 26:44-45, Deut 4:31, Isaiah 54:7-10, Jer 33:25-26).   As part of the ‘natural olive tree’ of Israel (Rom 11:17-18; Eph 2:12, 19), Y’shua’s disciples are entitled to both the privileges and the obligations of the Covenant.

[2]  Scripture tells us that the mo’edim (appointed times; feasts) were established before the earth was even created, and there is good reason to believe that Adam and Eve were fully aware of them.  (For a brief discussion of this concept, please see my article Evidence that Torah was Given to all Men at Creation.) However, for the sake of clarity and brevity, in this article I am working from the traditional stand that the feasts were first given to the Israelites in the wilderness.  

[3]  Priest: a person ordained to act as a mediator between God and man in administering the sacraments, preaching, blessing, guiding, etc  (Collins online Dictionary)  A priest mediates for and represents the people before God.  If all of Israel was to be a “nation of priests,” then the only other people available to mediate for would be the rest of the nations.


© Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2016.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt  and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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