By Bob Parham
What SHOULD we do? Do we still celebrate the feasts as though we were in Jerusalem? Should we not meet at all? Are we sinning if we do or don’t do the feasts outside of Jerusalem?
Wow, these are some major questions! I’m not sure that I have perfect answers for them, either. First and foremost, you need to take this to your Father and ask Him to reveal truth to you. Second of all, maybe I can give you some ideas to consider.
If I were still in America instead of being in The Land, I don’t think I would want to participate in a glorious celebration like I would if I were in The Land. I think:
- I wouldn’t have a big ‘production’ or pay a lot of money for a celebration elsewhere.
- If I were to meet with a group of people it would be to teach about the feasts and call the people to mourn, because we weren’t in Jerusalem where we should be.
MOURN? Isn’t it a time of rejoicing?
Yes, it is a time of rejoicing when you are in Jerusalem doing the feasts. But even though we are blessed with the privilege of going to Jerusalem, even THEN we still don’t spend it all in rejoicing. Why? Because we still can’t keep all the commands concerning the feasts. We spend time mourning for Jerusalem, the Temple and Israel, for the people and the land.
Zephaniah 3:16-20 – (16) In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. (17) “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. (18) “I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts— They came from you, O Zion; The reproach of exile is a burden on them. (19) “Behold, I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. (20) “At that time I will bring you in, even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.
- I would encourage those who can afford to go and who are physically able to go, TO GO! I would help by connecting them with other people that are also able to go.
- I would encourage those who can’t afford to go, or who physically can’t go to Jerusalem to have it be their heart’s desire to go even though they can’t. Yes, there are many people and families who physically or financially CAN’T go to Jerusalem for the feast three times a year – or even once a year – or even once in a lifetime. BUT all of our hearts can and should be in Jerusalem.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. (Psalms 84:5)
- I would encourage those who can’t afford to go or who physically can’t go to Jerusalem to send their tithes with someone who IS going to Jerusalem. Is there a way for us all to go? Yes! We can send our tithe with someone else that is going to Jerusalem. We can even band together financially and send congregational representatives each year – perhaps one year it will be YOUR turn! In this way, we can ALL go to Jerusalem in heart and spirit! 
David really wanted to build the temple but Yah told him he couldn’t because his hands were stained with blood (1Chron 28:3). So David gave his son, Solomon, the plans and the materials for building the temple even though he himself couldn’t build it. HIS HEART WAS THERE! It is taught that YAH credited David with building the temple, because his heart was there! (1 Kings 8:17-18 and 2 Chronicles 6:7-8)
Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 8 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. (2Chronicles 6:7-8)
It would be my opinion that if Yah would give credit to David for doing something he didn’t do even though it was in his heart, then Yah could credit you with doing something you didn’t do if it is in your heart. This is why I don’t believe that anyone should say that they can’t go to Jerusalem! If it is in your heart to go to Jerusalem, but physically you can’t, it’s my personal belief that Yah can give you credit for going, if the desire is in your heart.
David showed that it was in his heart by giving to the project even though he had been prohibited from participating in the actual building. If you give your tithes to go to Jerusalem, then you get to go to Jerusalem through your tithe and the one who carried it for you.
That leaves NO excuse, doesn’t it?
Is it a sin to do or not do the feasts outside of Jerusalem?
That’s the toughest question of all.
What is sin? “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4). So, breaking a Torah command is sin.
- Is eating biblically clean food a Torah command? (Leviticus 11)
- Is keeping the Sabbath a Torah command? (Exodus 20:10)
- Are the nidah commands for women Torah commands? (Leviticus 15)
- Is going to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage Feasts among the Torah commands? (Exodus 23:14; Deuteronomy 12:8-14)
- Is eating unleavened bread for seven days a Torah command? (Leviticus 23)
We could keep going listing up to 613 more Torah commands. Yes they are all Torah commands. So, we see:
- If I don’t eat kosher, is it a sin? Yes.
- If I don’t keep the Sabbath, is it a sin? Yes.
And we could go through the other almost 600-plus commands as well and ask the same question and get the same answer.
But how did you answer the 4th listed above? If I don’t go to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage feasts, is it a sin? It is a Torah command to go.
Yeah, but I wasn’t ABLE to go!!!! Did I really sin?
Yes I did sin by not going! It was unintentional, but still a sin. I believe that my present inability to fully obey the commands regarding the Pilgrimage Feasts is due to the sins of our fathers. We have to participate in the consequences of their sin until Yah takes us out of the Diaspora or makes a way for us to keep all the commands related to observing His Feasts in Jerusalem.
Shouldn’t we be mourning, then, during this time? Yes we should.
Do you WANT to go?
But again, is it in your heart to WANT to go to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage Feasts? If it is, then maybe Yah, in His mercy, might not see your sin so much, but instead He may see your desire to obey His commands. Maybe Yah looks at you in Diaspora and says, “You did well that it was in your heart.” You sent your tithe. You joined with others to help send someone who wanted to go but couldn’t afford it. (Maybe they will return the favor next year!) You helped watch the animals and homes of those who were going. You prayed for those who were going that they would meet with Yah while they are there. You sent your prayers and your heart with those who were going.
IT WAS IN YOUR HEART!
I pray that Yah blesses you with the right answer. It’s in His Word. Don’t listen to man’s excuses. Listen to Yah’s Spirit and His Word to do what is right in His eyes.
 To whom (or where) do the tithes go? Scripture instructs us to use the tithe to get to the feast and to purchase whatever we need or desire in order to participate in the Feast! (Deut 14:22-23, Deut 14:26, etc.) We’re also to use the tithe to help others without resources to celebrate with joy and feasting. Some of the offerings were to go to the priests and Levites – for these, we find it meaningful to donate to the Temple Institute, which is in the process of training priests and Levites. Or you might want to donate to the Red Heifer Project, which will result in priests being able to minister. There are lots of options for those who truly want to participate as Yah intended in the joy of the feasts!
© Bob Parham, 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, as well as to the original author (in this case Bob Parham) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.