Which festivals actually appear in the Bible?
Which festivals don’t actually appear in the Bible?
We start with the Sabbath and find that the Church has decided to move God’s day of rest from Saturday to Sunday for absolutely no valid biblical reason.
Passover has been replaced by Easter, the celebration of which bears no relation to the biblical calendar, but is tied to the solar cycle, with an added fudge, ensuring that it is celebrated at a different date every year. It also bears a pagan name and is riddled with pagan traditions, but don’t let that put you off your chocolate eggs and cute little bunny rabbits.
Shavuot has become Pentecost, a day that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit, but has totally lost its mooring in the context of the events at Sinai. Has no-one in the Church wondered why there was such a gathering in Jerusalem at that time and why the Church celebration omits this element?
Rosh Hashanah has been moved to the winter months and turned into the curiously named Lent, a tradition initiated by the institutional Church, not by any instructions in the New Testament
Yom Kippur has, I suppose, been merged into Easter, with its theme of atonement, something deemed so important and awesome that it should be a day of fasting and abstinence. This is something that doesn’t seem to have any equivalence at “Eastertime”, with its egg hunts and chocolate bingeing!
Succot seems to have been totally forgotten, apart from the generic elements appearing in the harvest festivals of the Church.
Isn’t it curious and significant that all of the “Christian feasts” are based on events in the New Testament, as if there is nothing in the Old Testament worth remembering? And this despite the fact that the only instruction given in the New Testament to remember anything is Jesus’ command for us to remember the events of the Last Passover Supper, in what has become known as Holy Communion.
They are setting themselves for a fall if we remind ourselves of the threats attached to the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot) when Jesus returns. Feast of Tabernacles? cries the Church … what’s that … and why has the rain stopped?
If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:18)
Then there is Christmas, which has no biblical derivation. It was installed by the early Christians simply to cash into the goodwill engendered by the pagan festivals that it replaced. In other words it is derived from the world of politics. If the birth of Jesus is to be celebrated contextually then the Feast of Tabernacles (alluded to in John 1:1) is a better bet for historicity’s sake!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling (tabernacle) among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
It has always puzzled me that those who seek to diminish the Old Testament by insisting that Christians should view Scripture through the eyes of Jesus, overlook the fact that Jesus willingly celebrated the biblical feasts of Passover and Succot (and even the non-biblical feast of Chanukah), so shouldn’t we follow his lead? Or is that too simplistic for the theologians who seek to re-interpret everything?
So the biblical moedim, that have been largely ignored by the Church as part of a campaign by the early Christians to sever themselves from their true Jewish (Hebraic) roots, are a blessing and a regular aid to prompt our memories of the awesome acts of God in biblical history. Is it too late to reclaim them, in the context of the whole revelation of God to man, both Old and New Testaments? I don’t see why not and it should be a necessary feature of Hebraic Church, to return us to our biblical roots.
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp