by Brandy Webb
I don’t know how many times over the years I have been asked, when I had to take off from school or work for God’s Holy Days, if I was Jewish. It never offended me at all. I have family members that are Jewish, but I just found it interesting this misconception of God’s Holy Days as being only Jewish Holy Days. I know it is at the fault of some Bible translators and scholars who have called God’s appointed times (moedims) “Jewish” Holy Days, or the Feasts “of the Jews.” Yet, is it true that God’s Feasts are only meant for the tribe of Judah?
In my opinion it isn’t. I believe God already had His planned appointed times during creation. It says that on the fourth day of the week, God created the sun, moon, and stars to mark the times and the seasons (Gen 1:14). The Hebrew word for seasons is moed, which means “appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival…by implication, an assembly” (Strong’s H4150). It is the same word for “feasts” in Leviticus 23 when God gives Moses the thorough instructions regarding His Holy Days. This word is used over two hundred times in the Old Testament, whenever it states congregation, feasts, or assembly it is most likely this Hebrew word, moed. Therefore, I believe that God’s appointed Holy Days, just like the Sabbath, were established at creation.
The other issue I have with calling God’s appointed times as only Jewish Holy Days is that the nation of Israel isn’t made up of just the tribe of Judah. Yes, everyone from the tribe of Judah is an Israelite, but not all Israelites are from the tribe of Judah. There are twelve tribes of Israel. An individual that is from the tribe of Asher wouldn’t be considered a Jew but would be considered an Israelite. Plus, these days are never called the Feasts of Israel; they are always referred to the “Feasts of the Lord” (Lev 23:2). These Holy Days are God’s commanded days for all of humankind. God did teach the nation of Israel His appointed times, but He also wanted anyone that wanted to join with Israel to keep them (Ex 12:19).
Now, you may say, “Well that was then, but why do you keep them now?” The Bible says that they are an everlasting covenant for all generations (Ex 12:14, Lev 23:21, 31, 41). In fact, the prophet Zechariah speaks of future Feasts when Jesus is the King of the world. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech 14:16). It also has a warning for those who do not come to keep God’s Feast: they will not receive rain (Zech 14:17). Therefore, if the Feasts are going to be important in the Millennium, don’t you think they are important today?
Moreover, Jesus and His disciples kept God’s appointed times. A few can be found in Luke 2:42; John 5:1; Matt 26:17; and John 7:2, 10, 14. Also there is a reference of a Greek who kept Passover in John 12:20.
Even Paul, after the resurrection of Christ, kept God’s appointed times (some references are: Acts 18:21 (side note: some modern translations leave out the part where Paul states “I must by all means keep this feast that comes in Jerusalem”); 1 Cor 5:8; and Col 2:16.
The truth is, these days are not burdens. They are moments of light in a world filled with sin and darkness. They all point to our Messiah. Passover reminds us of His great sacrifice for us so that we can have eternal life. Unleavened Bread reminds us to remove sin out of our lives. Pentecost reminds us of the harvest time of God’s first fruits and a memorial of the giving of the Holy Spirit to His people. The Feast of Trumpets points us to Jesus’ return. The Day of Atonement is the day that Satan will be locked away, thus removing sin from the earth. The Feast of Tabernacles is to remind us of the thousand years of Jesus’ reign on the earth when all things will be renewed, restored, and cleansed, and then the last Holy Day is the Eighth Day that is joined with the Feast of Tabernacles. This Eighth Day is a foreshadow of new beginnings, when Satan is removed forever and the world is perfect.
God’s Holy Days tell His story of redemption to a New Heaven and New Earth. They edify us and give us hope throughout the year. They remind us why we keep on walking the path of faith. They give us strength to endure. Therefore, these are the reasons I keep God’s Holy Days, because, as a Christian, I want to enjoy all the joyful things He has set apart for me to enjoy.