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should Christians celebrate the Feasts?
Topic Started: Jul 28 2007, 12:59 AM (2,526 Views)
HelenaZF
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"more is more"

Many Christians celebrate the Feasts---many do not. Is it a command? A choice? What have you found that God says about it?

[referring to God's feasts as enumerated in Leviticus 23 ]

Leviticus 23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, [Concerning] the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim [to be] holy convocations, [even] these [are] my feasts.

Pesach - Passover
Shavuot - Pentecost
Sukkot - Tabernacles
Rosh Hashana - Trumpets
Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement
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Dave
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Helena,

Being the questioning sort, I'm wondering exactly which feasts are you referring to.

Presumably you mean Pesach, Shavuot, and Succot, but there's also Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Simchat Torah, and Channukah.

And Tu B'shevat, Tisha B'Av, Yom Hashoah, Yom Ha'atzma'ut, Yom Kippur (some are fasts rather than feasts!), and probably a few others.

Finally, of course, Shabbat itself is a feast of sorts.

Do let us know...

Thanks,

Dave

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HelenaZF
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Ah..amended my post to include the information you asked for. As far as I know, Simchat Torah is considered to be a part of Sukkot, but is not specifically mentioned in the Leviticus passage.
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DeanZF
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Without looking very far (always a dangerous thing to do), it seems that Helena's list is mostly accurate as to feasts. And Dave's comments are as always evocative and bring extra light to the subject. :)

Dave's comments in a different post include the title of one book that talks very well to the issue: calls them "Biblical Feasts". Pretty apt description. I like it!

Many feasts in the Jewish year are celebrated because of events found within the Word, but not all were established by the Lord. Purim & Hannukkah (in all of its varied spellings) are great examples of commemorative holidays. These could truly be called feasts of the Jews, where the Lord was rather specific about commanding the pilgrim feasts and noting that they were HIS feasts. And there are indeed the couple of corporate fasts, but I don't think that He designated those as "HIS fasts".

Speaking of commorations, one smarty-pants 5th grader asked me this year, "Does England have a Fourth of July?" Well, yes, of COURSE they do. Every country using this calendar has a Fourth of July, but they don't celebrate it as the Americans do. In the United States, that's when we celebrate our "Independence Day". God did not establish that commemorative holiday, but it is still very important to our culture and most of our citizens. Same with Purim & Hannukkah for the Jews world-wide.

The Sabbath is indeed one of the Lord's appointed feasts. First one on the list in Lev 23, actually. God's idea, not man's. And in a sense, these are feasts where God commemorates His actions. His first day of rest was on the 7th day, the Sabbath. He passed over the obedient, observant (and thus SAFE!!) Jews while they were in Egypt. He gave the Law and commemorates the giving with Shavuot or Pentecost. And of course, the fall feasts. The blowing of the horns, the day of atonement, and finally Sukkoth or Tabernacles. There are seven, but most get lumped together. That's another post or a google search. 8^)
Blessings!

Dean
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HelenaZF
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"more is more"

Just thought I'd let you in on a bit of IM conversation Dean and I had that will highlight how subject to individual interpretation some of this stuff is. :)

Quote:
 

Helena says: .....I didn't include the sabbath in my list since it seems to be called for before the list of appointed feasts actually begins in vs. 4.  So I suppose it is debatable?  Do you read it that way?

Dean says:
No. Read the first 4 verses as the paragraph they seem to be. The first feast God claims as his own is the Sabbath.

Dean says:
see? Two people, three opinions.

Helena says:
also, Yom Kippur (a fast) is in the Lord's list of appointed feasts

Dean says:
That's why some use the word Festival

Helena  says:
good point....perhaps you should add that

Helena  says:
or "holy convocation"

Dean says:
And because it is is really the prelude to the real deal, the culmination of atonement. It was the atonement, not the fast that was the deal, but when sacrifices went away, so did the connection.

Helena says:
I was just addressing the question of whether a fast could be considered a feast

Dean says:
That's what it's called in the Word, but again, it was not just the fast. The fast was really the prelude to the sacrifice of one goat and the smacking of another's rear as it carried the sins of the people into the wilderness, into the dry places, to die.


:oy: oy...talk about sprouting bunny trails.... My head is hurting....
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Dave
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Here's another one of my "evocative" comments :)

The church has either changed the Jewish festivals beyond recognition, or has just ignored them completely. This, in my view, is a subtle form of replacement theology. It says that the practices and traditions of the church are superior to and have superceded those of Israel, which carries the implication that the church has superceded Israel.

And I would also suggest that the festivals established by the Jewish people, whether in biblical times or afterwards, are almost as important as those established by God himself. (You could actually make a strong case for saying that they are just as important).

So, in order to fully exorcise the ghost of those anti-semitic early church figures who banned believers from anything Jewish (and whose influence continues today), the church is going to have to significantly change its ways. To say "your people shall be my people" is meaningless unless you say "your festivals shall be my festivals".

(By the way, in case anyone is wondering, I only occasionally practice what I preach - there isn't really a community that's into this where I live).

Excuse me whilst I pop out to buy a flame-proof suit.... :fireball:
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DeanZF
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Why would you want a flame proof suit for that post? I think there's LOTS of good meat there that can be cooked up into a great dish!

Amen to the subtlety of the anti-semitism of simply ignoring that which went before. This is kind of the antithesis of failure to know history and being doomed to repeat it. Practicing willfull ignorance dooms us to spiritual malnourishment at a minimum, and a sidewise glance of disapproval of our Lord as we practice the snubbing of His chosen people.

Interesting about your thoughts that the commemorative celebrations being nearly as important as those ordained by the Lord. Not opposed to it, but interested. At least within the historical & spiritual contexts, I'd probably agree, at least to some extent. As a teaching tool, they're hard to beat. In fact, our own parish's Vacation Bible School had a session just last week on Esther and her answer to the Lord's call. Included in that teaching was at least the mention that the spirit of Haman still seeks to destroy the Jews, even today.
Dave
 
To say "your people shall be my people" is meaningless unless you say "your festivals shall be my festivals".
What a GREAT statement, sir. It needs to be a bumper sticker somewhere.

As to the celebrations of those feasts, I'm afraid that we have to concur. We do not get to celebrate them nearly as often as we'd like, and not nearly so enthusiastically as we'd prefer. But then, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in any sort of big way every year either, and more than a few Christmases have been very, very low key in our home. We don't have much in the way of family and none of it is within 1000 miles. And if we don't receive (or offer) invitations, it's just us!

We do look for opportunities to share, to teach, and to bring in the wealth of depth that comes with our holy days. People in our churches and in our branch of the spiritual family tree really need to grasp that we did not invent this stuff. It has its roots in things that are thousands of years old, and often at least hundreds of years older than the Christian aspect of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Indeed, another evocative post. :innocent:
Blessings!

Dean
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DeanZF
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And to offer a quick note on Helena's first post and question on this thing: "Should Christians celebrate these festivals/celebrations/holy convocations, or not?"

Most of the 23rd chapter of Leviticus talks about the mechanics of the celebrations, but for each of them, there is a little phrase that sticks in my thinker: "This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live" (NIV). One of the translations says something like, "a commandment forever, for all generations." I do like to think of myself as still within the context of "forever" and certainly as having been adopted into His family, and grafted into the lineage of Abraham. So, that would seem to imply that I am still part of the "all generations" that needs to be celebrating.

And there are interesting consequences for those called whose nations do NOT celebrate at least Tabernacles/Sukkoth. Zechariah 14:19 says: "This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles." This section does specifically say that it is the nations that had attacked Jerusalem who would be commanded to attend the Tabernacles celebrations, but I feel as though this kind of fits in with Dave's comments about even simply ignoring them! "If you're not FOR me, you're AGAINST me." Isn't that what Jesus said? (and don't EVEN bring up the "if they're not against us, they're for us" arguement. :) )
Blessings!

Dean
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HelenaZF
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Ben Davis
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The Hebrew word for Feast is "chag" meaning festivial or pilgrim festival with other nuances as well. It's root word is chagag meaning to hold a feast or make pilgramage, and to celebrate and dance even stagger. Thus in Deut. 14 where Torah states that we can use the tithe of the first and second years for whatever our heart desires, EVEN strong drink!

A fast, such as Yom Kippur, is a feast. We should not look at it as a time sulking, as even Yeshua told us to not fast as the Pharisees fast, drawing attention to themselves.

The rest, Purim, Hanukkah, and other various Fast days are addons or minor feasts. We see Purim very plainly in Esther, yet not a solid command to observe it in Torah.

The Feasts of YHVH are referred to as ha (the) moedim (appointed times). It can be traced back even into Abraham's life when he fed the Angel of YHVH. I believe, as Yah keeps an impeccable timetable, it was the day previous to Passover and the beginning of Unleavened Bread. Sarah makes enough bread for an army. Then the two angels go down to Lot's and see who they might passover prior to destruction. Notice that Lot feeds them unleavened bread..... A beautiful foreshadow of the Passover out of Egypt.

Alas, atonement is still realized in Yom Kippur and will be even more so in the millinial reign to come, as we will see the Shadow of then, and they saw the Foreshadow of before us. You could look at the time of Messiah as high noon, no shadow, but the real thing happening.
Ben Davis is artistic director of resTorah & resTorah arts, a design source that helps with art direction and coordination needs, as well as, artistic consultation and direction for Feasts and conferences. He is publisher of a believer's Torah Journal and Study called resTorahtories.
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HelenaZF
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I had never seen that connection between Abraham feeding the angels unleavened bread on that particular day. What a beautiful picture...and so like God to pre-tell everything he does in some way.
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