What Do the Holy Days Mean

for ChristiansToday?

 

 


God commanded Israel to keep His ‘feasts of the LORD.’ What is their relevance for Christians—and mankind—today?

b y R o g e r F o s t e r

 

 

Paul, while countering a local heresy, pinpoints the real value of these Holy Days to Christians. They foreshadow ‘things to come,’ he says. IS NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH, Old Testament Holy Days Incompatible? Absolutely not!

·         Why? How can festivals observed by ancient Israel be valuable to Christians today?

·         Simple! They reveal God’s master plan of salvation.

·         The Holy Days unveil for us the crucial keys to salvation.

·         They give us a step-by-step explanation of how God plans to reconcile all human beings to Him.

·         They reveal the big picture—the spiritual harvest of the whole world.

·         They give vivid meaning to the gospel of the kingdom of God.

·         Their value to the Church of the living God is incalculable!

How can we be sure that the Holydays reveal God’s plan of salvation for all mankind? After all, millions don’t understand, or they simply disagree. How can we be certain that we are right?

The key is in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, speaks about these Holy Days to a Christian church. What he says—and does not say—carries immense weight. Let’s examine what Paul says and understand what he means.

 

 Colossians2: 16 – 17

16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:

17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

 

This passage; probably more than any other in the Bible, is misinterpreted by those who reject God’s festival; and is confirmation to them that the Holy Days are unnecessary observances for Christians. Their reasoning is not only false; it is based on poor education. Paul, while countering a local heresy, pinpoints the real value of these Holydays to Christians.

 

·         They foreshadow” things to come,” he says.

·         They focus our attention on the future.

·         They connect the plan of God directly to the Commission Christ gave His Church.

 

Now let’s examine what Paul really says about Sabbaths, new moons and Holy Days.

 

Background to Colossians

First, we need some essential background to Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Paul was combating heresy. False teachers had infiltrated the church there. These deceivers heavily influenced the Colossians. They introduced their own religious philosophy—a mixture of both Jewish and gentile concepts. Paul warned,

 

Colossians 2:8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

 

Human traditions—the inventions of the human mind—were the foundation of the Colossian heresy. This human reasoning and teaching are what Paul opposed, not revealed instruction from God’s Word. Earlier, Jesus had soundly condemned the Pharisees for the something. They had elevated their own traditions to greater importance than God’s commandments,

 

Mark 7:8, 9, 13.

8. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

9. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and He sent them away.

13. And He left them , and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

 

 Tradition played an extremely important role in the life of the Jews at that time. Strict adherence to the Law of Moses, their ablutions, and traditions continued even while Christ was on the scene, and whom they rejected.  The Greeks had a long history of astrological (not astronomy) traditions that related planets and stars deities. Human tradition was beginning to subvert the Church of God in Colos'sae. Paul fought to keep the Colossians focused on Christ as the Head of the Church. These false teachers sought to persuade them to worship angels…

 

Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.

 

 to the neglect of their own bodies. None of these distorted ideas came from the Old Testament Scriptures. Paul characterized this Colossian heresy as “empty deceit” and “the basic principles of the world”

 

Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

 

The Good News is; Satan hates God’s plan.

 He wants to destroy every vestige of that plan, eradicating all knowledge of it. He is still ‘the god of this age. local tradition. It was an intolerable deception designed to change the very focus of their worship. They were being persuaded to ignore plain biblical instruction in favour of “the tradition[s] of men” Some elements of that deceptive philosophy survives in Christianity to this day.

Man-made regulations.

Shows that Paul characterizes these basic principles of the world? “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations? What regulations? “

 

·         Touch not;

·         Taste not;

·         Handle not;

 

According to the commandments and doctrines of men. These man-made regulations concerned things “which perish with the using”

 

Colossians 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using after the commands and doctrines of men?

 

Paul is discussing physical things—perishable items! Why is this important? The Colossian deceivers were among the forerunners of Gnosticism, a major religious movement that flourished in the second century. Gnosticism gets its name from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” Gnostics believed that higher, secret knowledge is available only to its adherents was necessary for salvation. The Gnostic teachers influencing the Colossians blended both traditional and nontraditional Jewish beliefs with pagan superstitions and integrated their astrological beliefs with the worship of angelic beings.

 In no way did this mixture of beliefs represent the mainstream Judaism of that day. Theirs was an aberrant sectarian philosophy nowhere taught in Old Testament Scripture. What were their main beliefs?

 

·         They believed that salvation could be achieved by constant contemplation of” spiritual” things, to the neglect of the physical body.

·         They believed in various orders of angels and that humans should interact directly with angels.

·         They regarded physical things, including the human body, as decadent and unworthy of their time and concern.

 

Paul explicitly states; that the judgmental attitudes he was countering all concern those things which perish with the using (obviously referring to physical things)—according to the commandments and doctrines of men”(verse 22). How clear! Paul plainly says that he is countering the commandments and doctrine of men, not the commandments of God. Why can’t people believe him? The Colossian heretics created their own prohibitive regulations—“do not touch, do not taste, do not handle”(verse 21)—against the enjoyment of physical things.

They were especially critical of the eating and drinking aspects of the Holy Day festivals observed by the Colossian members. That was not compatible with their idea of being “spiritual.” Their objections covered all feasting aspects of the Holy Days, but apparently not the observance of Holy Days as religious festivals. They regarded the observance of a Holy Day as spiritual, but feasting—eating and drinking for

enjoyment—was beneath them. Now we can understand what Paul really says to the Colossians.

He is discussing judging—the critical objections of some narrow-minded heretics to the enjoyment of physical things. He commands the Colossians not to be influenced by the false teachers’ objections to eating, drinking and rejoicing on Sabbaths, Holy Days and new moons. Criticized for feasting

 

Colossians2: 16 – 17

16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:

17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

 

 

The word regarding is translated from the Greek noun metros, meaning a “part” or “portion” of something. A more accurate rendering would be:” Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in any part of a Holy Day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days . . .

”Paul is just being consistent. Eating or drinking is a part of Sabbath and Holy Day observance. Both were a part of God’s instructions for rejoicing in observing those days.

 

Leviticus 23, Read All.

 

Deuteronomy 14:22-26

22. Thou shalt truly tithe (A tithe is a one-tenth part of something), all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.

23. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear (Revere) the LORD thy God always.

24. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set His name there, when the LORD thy God hast blessed thee:

25. Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shall go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:

26. And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.

 

In writing to the Colossians, Paul uses the word metros (“part”) to cover any other part or aspect of these days that the heretics might condemn or criticize. Nothing in this passage even suggests that the Sabbaths or Holy Days were abolished. Succumbing to the judgmental influence of those early Gnostic heretics is what Paul condemns, not the observance of Sabbaths and Holy Days.

Future fulfillment

Now back to the main purpose of the Holy Days for us today. Paul says they “are a shadow of things to come.” The phrase to come is a present active participle in the Greek. It means” things coming,” referring to the future, not the past. Any theologian who claims that Paul is referring to the Holydays as a shadow of things in the past is not being honest with the Greek grammar. The Greek requires it to point to the future. The Sabbath and the Holy Days foreshadow things to come—future events. There is no doubt about what Paul is saying. The Holy Days still represent future events in the plan of salvation. God’s Holy Days are also times for joy and celebration. He commands us to attend and rejoice with our entire family.” But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses . . . and there you shall go. There you shall take . . .your tithes, . . . your freewill offerings . . . and there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you” Premier Issue 11

 

Our individual calling is important, but God is working out a much bigger purpose than just our personal salvation.

God’s festivals were designed to be a wonderful blessing! He desires that we thoroughly delight in them. He wants us to experience together the joy of being His children. No wonder Paul attacks the misguided philosophy of the Colossian heretics with such vigour. They sabotaged the very spirit of God’s festivals. Paul defended the Christians’ right to feast on these feast days. The Sabbath and Holy Days are also called memorials. Their purpose is to make us aware of God’s plan, both past and future. The Sabbath is a memorial of creation.

 

 Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

 It is also a type of the rest that is to come.

 

Hebrews 4:4-11

4. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, “And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.”                                                                                                           

5. And in this place again, “If they shall enter into My rest.”

6. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

7. Again He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, “To day,” after so long a time; as it is said, “To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

8. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day.

9. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.

11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

 

 Some aspects of God’s master plan have already been fulfilled. The Holydays represent them as memorials. The Feast of Trumpets portrays what is still future, yet it also is called a memorial.

 

Leviticus 23:23, 24

23. And the LORD spake unto Moses saying,

24. “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation

25. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

 

Memorials make us remember all the plan of God. We keep them so we will never forget any major part of God’s master plan of salvation.

Servile: of or befitting a slave or a menial position

 

Majority of mankind blinded.

Why do so few understand God’s Holy Days today? They have been taught to reject them. Satan hates God’s plan. He wants to destroy every vestige of that plan, eradicating all knowledge of it. He is still “the god of this age”

 

2 Corinthians 4: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of GOD, should shine unto them.

 

He “deceives the whole world.”

 

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which decieveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 

Blinding the vast majority of mankind to the importance of God’ ways, including the Holy Days. No religion has maintained an accurate understanding of God’s plan without the Holy Days. Some discern important details of that plan correctly. But, without an understanding of God’s master plan as revealed by the Holy Days, they simply can’t put all the pieces together. Confusion has been the result. We should deeply appreciate the understanding these Holy Days give to us. And we should thank God that these days also picture the future, when all mankind will understand God’s great master plan. Those who are now blinded are just as much a part of that plan of salvation as we are. Only the timing is different. We must remember that people who are spiritually blinded are often very sincere, and we should never be judgmental toward them. Some have deep convictions and follow many right principles. They may not yet see the big picture or fully grasp the awesome plan of God, but the time is coming when they will. We need to appreciate the magnitude of the plan of salvation pictured by God’s Holy Days. Our individual callings are important, but God is working out a much bigger purpose than just our personal salvation. Christ died for all mankind

 

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

 

Romans 11:25-27

25. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:”

27. “For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

 

However, God shows no favouritism.

Christ died so all maybe saved! All mankind must yet learn the truth and come to repentance. We continue to have an important part in that process.

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4

1. I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.

2. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

4. Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.

 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward

 

Spread to the entire world

The wonderful truths we are learning now will be spread to the entire world.

 

Zechariah 14: 16-19

16. And it shall come to pass, that everyone 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.

17. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

18. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

19. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

 

There are no shortcuts. All peoples must be brought to real repentance before they will be saved. God’s Holydays will continue revealing the plan of God to mankind until His plan is complete. These days will always play a major role in bringing the whole world to repentance. The apostle Paul wrote,

 

Ephesians 1:3,4, 9, and 10

1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus; and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

3. Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:

9. Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

10. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

 

. What a wonderful plan! What a wonderful God!

 

SATAN'S COMING                                                                                                                         

      This is the point in time of Satan's arrival to earth, the first three hidden dynasties will be a thing of the past, they have set the world up for the fall, and prepared them to accept Satan and the fallen angels by instinct; without thought.  Everything that we know and hold dear will lose its value,

 

·         Wealth,

·         Order,

·         Laws,

·         Possessions of every sort,

     Even governmental forms will cease in power. 

 

In its place will be this new Religious form, which is called the head in Revelation 13: 3-5  

Revelation 13:3-5 

3."And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." 

4."And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, "Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with the beast?"  

5."And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two month."

 

 

Holy Day Calendar sunset to sunset.

 

 

 

2012 Holy Day Calendar sunset to sunset.

 

Passover (Observed evening before = 17)                        April 6

Days of Unleavened Bread                                               April 7 - 13

Pentecost                                                                             May 27

Feast of Trumpets                                                              September 17

Day of Atonement                                                              September 26

The Feast of Tabernacles                                                  October 1 - 7

The Last Great Day                                                           October 8

 

2013 Holy Day Calendar sunset to sunset.

 

Passover (Observed evening before)                               March 25

Days of Unleavened Bread                                              March 26 - April 1

Pentecost                                                                            May 19

Feast of Trumpets                                                             September 5        

Day of Atonement                                                             September 14

The Feast of Tabernacles                                                 September 19 - 25

The Last Great Day                                                          September 26