Monday: Jewish Feasts

John 5:1

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1, NKJV).

Image © Providence Collection from

Image © Providence Collection from

The first major festival period in the Jewish calendar year is the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which commences with Passover. The festival commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, when the angel of death passed over the homes of those who put the blood on their doorposts. The Gospels record three occasions when Jesus celebrated Passover (Luke 2:41-43, John 2:13-23, Matt. 26:17-20).

Fifty days after Passover came the feast of Shavuot, often referred to by its Greek name, Pentecost. Although the Scriptures don’t provide a reason for Pentecost, the rabbis believed that it commemorated the giving of the law to Moses. There is no record in the Gospels that Jesus celebrated Pentecost. However, before His ascension He counseled His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). This event actually occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

The final festival season in the Jewish calendar were the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The Day of Atonement signifies the day on which sin was cleansed from the camp and the people were at one with God. Booths commemorates the time when Israel had to live in tents in the wilderness.

In addition to the feasts of Moses’ laws, the Jews have two other festivals that commemorate God’s historical intervention. The first is Purim, which marks the deliverance of the Jewish people from genocide, when Esther appealed to the Persian king. The second is Hanukah, also known as the feast of Dedication (John 10:22), which celebrates the victory of the Maccabeans over the Greeks in 164 B.C.

Of course, the biblical feasts were done away with long ago at least as far as Christians are concerned. They all met their fulfillment in Christ. However, we can learn a great deal through studying them and the messages that they contain, because all of them teach lessons about God’s saving grace and power to deliver.

Though we no longer keep the feasts, what things can we do that help to keep before us the reality of God, what He has done for us, and what He asks of us?



Monday: Jewish Feasts — 27 Comments

  1. Booths represents again that people will leave in the wilderness, then why when we are camping we look for luxurious places? Poor are not able to camp. Will it have a meaning in ten years time to our kids or it will just like holiday out?

  2. While my family and I are Seventh Day Adventists, we frequently attend a Messianic Jewish synagogue to learn about the culture and customs to which Jesus and his disciples were accustomed. Going to synagogue and worshiping in the Jewish style taught me an important lesson. Judaism and Christianity are inextricably linked. A Christian without a profound knowledge of Judaism miss the rich history and culture found within the Bible. A Jew without the good news of Jesus Christ is a wandering traveler with no destination. Having a firm grasp of both religions give believers a holistic experience with God.

  3. “Though we no longer keep the feasts, what things can we do that help to keep before us the reality of God, what He has done for us, and what He asks of us?”

    Well in a sense we do keep some of those feasts or the spirit of those feasts. Christians still keep Passover (often called Easter in English speaking churches) recalling what Christ has done for us being our Passover lamb dying for us and his resurrection. We also keep Christmas which like Hanukah was not commanded in mosaic law but became a tradition of God’s people. At Christmas we commemorate Christ’s advent, coming to earth and taking on humanity. Both of these feasts/holidays many of us find deeply moving and significant.

  4. God gives us commandments to help keep us focused on what is most important and how to stay safe. All of His guidance is meant to keep us safe, help us stay close to Him and, in the end, to give us more freedom and happiness.

    The word "commandment" might make us think of the Ten Commandments—a list of "Thou Shalt Nots"—God does not only tell us what we should not do, but He also tells us what we should do. His greatest hope is for our eternal happiness, so we can be sure that His commandments are not restrictive rules, but they are divine guidance meant to protect us from harm and lead us to better ways of living.

  5. When people ask why Seventh-day Adventists do not keep the feast days, I tell them that we do indeed keep them- literally. We recognize that when Jesus was crucified it was literately the Passover. We are now literally keeping the Day of Atonement since 1844. The feast days in the Old Testament were not literal feast days. They were symbolic of the literal feast days we now keep. When we get to heaven we will literally keep the feast of tabernacles. So the fact is that those who keep the Old Testament feast days are not actually keeping them. They are only keeping the symbolic feast days which were a shadow of the literal feast days which we now keep.

    • “When people ask why Seventh-day Adventists do not keep the feast days?”

      I presume to context of that question is “since Adventist keep the Seventh Day Sabbath then why don’t Adventists keep the feast days as well?” This stated in such a manner to suggest keeping feast days like Passover and Pentecost would be just as unthinkable as keeping the Seventh Day Sabbath? But wait a moment does not the majority of Christianity observe Passover and Pentecost? It thus seems to be a rather ironic question to me! Even more so if you consider how many different Christian denominations now sponsor and support Messianic Congregations that keep the Seventh Day Sabbath and all the various Jewish feast days. I do not think there is any logical basis for people to judge Adventists anymore for observing the Sabbath.

      • Yes, the 1st feast was the Passover, the 2nd feast was Pentecost and the 3rd feast was the feast of Tabernacle which was the last. Please read the texts mentioned above in some of my comments.

      • NO! If you read Leviticus 23. 1st feast - Passover, 2nd feast - Feast of Unleavened Bread, 3rd feast - Feast of First Fruits, 4th Feast - Pentecost, 5th Feast - Feast of Trumpets, 6th Feast - Day of Atonement, 7th Feast - Feast of Tabernacles.
        Passover, Pentecost (Shavuot in Hebrew) and Tabernacles were the feasts that the men were required to go to Jerusalem to sacrifice.

  6. The Feast of Tabernacles has a resemblance to Camp Meetings, which may or mat not have lost their relevance. The purpose of Camp Meetings is a good one and knowing members outside our home church is beneficial and encouraging. Ours is a world family.

  7. I am not so sure if I am following the lesson for today from some of the comments. For Monday we are looking at three different types of feasts as mentioned in the Old and New Testament,talso two other festivals mentioned that was celebrated but not in Moses’ time on earth. Those three feasts as mentioned in the laws of Moses were specific and for the Jews before Christ death. Those feasts were specifically mentioned in Exodus 23: 14-19, Leviticus 23: 4-44, and Deuteronomy 1: 1-17. Those feasts were also known as Holy convocations (Leviticus 23:2). They were to take place at a specific location, a specific time of the year, specific month, specific day, last for a specific time and specific time of the day (even). They were also known as ordinances (An order, decree, rules, regulations, or law given to someone/group of people to be carried out).
    The first feast- “Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover just before His death, He celebrated it and is known as our communion service/last supper/foot washing. So brethren, we do not need to celebrate the Passover Feast anymore but ‘communion service’. See Matthew 26: 17-35.
    Pentecost- The meaning of Pentecost is fifty (50). Fifty days after Passover was the Pentecost celebrated, same is called ‘Feast of Weeks/Feast of Harvest. That was celebrated by counting seven Sabbaths then on the morrow or the following day (Leviticus 23: 15). After Jesus resurrection from the grave, He spent forty (40) days on the earth and He told His disciples to wait for the Holy Ghost and not to leave Jerusalem, the stayed for another ten days total equal to 50 days. On self-same day the Holy Ghost came on then Pentecost. Now we should be praying for the Holy Ghost to baptize us as He did at that time.
    Feast of Booths/Tabernacles and Day of Atonement. Before Christ the High Priests were ordained; to cleanse the sins from the early sanctuary. Christ is reviewing the books and cleansing sins from the heavenly sanctuary. So you see brethren, we have it in the word, we do not need to undo the past, but move on as Christ word showed us, it is all about Him.

  8. Why we Adventist always think we are deffferent then the other religion, do they served different God or give me an example please

    • My sister, it is not a matter of being different from the other religion because 'religion' cannot save us. We have to allow the Holy Ghost/Jesus to live in us to be save. History tells me there are approx. 10,000+ different religions and one of those religion is known as the Christian religion (followers of Christ). Also there are approx. 33,000+ Christian religions. Do you think all of those religions can be right? To know a true religion we have to study the bible and ask the Holy Ghost to direct us to the true religion. The bible says a true religion and undefiled before God is one loves the Lord and takes care of others, 1James 1:25-27 see 1 Timothy 5:8. Also one who keeps the commandments of God and have the testimonies of Jesus, see Revelation 14:12
      Revelation 19:10.

    • It is true Marie-Louise; sometimes we are pretty arrogant about our differences and spend a lot of time justifying them. I like to think that we are different, not so much because we are right, but because God has charged us with extra responsibility. Once we recognise that the Gospel calls us to be responsible for sharing it by the way we live, that leaves no room for religious pride.

    • There are different religions because each religion has something that is different from the others, things that they cannot agree with each other. Take our church for example, there are SDA Churches who allow working on Sabbath, who can eat unclean foods, who only eat vegetables and who allow decorations in their bodies. They separated from the mother church because they hold some belief that do not agree with us and because of that we become different from each other. Most of these churches bear the name Seventh Day Adventist Church but they do not belong to us.

      But out of the so many Christian religions in the world (33,000 plus as Marva mentioned), there are only two things that can happen, either ALL OF THEM ARE FALSE or ONLY ONE OF THEM IS CORRECT. To have all of them true or more than one of them true cannot happen because there is only one truth and only one God.

      As to your question "Do different religions serve different gods?", my answer is a Big YES. Each kind of Christian religion is serving different kinds of god only with the same name (Jesus). To simplify, since there is only one God, this means that if you are not in the church that He himself founded, it simply implies that you are not serving God but the enemy of God. To simplify further, Since there are only two powers on earth, then if you are not serving God then you are serving Satan. "Not all who say Lord, Lord is a true church of God but only the one who does His will.....can enter His kingdom. "

  9. Marva, i have taken note of your explanation concerning Pentecost. yesterday when my family and I were going through the lesson, we wondered whether The word Pentecost was crowned as a day when the Holy spirit came on disciples or whether it had been there even before that particular event. Let someone clarify please

    • The word Pentecost was in usage by Greek speaking Jews for nearly two centuries before the event recorded in Acts.

    • Look up the meaning Pentecost in the dictionary. It says fifty. The bible specifically said fifty days or the were to count seven Sabbaths then on the morrow was the 'Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost.

    • Pentecost was known as Shavuot in Hebrew. It is interesting to note the the "law" was given at Mt Sinai 50 days after the 1st Passover.

  10. I have never understood why all other Old Testament feasts were done away with except the camp meeting festival? But I love the camp meeting though.
    Or rather am asking why do we still commemorate the camp meeting yet it was an OT practice?

    • I really do not think camp meeting is an Old Testament Feast. Camp meeting only has one superficial similarity with the Feast of Tabernacles and that is camping outside, in most the other details it differs.

    • My Sister the camp meeting we have now in our day and age have nothing to do with and do not resemble the Feast of Tabernacle/Ingathering. That feast was held in the 7th month known as the month of Ethanim or Tishri at the close of the agriculture season. That month corresponds with our month October. The people dwell in booths for 7 days. (And I can further explain the end of 2300 days/yrs. prophecy and atonement) and how all of these work together.

  11. Thinking about the feast of tabernacles. If this was a memorial of the wilderness experience then it couldn't have been instituted, or at least practiced, until AFTER Israel entered the promised land. This is one feast that couldn't be a type of Christ's ministry unless it is a celebration of our final translation to our promised land. Perhaps it is a celebration we will observe in the new earth. Camping out be cool skeeters, creepy crawlies, or nocturnal flesh-eating beasties.....


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