Inseparable parts of the calendars of all religions are feasts. However, Biblical feasts, having been introduced by the Lord (YHVH) Himself:
And Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, The feasts of Yehovah, which you shall proclaim, holy convocations, even these are My appointed feasts. (Lev. 23:1-2)
are of a far deeper significance and role.
Religious circles commonly think that Biblical feasts relate only to Jewish nation. However, the holy Scriptures say otherwise:
And Moses declared the feasts of Yehovah to the sons of Israel. (3. Mojs. 23:1-2, 44)
Therefore, the Lord revealed His feasts (that is His special times) through Moses to the Jewish nation, and through them and the Gospels to the entire world. In other words, every nation can decide whether to celebrate divine or pagan feasts, the latter being, unfortunately, a universal practice.
The Lord’s feasts have a significant typological role, and are therefore subject of this study. From a human viewpoint, they are the time of assembling of God’s people as well as the assembly (MIKRA KODESH) itself of the people. But from a little higher standpoint, as it will be seen, the feasts are the hours of special God’s action during His assembly (MO’ADE YHVH) with His creatures. In fact, God (complete Holy Trinity, as it will be seen) is the main actor, while the work he does is the essence of a feast, his creatures (including His people) being the main accomplices, and the service done by them being a frame (form), necessary for realization of God’ will. The precise time of the service is determined by day and hour. A prophetic day, as it will be seen, is a year, which can be ascertained by studying prophetic scriptures. The hour is, on the other hand, determined by a system of the feasts given by the Lord Himself, the feasts being, of course, calculated according to the natural, Biblical luni-solar calendar.
Feasts are mentioned to a greater or lesser extent throughout Moses’ Pentateuch, being defined decidedly in 23rd chapter of Leviticus (3rd Moses’ book). There the difference is noticeable between Shabbath, as the weekly feast, and other feasts happening once per year (annual feasts). The meaning of Shabbath having already been discussed (SEVEN AND THE BIBLE), this part of the book will deal mostly with annual feasts. But before we start studying the symbolism of the feasts, we will review some general observations regarding them.
The commonest word in the Hebrew text of the Bible for the word “feast” is MO’ED. The basic meaning of the word is “meeting”, then also “holy assembly (feast)”, “a meeting place” etc. Thus in the Holy Scriptures we often find the syntagm MO’ADE YHVH, translated commonly as “the feast of the Lord “ (although perhaps a designation “the assemblies of the YHVH” or “a special time of YHVH” would be more suitable), similar to OhEL MO’ED = Tabernacle (the Tent of Meeting) (Exod. 27:21, etc.). Semantically, the word MO’ED fits best the meaning, role and purpose of Biblical feasts.
Another word appearing in the Bible is HAG, whose root contains the word “circle”, “dancing (in circle)”, “rounding” etc, and thus corresponds best to the word “feast (holy day)” or “day of joy, of merriment”. It is used exclusively when talking about three annual pilgrimages: “the Feast of Unleavened Breads”, “the Feast of Weeks” and “the Feast of Booths” (v. Deut. 16:16 or Exod. 23:14-17).
Beside these names, also the syntagm MIKRA KODESH (holy assembly) is used, referring to special days of the feasts called also SHABBATH SHABBATHON (translated as “shabbaths for resting”). These days include weekly shabbaths, as well as seven annual shabbaths.
The part of the Bible dealing in most detail with the issue of feasts is Lev. 23, as well as Num. 28 and 29 (here in the context of sacrifes). As a feast, shabbath is alleged primarily as a “holly assembly” (MIKRA KODESH) and “shabbath for resting “ (SHABBATH SHABBATHON) on every seventh day. The other (annual) feasts relevant for this chapter relate to the months in the year (v. ps. 104:19), i.e. to particular days in these months.
All Biblical feasts are related (directly or indirectly) to the first (spring) and seventh (autumnal) months, and thus can be divided into the spring and autumnal ones.
The spring feasts (the feasts of the first month) are:
- Passover (14th day evening in the eve of the first month = the evening of 15th day);
- Unleavened Breads (from 15th to 21st day, inclusive);
- Firstfruits (“tomorrow after Sabbath” /Lev. 23:11/), most abstrusely determined term, so it will be elaborated separately; and
- Pentecost, 50th day after firstfruits, so the same said for the firstfruits holds for this day too. It falls in the first half of the third month, but is ranked among the group of spring feasts as being related to the first month through counting).
The autumnal feasts (the feasts of the seventh month) are:
- The Day of Loud Shouting (1st day of the seventh day, translated also as “Trumpet Day”;
- The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur (10th day of the seventh month);
- The Booths (i.e. huts of wickers, from 15th to 21st day, inclusive);
- “The Last Great Day” (22nd day).
Just a glance of the cited schedule of the feasts is enough to observe a formal similarity of these two groups. A detailed analysis reveals that there is not only a formal, but also an essential anti-similarity, which I named “duality of the feasts”, to be discussed later.
The same feasts can also be, on the other hand, divided into three groups, this time relative to the three pilgrimages (SHALOSH REGALIM), when “every male should come before the Lord God” of Israel (Deut. 16:16, Exod. 23:14-17, 34:22-23):
- The Feast (HAG) of Unleavened Breads (the feast of the beginning of barley harvest);
- The Feast (HAG) of Weeks (more precisely of “seven days” or “the feast of the firsts of wheat harvest”, meaning “Pentecost” or, as it is called today, Whitsunday).
- The Feast (HAG) of Booths (the feast of harvest at the end of a year).
The Jewish word hag is the root of the word for pilgrimage in Arabic (hajj) and some other languages.
The special days of these feasts are “holy assemblies” (MIKRAE KODESH), being at the same time “shabbaths for resting” (SHABBATH SHABBATHON). They are:
- The first day of the Unleavened Breads;
- The seventh day of the Unleavened Breads;
- Pentecost (= Whitsunday = weeks);
- The Day of Loud Shouting;
- The Atonement Day (Yom Kippur);
- The first day of the Booths, and
- “The Last Great Day”.
Based on the cited divisions one can draw interesting conclusions. First, it is noticeable that the main events linked to the FIRST Christ’s coming (the Lord’s Supper, crucifixion, resurrection, outpouring of Holy Spirit on the Apostolic Church) happened EXACTLY at the time of the spring feasts. It is logical to hypothesize that the main events linked to the SECOND Christ’s coming will happen EXACTLY at the time of the autumnal feasts.
On the other side, when we look at the division of the feasts into PILGRIMAGES, we see that the main role is:
- in the Feast of Unleavened Breads – had by Jesus (God Son);
- in the Feast of Pentecost – had by (God) Holy Spirit;
- in the Feast of Booths (a self-imposing hypothesis) – should be had by God Father.
When we look at festal annual shabbaths, we see there are seven of them (!?). If this “week” is not accidental, then the seventh shabbath, “the Last Great Day” must have a special role. And indeed, a typological analysis of the feast reveals that it should be the famous “Supper of the Lamb”.
The aforementioned theses are elaborated gradually and deepened in the following lines. But before starting with concrete issues, we will deal a bit with the syntagm “day and hour”, appearing in different variations throughout the Bible, as well as with the semi-feast of revolving sheaves (and the feast of Pentecost, related directly to it), because of its obscure localization.
In several places in the Holy Scriptures two expressions for time are used, of similar meaning. Thus in Ecclesiastes it is written:
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens: (Eccl. 3:1),
where for the term “season” in the first case the Hebrew word ZeMAN is used originally, while for “time” the word ‘ET.
Elsewhere, in the Book of Prophet Daniel, we read:
And He changes the times and the seasons; (Dan. 2:21),
where the words (this time Aramean) IDANAIA and ZIMNAIA are used, being plural of ‘IDAN and ZEMAN.
The Lord Jesus Himself while dwelling on our planet used similar terms, which reached us through the New Testament writings that are actually a translation of His statements spoken most probably in Aramean (then the spoken language in Palestine) and perhaps in Hebrew (well known even by middle educated Jews). Thus, for example, Matt. 24:36 reads:
But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father. (see also Matt. 24:50, 25:13, Luke 12:46 etc.),
where Greek words HEMERA = day and HORA = hour are used, having certainly the clearest meaning of all previous expressions. These words are used practically everywhere in the Gospel where next Christ’s coming is spoken about. However, a bit later in the Acts, we have:
And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. (Acts 1:7),
where again unclear, but this time Greek words are used, HRONOS = time and KAIROS = season. Considering that both these verses (Matt. 24:36 and Acts 1:7) refer to the same event (Christ’s second coming) and were spoken by the same person (Lord Jesus Christ), we conclude that these two expressions also have the same meaning, that is:
DAY = TIME, and HOUR = SEASON,
or in Greek
HEMERA kai HORA = HRONOS kai KAIROS.
On the other hand, when we compare the cited verses from the Old Testament in Hebrew/Aramean with the Greek translation in Septuagint, we come to the following equation:
ZeMAN ve ET (Hebrew) = HRONOS kai KAIROS (Eccl. 3:1),
‘IDAN ve ZeMAN (Arameian) = KAIROS kai HRONOS (Dan. 2:21).
Considering the fact that the spoken language at the times of both the Old Testament and of the three and half year period of Jesus’ service on the earth was Hebrew and/or Aramean, and assuming realistically that the corresponding translations were harmonized by the influence of Holy Spirit, we come to a chain of equations:
ZeMAN ve ‘ET (Hebrew) = ‘IDAN ve ZeMAN (Aramean) = HRONOS kai KAIROS (Greek) = HEMERA kai HORA (Greek).
Certainly, of all these expressions only the last one has a clear meaning. A prophetic “day” corresponds to a calendar year, while a prophetic “hour” to a period of about fifteen or so days (Eze. 4:5). But considering that these two last expressions in the New Testament refer actually to the time of Christ’s second coming, which should fall, as we have seen, into the time of the autumnal feasts (lasting in total fifteen + seven days), the conclusion is:
The term “hour” in the Bible marks a fixed time within a year, which is (in the case of God’s action) “the time of the feasts”.
1. The day and hour of the sacrifice of Golgotha
The main event in Jesus’ first coming to our planet is certainly his three and half year long preaching culminating with Golgotha and all accompanying it.
The “day”, that is the year in which the event would happen could be ascertained based on Dan. 9:24-27:
Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people and as to your holy city, to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going out of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem, to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction.
And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, until the end shall be war.
And he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and on a corner of the altar desolating abominations, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall be poured on the desolator. (Dan. 9:24-27)
Namely, when to the year when Persian emperor Cyrus issued the decree of rebuilding Jerusalem (457 BC, Ezra 7) 62x7 + 7:2 years are added, the score is 31 AD, that is the year (prophetic day) when the Lord sacrificed Himself.
The “hour”, that is the fixed time in the year when the event would happen precisely is determined by the system of the feasts, by the part pointing typologically to Christ as a lamb that would give itself for the sins of the world. It is doubtlessly the Passover and its accompanying feasts.
2. As another example, we will cite Dan. 7:25:
And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and plot to change times (ZIMNIN) and laws. And they shall be given into his hand until a time (IDAN) and times (IDANIN) and one-half time (IDAN).
Therefore, based on the aforementioned speculations, this verse could be translated as:
And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and plot to change times (FEASTS) and laws. And they shall be given into his hand until a time (YEAR) and times (YEARS) and one-half time (haf of YEAR).
3. The next example is taken from the New Testament:
Fear God and give glory to Him! For the hour of His judgment has come. And worship Him who made the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Rev. 14:7)
Here the first call is in question from a series of the three calls directed to he last generations on the Earth. “The hour of the judgment” mentioned here should be, based on the aforementioned speculation, a feast related to God’s judgment, which could probably be the Trumpet Day (the Day of Alarm), and especially, Yom Kippur (the judgment day, the Day of Atonement).
Of all the feasts, most abstrusely defined is the time for Firstfruits and the related time of the Pentecost:
Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
And he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah to be received for you. On the next day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Lev. 23:10-11)
And you shall count to you from the next day after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete.
To the next day after the seventh sabbath you shall number fifty days. And you shall offer a new food offering to Yehovah. (verses 15-16)
And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits... (verse 20)
It is obvious from the eleventh verse that the day of rest is concerned immediately after a shabbath. Consequently, the Firstfruits may fall between 15th and 21st day of the first biblical month, while, the Pentecost between 5th and 12th of the third biblical month.
The mainstream Judaism means that it is related to festal shabbath (i.e. Firstfruits falls exactly on 16th day of the first biblical month, and, the Pentecost exactly on the 6th day of the third biblical month). However, from verse 16, it is mentioned “the seventh sabbath”, which cannot be a festal one. It turns out that the ancient Jews conformed to weekly shabbath, the present way of counting having been introduced with coming of a Farisee family to the post of high priest in the second half of the first century AD. It was recorded in Mishna around 200 AD:
“The Boethusians say: 'The cutting of the sheaf does not take place at the end of the day of the feast [the first of the seven days of unleavened bread], but only at the end of the next regular Sabbath‘“ (Menahoth, 10:3).
Today, in determining these feasts, both Samaritans and the already mentioned “sect” of Karaites conform to weekly sabbath. The Firstfruits (in the form of the feast of Easter) and the Pentecost (in the form of the descent of Holy Spirit, or Whitsunday) are the only feasts retained by mainstream Christianity of all ones mentioned in the Bible.
Christians have accepted the first WEEKLY shabbath (in the form of the feast of Christ’s resurrection), as follows: the Orthodox after, while Catholics and Protestants during or after the first day of the Unleavened Breads.
The spring feasts are contained mostly in the first month of Aviv (later called Nisan). The autumnal feasts are, on the other hand, all in the seventh month, so that due to the multitude of the feasts this month is often called the SHABBATH month. In the following text we will analyze the crucial days of both months, and then draw appropriate conclusions. We will go successively.
The first day of the seventh month is YOM TERU’A, meaning “the day of alarm “, “the day of loud shouting “ etc. (or “trumpet day”. The root is the verb RUA, meaning “raise a shout” – whether fighting, joyful, desperate etc.). However, the first day of the first month is not mentioned as a feast day in Moses’ Pentateuch, although it seems sometimes emphasized, seemingly not accidentally. The first reference to this day is in Exod. 12:1-2:
And Yehovah spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you.,
You shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation on the first day of the first month... And you shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and sanctify him, so that he may minister to Me in the priest's office.... (Exod. 40:2,15)
Considering that the Tabernacle represents symbolically the entire created universe (see THE INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL TYPOLOGY, The Typology of the Temple), erecting temple is a typological picture of creation, regarding events as well as time. On this basis we conclude that God’s creation began really on the first day of Aviv (a little after 4000 BC).
It follows that the first day of that month is the first day in a year, marking a preparation for future events. Thus, we find in the Book of Prophet Ezekiel:
So says the Lord Jehovah: In the first month, in the first of the month, you shall take a bull without blemish, a son of the herd, and cleanse the sanctuary. (Eze. 45:18).
For a corresponding day of the seventh month there is no need to read between the lines:
...Speak to the sons of Israel saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial summons, a holy convocation. (Lev. 23:24)
With the first month, this day again is not festal, but we read:
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth of this month they shall take to them each man a lamb... Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year... And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it... (Exo. 12:3-6)
In the seventh month, this is the feast considered a center of all the system of feasts:
Also, on the tenth of this seventh month, this is a day of atonement... (Lev. 23:27)
The meaning of the day of purification is found in the 16th chapter of the same book. There the sacerdotal service on that day is described in detail (the relevant verses are 29 i 30). Among other things, there is written:
And he shall take the two he-goats and present them before Jehovah at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Aaron shall cast lots on the two he-goats; one lot for Jehovah and the other lot for a complete removal. (Lev. 16:7-8)
Thus on the tenth day of the first month the lamb for sacrifice is chosen (the type of Christ), while on the same day of the seventh month the he-goat of Azazel (Satan) is chosen and driven to wilderness.
It seems that on the tenth day of the first month, four days before his crucifixion (six days, recconing inclusively), our Lord entered Jerusalem:
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was (who had died, whom He raised from the dead).
On the next day, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, a great crowd who had come to the Feast
took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him. And they cried, Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord! (John 12: 1. 12-13)
On the other hand, on His Second Coming (which should happen, typologically, at the time of the autumnal feasts), the following event related to the nation of Israel should happen:
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! the one killing the prophets, and stoning those having been sent to her; how often I desired to gather your children in the way a hen gathers her brood under the wings, and you did not desire it.
Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13: 34-35)
Both the Feast of Unleavened Breads and the Feast of Booths (that is of huts of wickers) last seven days, from 15th to 21st in corresponding months. The Feast of Unleavened Breads is a kind of fast, when a hard unleavened bread is eaten, as well as bitter herbs etc.:
Observe the month Abib, and keep the Passover to Yehovah your God...
You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, the bread of affliction, for you came forth out of the land of Egypt in haste... (Deut. 16:1.3),
which is comparable with:
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.
I ate no food for delight... (Dan. 10:2-3),
And all the crowd arriving together at this sight, beholding the things happening, struck their breasts and returned. (Luke 23:48)
However, the Feast of the Booths is the most joyous feast day in the year:
And you shall take the fruit of majestic trees for yourselves on the first day, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the valley. And you shall rejoice before Yehovah your God seven days. (Lev. 23:40)
reminding much of the picture from Revelation:
After these things I looked, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands. (Rev. 7:9)
While the time of Passover is the time of the beginning of harvest, the time of the booths is the time of the end of fruit gathering. In the month of Aviv the firstfruits of grain are offered (Jesus):
And Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears, until the same day, until you have brought an offering to your God... (Lev. 23:9-10.14a),
in the seventh month there is “the feast of harvest at the end of every year” (Exod. 23:16), the gathering of the resurrected justified:
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to Yehovah seven days...
And you shall take the fruit of majestic trees for yourselves on the first day, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the valley. And you shall rejoice before Yehovah your God seven days. (Lev. 23:39-40).
A similar comparison is in Psalms:
He who goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Ps. 126:6)
alluding to the parables from the Gospel and Revelation:
And a great crowd coming together, and those in each city coming to Him, He spoke by a parable:
The seed is the Word of God.
Those by the roadside are the ones who hear; then the Devil comes and takes the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Those on the rock are the ones who, when they hear, receive the Word with joy. And these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
And those which fell among thorns are the ones who, when they have heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of life, and do not bear to maturity.
But those on the good ground are the ones who, in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luk 8:4-5,12-15)
And I looked, and behold, a white cloud. And on the cloud sat one like the Son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying in a great voice to Him sitting on the cloud, Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth was dried.
And He sitting on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. (Rev. 14: 14-16)
While the autumnal feasts point to the great shabbath – the millennial kingdom:
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years. (Rev. 20: 6),
the spring feasts point to the first day when the sin and death entered human kind, causing the suffering of an innocent lamb:
And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)
Considering that the Tabernacle represents symbolically the entire created universe, its erecting described in Exod. 40:2-15 is a typological picture of creation, regarding both the event and the time. Thus we can infer that God’s creation took place on 1st of Aviv, about 4000 BC. Such reasoning is confirmed also by the stated duality of the feasts. Namely, the spring feasts could be said to be imbued by a note of melancholy, while the autumnal ones are characterized by joy of life, corresponding to the typological structure: night-day, whereby evening precedes morning.
It is noticed in the previous parts of the book the great significance of typology in interpreting the Bible. We have touched the typology of person and typology of the week of the creation, and now we are passing to the typology of the feasts. It has been already said that the a feast represent “an hour” in a prophetic sense, that is the time in the year when certain events will happen defined typologically by the rites done during the feasts.
While the persons are outlined as types of one of two Trinities, and the week as an image of the cycle of God’s creation, the principal role of feasts is to point to the time and symbolism of the crucial events in God’s plan of the current creation. Namely, as it will be seen, all important events of the same type in the history of God’s people happen at the time of the feasts indicating them. The time is counted, of course, according to the natural, Biblical, lunar-solar calendar.
As the Old Testament Sanctuary represents an image (type) of the entire existing reality in the universe (that is of the temple where omnipresent God dwells) on one hand, and of a man as an individual (a temple where Holy Spirit dwells) on the other, so God’s day of rest celebrated by God’s people every week is an image of the “rest” from the time of creating the first man (Gen. 2:3), as well as of the “repose”, that is of the millennial empire (Rev. 20:6), which is still to be (and was pre-sensed by apostle Paul in Hebrews 4).
The Passover and Unleavened Breads were established as the feast of the exodus from Egypt:
And this day shall be a memorial to you. And you shall keep it as a feast to Yehovah throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by a law forever. And you shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For in this same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall keep this day in your generations by a law forever. (Exod. 12:14.17)
However, slaughtering of the Passover lamb, and even the very exodus from Egypt are just a type of “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) and which “shall save His people from their sins” (Matt.1:21), the event that happened around 1500 years later, and even the type of the ARCHETYPE of “the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). It is important here for us that the type, presented every year at the half of the first month, refers to both the events and time, that is to the date (“hour”) established according to the lunar-solar calendar. This was also noticed by spiritual writer E.G. White:
“The slaying of the Passover lamb was a shadow of the death of Christ. Says Paul: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." 1 Corinthians 5:7. The sheaf of first fruits, which at the time of the Passover was waved before the Lord, was typical of the resurrection of Christ. Paul says, in speaking of the resurrection of the Lord and of all His people: "Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." 1 Corinthians 15:23. Like the wave sheaf, which was the first ripe grain gathered before the harvest, Christ is the first fruits of that immortal harvest of redeemed ones that at the future resurrection shall be gathered into the garner of God.
These types were fulfilled, not only as to the event, but as to the time. On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." That same night He was taken by wicked hands to be crucified and slain. And as the antitype of the wave sheaf our Lord was raised from the dead on the third day, "the first fruits of them that slept," a sample of all the resurrected just, whose "vile body" shall be changed, and "fashioned like unto His glorious body." Verse 20; Philippians 3:21. (E.G. White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, Ch. Prophecies Fulfilled)
The day of Pentecost is called in the modern Israel MATAN TORA, that is “the day of presenting Torah”. Namely, from the 19th chapter of Exodus, it may be concluded that the proclamation of the Ten holy commandments was given in the third month. According to Jewish tradition it happened just on the day of Pentecost. What we may say today is that almost on the same day of the solar-lunar calendar when God revealed His commandments, 1500 years later He outpoured His Holy Spirit on the Apostolic Church.
The Pentecost has a meaning of giving, that is receiving God’s gifts. In the Old Testament time these were first of all Ten God’s Commandments, then also the complete “law” (or rather torah = "teaching") regulating all the particulars of the life of God’s people and thereby enabling a peaceful and blessed life in the promised land (Deut. 11:22-27); in the New Testament time it was the gift of Holy Spirit enabling a peaceful and blessed life in the "valley of weeping " (Ps. 84:6), which it will turn, after the second coming of Christ, "into water springs" (Ps. 84:6).
The Trumpet Day is the first autumnal feast, and is therefore related to the Second Coming of Christ, which is also confirmed by the words of the aforementioned spiritual writer:
"In like manner the types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service." (E.G. White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, Ch. Prophecies Fulfilled)
The original name of this feast, YOM TeRUA, could be translated as "the day of (battle) cry, of loud shouting, of the trumpet day of alarm etc.", reminding irresistibly and unambiguously of a detail from the story of the ten maidens:
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet him. (Matt. 25:6)
I think that one typological fulfillment of this event is the period from the beginning of the XIX century until now, whence the soon second coming of Christ has been preached. It is also certain that at the time of the Lord’s actual coming, something should happen right during this feast pointing to the event. But, as in the story of the ten maidens half of them were not prepared, which was unfortunately fatal for their final fate.
Likewise, on the Day of Atonement (YOM hAKIPURIM = the day of covering /sins/), according to the tradition, Moses descended from the Mt. Sinai with the new stone plates with God’s commandments (Exod. 34:1.28-35). Seeing him the Israelites rejoiced, for they were finally sure that their sin of making the calf had been forgiven. While descending, Moses’ face was radiant:
And Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face had become luminous. And they were afraid to come near him. (Exod. 34:30),
reminding strongly of the scene of Christ’s second coming given in Revelation:
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.
And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. (Rev. 6:15-16).
The day of Atonement symbolizes a crucial point in the events on the earth at Christ’s second coming. It is the time of the great tribulation spoken about by prophet Jeremiah:
For so says Yehovah, We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see whether a man is giving birth? Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, like a woman in labor, and all faces are turned into paleness?
Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jer. 30:5-7)
It is the time when God’s people, pressed with the anxiety in the fight against invisible enemies from one side, and the threats of pagans from the other, observe at once the "the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory." (Matt. 24:30)
On the other hand, this is the moment when:
...angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:1.2),
which is an anti-type of driving Azazel to the wilderness, on whom all the sin committed in the universe is now falling:
And Aaron shall cast lots on the two he-goats; one lot for Jehovah and the other lot for a complete removal....
And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the sins of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send away by the hand of a chosen man into the wilderness.
And the goat shall bear on him all their sins to a land in which no one lives... (Lev. 16:7-22)
Interesting is the typification of the Feast of Booths (huts of wickers) in the Old Testament. It was during this feast that Solomon consecrated the first temple:
And all the men of Israel were gathered to King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath to the river of Egypt, before Yehovah our God, seven days and seven days, fourteen days.
On the eighth day he sent the people away. And they blessed the king and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the good that Yehovah had done for David His servant, and for Israel His people. (1 Kings 8:2, 65-66)
Solomon is otherwise a type of Jesus Christ after His Second Coming. Therefore, it is not by chance that he said to the king of Tyre:
You know how David my father could not build a house to the name of Jehovah his God because of the wars which were around him on every side, until Yehovah put them under the soles of his feet.
But now Yehovah my God has given me rest all around. There is no foe nor evil happening. (1Ki. 5:3-4)
And we know to whom this verse refers:
"Yehovah said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand until I place Your enemies as Your footstool." (Ps. 110:1., see also 1 Cor. 15:25, Hebr. 10:13)
It seems that Solomon deemed this feast very important. Why would otherwise Jeroboam have changed right this feast intending to divert the ten tribes of Israel from coming to the assembly in Jerusalem:
"And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom shall return to the house of David!
If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Yehovah at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!
And he set the one in Bethel, and he put the other in Dan.
And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan.
And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi.
And Jeroboam ordered a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah. And he offered on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
And he offered on the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised out of his own heart. And he ordered a feast for the sons of Israel. And he offered on the altar, and burned incense."(1 Kings 12:26-33)
We find celebrating the Feast of Booths also in the eighth chapter of the Book of Nemiah, with the description of the revival of spiritual life of the returnees from the Babylonian slavery. This chapter describes the zeal of the people after the repair of Jerusalem’s walls. The reading of the book of law (that is of TORAH = PENTATEUCH) began “accidentally” on the first day of the seventh month. ?nd then, after exhortation by Nemiah and the priests to rejoice, "for the joy is a force of the Lord", we read:
And on the second day the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the Law.
And they found written in the Law which Jehovah had commanded by Moses, that the sons of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month,
and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth to the mountain and bring olive branches and pine branches and myrtle branches and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
And the people went out and brought in, and made themselves booths, each one upon his roof, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the Water Gate, and in the street of the Gate of Ephraim.
And all the congregation of those who had come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths. For since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day, the sons of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. (Nem. 8:13-17)
Thus we have again that the return of the Jews from Babylon in the time of Esra and Nemiah is an image (type) of the exodus of God’s people from a spiritual Babylon, regarding events as well as time, but only according to Biblical calendar.
The booths symbolize the RESURRECTED “righteous”. It is the most joyous and merriest feast in the Bible, "the feast of the harvest at the end of the year ". What can be more beautiful picture of the joy of the saved than this feast? This is indicated also by the detail of “palm branches in their hands" (Rev. 7:9).
It has been already said that this is the day following immediately the Feast of Booths, and is at the same time a festal shabbat. When reading the Bible, many fail to notice that this day exists independently from the Day of Booths, but associate it to the Booths, after the model of the Feast of Unleavened Breads, whose first and last days are festal shabbats. However, when the symbolical meaning of this feast is deciphered, its specific role is observed. In the entire Bible, this feast is mentioned explicitly only in John’s Gospel, which will still help us to find out its anti-type (fulfillment):
And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (Joh. 7:37-38)
This call certainly reminds of the call to “the great supper”:
... A certain man made a great supper and invited many.
And he sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, Come, for all things are now ready. (Luke 14:16-17),
and especially of the last Biblical promise and call to God’s people:
And He said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who thirsts I will give of the fountain of the Water of Life freely.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let the one hearing say, Come! And let the one who is thirsty come. And he willing, let him take of the Water of Life freely. (Rev. 21:6, 22.17)
We can conclude from the cited verses that this feast symbolizes simply “the feast of the Lamb’s supper” (Rev. 19:9).
But not only positive events were happening by Biblical calendar, but also the negative ones. Thus in the report of the destruction of Jerusalem at the time of Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar we read:
And in the fifth month, on the seventh of the month; it was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; Nebuzaradan the chief of the executioners, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
And he burned the house of Yehovah... (2 Kings. 25:8-9)
The Jewish tradition says that the Temple was not burnt on the same day, but two months later. A verse apparently contradictory to this one shows that the latter can be true:
And in the fifth month, in the tenth of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, chief of the executioners, who served the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem.
And he burned the house of Jehovah, and the king's house. And he burned with fire all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great ones. (Jer. 52:12-13)
On the same day by the lunar-solar calendar, now at the time of army commander Titus, Roman legions entered the Temple. In his book “War of the Jews”, Joseph Flavius described the event in this way:
God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon. “War of the Jews”, Book VI, Chapter 4/5.
On the same day (according to Jewish tradition) a group of twelve representatives of Israelite tribes came "to Moses and Aaron and the assembly of the sons of Israael” (Num. 13:27) with a discomforting report about the land of Kanaan; likewise, according to historical sources, on that day in 1492 AD the expulsion of the Jews from Spain began, and in 1942 AD the first gas chamber began to work in the nazi Germany (LES LAMENTATIONS, Traduction et commentaires fondes sur les sources talmudiques, midrachiques et rabbiniques). This day is in Israel of today a day of sorrow and fasting, but actually the ninth of Av is taken, since, according to the tradition, in both the cases then the fire was set that burned the Temple.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and you have left undone the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith. You ought to have done these and not to leave the other undone. (Matt. 23:23)
As we have seen, the feasts are an image (type) of crucial God’s activities regarding both events and time. It is only when they saw Christ on the cross that God’s creatures throughout the universe were clear who Satan was, what was his character and ultimate goal. Until then he had had access to the heavenly capital (remember Job, chapters 1 and 2). Only then they saw it finally and irrevocably.
And the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent called Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and those tabernacling in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and in the sea! For the Devil came down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a little time. (Rev. 12:9.12)
Likewise, it was only then that God’s creatures got clear regarding the fullness and deepness of God’s love. Only then people got a true model (hiPODEIGMA) to follow and strive for it. Christ, the God-man, explained that the law (TORAH) is something given for universal welfare:
The shabbath came into being for man's sake, and not man for the shabbath's sake. (Mark. 2:27),
not something self-purposeful. The law is not an ultimate goal for acquiring an absolute righteousness, but just a means (legal apparatus) for achieving a sublime goal – return of God’s form in fallen God’s creatures. The law is a product and legal means for expressing love. Righteousness, as a fulfillment of the law, is not an ultimate goal to strive for. It is just a necessary precondition, a side result of a being striving for an ultimate goal – similarity with Christ. One gets an impression that it was not God who introduced the question of righteousness, but Satan or Devil (Gr. DIABOLOS = accuser, /more precisely/ slanderer) and his followers, as a means of accusing God’s creatures and even God Himself. On the other hand, our spiritual level does depend on the level of righteousness (fulfillment of the law). Thus, for example, we read in the Book of Prophet Ezekiel about a group of “the saved”:
But the Levites who have gone far away from Me, when Israel went astray; those who went astray from Me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
And they shall not come near Me, to do the office of a priest to Me, nor to come near any of My holy things, in the most holy place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. (Eze. 44:10.13),
while for another it is writen:
But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me, and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood, says the Lord Yehovah. (Eze. 44:15)
But especially important for us today is that the feasts are not just an event-temporal type, but also have an essentially, existentially important dimension, of being a necessary frame (form) for crucial God’s activities. The basic characteristic of the frame is assembly. The participants of the assemblies are:
- God, as the main person, then
- God’s people (certainly together with the angel armies that protected it) and
- God’s adversaries (certainly with the invisible armies of the prince of darkness).
Thus, during the exodus from Egypt there were God manifested through Moses and the pillars of smoke and of fire to protect them from diurnal heat and nocturnal cold, then God’s people to whom Moses had sent blessings, but also the Egyptian pharaoh and his army to whom Moses “brought” damnation, while the fiery pillar prevented them from realizing their evil intentions.
At the time of crucifixion we also have Christ – God, then his people, from the apostles and other followers, then the women that followed and took care of them, to the Roman captain who having seen the entire scene “began to praise God”. Finally there are also the adversaries, from the ecclesiastic and civil leaders of Jewish people to Pilate and his soldiers and the raging mass of people that “did not know what they were doing”, as well as Satan himself and his invisible army inspiring them.
On the Day of Pentecost there was again God – Holy Spirit, God’s people receiving it, and the others that did not repent, resulting in their utter wreck forty or so years later.
During the exodus from Egypt, none of the earthly participants had idea that a special type of annual time was in question. In Jesus’ time almost all knew that it was the time of a feast, but no one except Jesus knew that it was right the day and hour of fulfilling the pre-images (anti-types) indicated by the feasts. Further, it is clear that celebrating the feast bore not blessing to many Jews, while it did to several Roman soldiers (as pagans who did not celebrated God’s feasts) present at the events, reminding me of the story of separating sheep from goats (Matt. 25:31 46), where many sheep wonder why they have not gotten to the right side, and many goats vice versa.
It was necessary for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that God’s people were gathered to be witnesses (Acts. 2:23) to "the Son of Man being lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness",
So that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14 15)
that they could be convinced both in their sinful nature and the deepness of God’s love.
Likewise it was necessary that the same convinced people should be gathered on the day of Pentecost, so that while thinking about Spirit in those fifty or so days after the murder and resurrection of the Savior, they were prepared for “repentance, baptism and accepting the gift of Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). How great blessing was for the people the living image of crucified Savior, and then of resurrected Kings of Kings!
Now a logical question is raised whether with the Second Coming of Christ people should be prepared during the time of the feast even more than with Christ’s first coming or, like in the time of the exodus from Egypt, to give themselves to a chaos, intuition and God’s mercy?
Human nature demands relieving of the daily works, the days of associating and exchanging experiences with both God and people, or retreating and settling the experiences. Therefore Creator specified the most suitable time for such activities, in the form of the cited feasts.
On the other hand, the same human psyche protests against imposing limitations. Therefore observing God’s feast is felt as an additional rule, additional burden, such as felt by the Jews, and especially the converted pagans in the time of Jesus Christ, and later on.
It seems that just for these reasons God’s people ceased to celebrate Divine feasts, with most diverse rationales. However, then the former need of soul appeared, so that surrogates of God’s feasts originated.
Thus, instead of God’s SHABBATH having a clear typological deepness and been introduced by Creator Himself, people introduce a false shabbath (the first day of the week – Sunday or sixth day - Friday), but allegedly to the “glory” to the same Creator.
Similarly is with the annual feasts. The Divine feasts had been abolished to prevent “Judaization”, but then new half-pagan ones were introduced. True, Divine feasts indicative of the past have been retained. Thus Christians have Easter and Pentecost, while Muslims have Ramadan (the month of fasting, a counterpart to the Unleavened Breads) and Eid ul-Adha (alias Qurban Bairam, as called in Turkey and its satellites) – the memory of Abraham’s sacrificing, according to Muslims, not Isaac but Ishmael - while the feasts indicating next Christ’s coming have been abolished. As Jeroboam abolished the Feast of Booths after Solomon’s death and established a new surrogate (1 Kings, 12:26 33), so the “church” abolished the Feast of the Booths but converted the pagan feast of rising sun (winter solstice) to the day of Christ’s birth (Christmas) (although the Gospel of Luke indicates that the Lord was born most probably in the seventh Biblical month, right in the time of the Feast of Booths).
And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation (as our beloved brother Paul also has written to you according to the wisdom given to him,
as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction). (2 Pet. 3:15 16)
It could be said that there are two main causes of human negative feeling regarding Biblical feasts.
The first one is of a purely psychological nature. Namely, the feasts are considered to be an additional rule, another burden, similarly as felt by the Jews of Jesus’ time. An antivirus for these bugs is the fact that the feasts should be simply times of assembly, associating and acquainting both mutually and with God being on of the basic human needs.
The second reason is of a bit more serious nature, based formally on a wrong interpretation and understanding of the Gospel’s messages, especially of the parts "hard to understand". Such misinterpretation has been used by the force still "trying to change the times and laws" (Dan. 7,25.), described excellently by apostle Paul in his letter to Thessalonians:
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming,
whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,
so that all those who do not believe the truth, but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned. (2 Thess. 2:8 12)
Thus we have that this force, under a motto that the Lord had abolished shabbaths and the feasts, has introduced pagan shabbath and pagan feasts.
Sure, both shabbath and feasts are not predominant in God’s plan of salvation and consecration of his creatures, but, on the other hand, if their observing derives from right motives, they are a kind of a mark of fullness of obedience to God’s will and of similarity to Christ. As a consequence of the unclean motives regarding the feasts and shabbaths, there are two extremes:
(1) The first is putting the secondary elements of piety (form) to the fore. Here belong, for example, the learned Jews of Jesus’ time, who favored these forms of expressing “piety”, and were reprimanded by Jesus in his famous speech recorded in 23rd chapter of Matthew’s Gospel:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and you have left undone the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith. You ought to have done these and not to leave the other undone.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Even so you also appear righteous to men outwardly, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matt. 23:23, 27-28)
This extreme was characteristic for the Jewish church of the time of Jesus active preaching on the Earth, and began also to attack seriously the first apostolic church, which is evident especially from the letters of apostle Paul. It is also characteristic for the piety of the modern age, when the living relationship with the living Lord is replaced by various rituals and ceremonies. Even modern psychologists have concluded that none rituals or plays can substitute a sincere, spontaneous close relationship between persons (see something by Eric B?rn, Mavis ?lein etc.).
(2) The other extreme originated, by well-known Satan’s tactics, as an antithesis to the previous one, and follows it chronologically. Thus we have here an opposite case, paying attention to which is primary (essential), but also utter neglecting God’s form, contrary to the last part of the verse Matt. 23:23 – “You ought to have done these and not to leave the other undone.” However, every essence still looks for its form, so that we are witnesses today to a Christianity that has discarded God’s form and introduced the pagan one, which in turn generates again its scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who keep and favor this now pagan form instead of which is the most important in the Bible "justice, mercy and faith". Thus we have today as a main characteristic of almost all religions either purely pagan rituals and ceremonies or mixed with so-called “Biblical” ones, as a basic form of expressing piety.
A couple of critical Biblical verses used to disrupt God’s form given in the Holy Scriptures (beside an ample of the other ones favoring the form) were written by apostle Paul.
(1) The first place is in the letter to Colossians. We will cite it complete, in order to avoid separating some verses from their context:
Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
And you are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power,
in whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ,
buried with Him in baptism, in whom also you were raised through the faith of the working of God, raising Him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.
Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it.
Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or in respect of a feast, or of the new moon, or of the shabbaths.
For these are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. (Col. 2:8 17)
Based on these verses, related to the feasts and shabbaths, the following two conclusions are often drawn:
(a) the feasts and shabbaths are “nailed on the cross";
(b) the feasts and shabbaths are “just a shadow of what was to come",
as well as the demand:
(c) let none condemn you... for a feast... or shabbaths.
Not delving into what the apostle himself wished to say, the first conclusion was denied by the Lord Himself as soon as fifty two days after the “cross”, by the descent of Holy Spirit on the apostles and forming the first apostolic church, exactly on the day of “Judaic” feast of PENTECOST. With this event, the feast was not only confirmed, but it got its full sense (so-called ANTI-TYPE). Even the church has retained this Judaic feast (more known as the day of the “Descent of Holy Spirit” or “Whitsunday"), as well as the Feast of Firstfruits more known as the day of "Resurrection of Christ". And if the Pentecost and the spring feasts that are really “a shadow of which already happened" regarding both the events and time have not been abolished, as seen from the universal Christian practice of today, then even more so are the autumnal feasts that are the “shadow” of which is yet to happen.
As to the demand of “not condemning”, on the basis of the Holy Scriptures it could refer more justifiably to "celebrating" then to "non-celebrating" the feasts. But we were told by the Lord not to judge (Matt. 7:1) other people at all, even for obvious sins, let alone for violating formal rules. But the most exquisite answer to this problem was given by apostle Paul himself in his epistle to Romans:
What then shall we say that our father Abraham has found, according to flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has a boast; but not before God.
For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness."
But to him working, the reward is not reckoned according to grace, but according to debt.
But to him not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Even as David also says of the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness without works,
saying, "Blessed are those whose lawlessnesses are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man to whom the Lord will in no way impute sin."
Is this blessedness then on the circumcision only, or on the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
How then was it reckoned? Being in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. (Rom. 14:1 10)
These most wonderful thoughts are at the same time an introduction to the explanation of:
(2) the second critical place regarding observing the feasts found in the letters to Galatians. We will cite again the complete place:
But I say, Over so long a time the heir is an infant, he does not differ from a slave, though being lord of all;
but he is under guardians and housemasters until the term appointed before by the father.
Even so we, when we were infants, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, coming into being out of a woman, having come under Law,
that He might redeem those under Law, so that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
So that you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.
But then, indeed, not knowing God, you served as slaves to those not by nature being gods.
But now, knowing God, but rather are known by God, how do you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements to which you again desire to slave anew?
You observe days and months and times and years.
I fear for you, lest somehow I have labored among you in vain. (Gal. 4:1-11)
I think there is no need here to enter a discussion whether Paul meant here Judaic days, months, times and years, or perhaps pagan ones, which is subject of dispute of many commentators. We find the answer to the essence of the issue in the cited verses of the letter to Romans, which we will, for its importance, cite once again:
One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind.
He who regards the day regards it to the Lord; and he not regarding the day, does not regard it to the Lord...
So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God.
Then let us not judge one another any more, but rather judge this, not to put a stumbling-block or an offense toward his brother. (Rom. 14:5-6.12-13.)
The essence of the problem of Galatian church is not in observing days etc, but in their beginning to consider the formal rites a means of salvation, while Paul points to the essence of the plan of salvation and consecration. Therefore, the point is the virus of justification by deeds, that is by which is visible, inserted to the first church by the same elements criticized by Jesus in his sermon cited at the beginning of this text.
To see how these Paul’s words echoed in Christianity of today, it suffices to look at church calendars, where, without exception, every day in the year is assigned a “saint”.