This is a question that we get asked more often than you’d think.
Maybe not in those exact words, but the underlying question always hints at the same thing:
If you’re a Christian, why would you celebrate “Jewish” Holidays?
Trust me, I once thought the same thing! The seven Feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Rosh HaShanah and Tabernacles) were not common terms or phrases that I heard regularly growing up in a small midwest town.
However, once I started really studying and exploring them, my understanding of scripture and of God’s desire to draw all men unto Himself completely exploded.
But let me back up. No, we are not Jewish and no, we did not convert to Judaism.
In general, the American Church (as a whole) has embraced the belief that the Feasts are Jewish Feasts. They are set apart for their religion, and that they are culturally, and in all other aspects, simply that: Jewish.
The Feasts were given to the Jews as a means to disciple them in their Faith, protect and uphold their beliefs, and ultimately to point them to the Messiah who was slain from the foundation of the earth. They have been kept and safe guarded by the Jews throughout history, but they belong to all Believers in Jesus Christ.
In fact, in Leviticus 23, when God gives the instructions for the Feasts to the Hebrew people, He doesn’t call them “Hebrew” feasts or “Jewish” Feasts — throughout scripture they’re refered to as the “Feasts of the Lord“. They belong to HIM and to all those who follow Him.
Plus, they’re really just a rehearsal for Greater Things to Come. In Leviticus 23 (NASB), The Lord tells the people that these are to be “perpetual” celebrations. The word there for “perpetual” is olam – it means “eternal” and it’s the same word that God uses to refer to Himself. The feasts were celebrated by the Jews, and then by Jesus and the early church, and somewhere along the way, anti-Semitism crept into the Body of Christ and we were robbed from the richness of one of the greatest discipleship tools we’ve ever been given.
But now, God is starting to bring them back. He’s restoring something that was taken from us and it will once again be olam in our hearts. We’re rehearsing now for what we’ll be doing in Eternity.
Now, as for why we celebrate them when, yes, we have Christmas and Easter within the Christian faith…
Because, in short:
they contain Life.
The principles and lessons that each Feasts explores and teaches aren’t just in remembrance of something, and it’s not just for the warm fuzzies. They’re truly Life-giving in their explanation and celebration of the One who was and is and is to come.
It’s like everything finally clicked and Bible passages that never quite seemed to fit, now fall into order and meaning.
The proverbial lightbulb came on and everything makes sense.
And believe me – they’re so much more than just celebrations.
Within the pattern of the Feasts, God has laid out the entire plan of Salvation, Sanctification, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the practical side (both spiritually and naturally) of being his Disciple.
Do you have “issues” in your life that have been there so long, that they just seem a part of you? Like you’ll never be free and it must just be your “personality” and your lot in life?
Have you ever wanted to know what it’s really like to be Free? And not just to feel free, but to actually BE Free?
That’s all addressed in The Feasts of Passover, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Have you ever wondered if the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is real? Like really real, not just tingly-feel-good but mountain-moving-empowerment? Does God still speak to his people?
Do you want to hear Him?
That’s all covered in the Feast of Pentecost.
Ever wondered what the End Times will look like? Ever wanted to know more about God’s timetable? (and no, we’re not talking specific days or years, but general patterns and chronology). That’s covered in all seven Feasts, but especially the last three.
Ever wondered why you pray and pray… and nothing seems to happen?
That question is answered in Pentecost and the season leading up to Rosh haShanah.
What does it really mean to be His disciple? Not to be fake, but to really have answers for the hard questions.
Do you really want to overcome?
You’ll find out how by studying Passover and Pentecost.
The church seems powerless to overcome the darkness. What are we doing wrong and when will we finally break through?
The lessons contained in all seven Feasts will answer those questions.
So the really long answer to a short question is that I don’t just celebrate the Feasts because I need to throw in some extra holidays throughout the year (although I do love fried donuts and matzoh ball soup!).
I celebrate the Feasts because through them, my Faith has gone from black and white to color.
photo amended by me, and originally from this photographer