Biblical Feast Days: Future Observance?

This is a continuation of the Biblical Feast Day series that started here.

We started out by exploring whose days they were and are.  Then, we looked at instances of New Testament observance of the days. We saw the apostle Paul centering his travel plans around the Lord’s feast days, keeping the feast days with Messianic believers, and encouraging them to continue to practice what they learned from him.

Now, we’re going to explore whether the scriptures reveal any future observance of the days.  Why?  Well, many say that the appointed times of God listed in Leviticus 23 are no longer necessary today.  If we find nothing in scripture that indicates a future observance, we may conclude that they are right, that at some point after the New Testament was written the days became unnecessary or optional.  But, if we do see scriptures pointing to feast days being kept in the future, we need to ask why they were kept in the disciples’ day, and will be kept in future days, but are not being kept today.

Matthew 24:20
Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

Here we find our Savior speaking to His disciples about the signs of the close of the age when there will be great tribulation, “such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matt 24:21).  He says, “if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved” (Matt 24:22).

We know this has not yet happened; it is a future time.  And when this future event happens, we are to pray that it doesn’t happen during winter or on a Sabbath.  The Savior assumes that His people will minimally still be observing the Sabbath day at the close of the age.

Isaiah 66:22-23
For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.

The coming of the new heavens and the new earth is as future as the Bible gets, which makes this one of the clearest references to future observances of some of God’s set-apart times.

On God’s calendar, the new moon indicates the start of a new month.  Since we know Passover is to be kept on the 14th day of the month, Unleavened Bread on the 15th day, etc, we have to know when the first day of the month is to properly calculate when the feast days occur.

So here, we get a glimpse at future new moon observance as well as another glimpse at future Sabbath observance. But are there any other feast days specifically referenced in a future context?

Zechariah 14:16-19
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

This section of scripture is set on the day when the Savior’s feet “shall stand on Mount of Olives” (Zech 14:4) and when “the LORD will be king over all the earth” (Zech 14:9).  Again, we know this hasn’t happened yet.

In this passage we have reference to something more than “just” a Sabbath.  Punishment is promised to those who do not go up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Booths, which is another name for the Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot.  And in case we didn’t catch the significance of attendance at this feast, the consequences of not attending are repeated three times.

Also interesting to note is that “everyone who survives of all the nations” is expected to keep the feast. This makes perfect sense in light of what we discovered in an earlier study: the feast days were to be for all people who worshiped God, both native-born Israelites and foreigners who joined themselves with Israel.  The days were never just for the Jews as some mistakenly believe.

Luke 22:15-16
And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Here our Savior says He won’t eat the Passover until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God, which means we’ll be celebrating Passover in the kingdom!

Conclusion

In addition to there being no Biblical evidence of the feast days coming to an end, there is evidence to the contrary. We see that at least some of the days will continue even after our Savior returns.

Given that they are God’s days (Lev 23:1-2), given to all of God’s people (Lev 23:1-2), kept by the Savior and all of the 1st century disciples (Acts 2:1, 16:13, 17:1-2, 18:4, 1 Cor 5:7-8,  1 Cor 16:7-8, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Acts 20:6, Philippians 4:9, Acts 20:16, Acts 27:9-10 ), and will be kept even after the Savior returns, why are we not keeping the days today?

In the next post we’ll take a look at when and why the observance of the feast days ended.

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