This is the conclusion of the Biblical Feast Day series that began here.
This series has attempted to answer lots of questions about the feast days. But now that we’ve processed through all of those, we’re faced with new questions:
- Are the feast days required for today?
- Is it wrong, sinful, or dishonoring to God to not observe them?
- Do we have freedom in Christ choose whether or not to keep the holy days?
These are important questions, ones I spent about a decade wrestling with. To answer them I’d like to line up the conclusions I’ve drawn for each post in this series.
Reviewing the Series to Answer These Questions
If we belong to the Lord, then the feast days belong to us and we should keep them joyfully. The feast days belong to the Lord. He passed them to His people, Israel. The people of Israel have always included all 12 tribes (not just the tribe of Judah, otherwise known as the Jews) as well as all any foreigner who chose to follow God. Followers of the Savior are part of Israel, which throughout all of scripture is the group of people for which salvation and membership in the kingdom is provided.
If we want to walk as the Savior walked, we should keep the feasts. Not only did the Savior keep the days, but New Testament disciples (both Jew and non-Jew disciples) kept the days even long after the Savior was resurrected from the dead.
Since we’ll be celebrating them in the future, we should keep them now. There is simply no scriptural evidence of the feast days coming to an end. To the contrary, a few are mentioned by name as continuing even past the Savior’s second coming!
If we want to walk in the commandments of God instead of nullifying them by the traditions of men, we should keep the feasts. The feast days only ended because traditions of men nullified the commandments of God, something our Savior often spoke against.
The feast days serve as eternal memorials for the great things God has done for His people throughout history, so we should gladly keep them. He saved us by the blood of the lamb, delivered us from bondage with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, provided a harvest, and more!
Half of the feast days have yet to be fulfilled prophetically, so we should still keep them with great anticipation of what is still to come. The spring feast days prophetically pointed to His first coming and the fall feast days prophetically point to His second coming. The Savior perfectly synchronized the saving work of His first coming with the spring feast days. He died as the Passover lamb on Passover, rose from the dead on the Firstfruits, and poured out His Spirit in a powerful way on Pentecost. Given how perfectly He fulfilled the spring holy days, shouldn’t we also expect Him to perfectly fulfill the fall holy days? As long as we are still waiting on His second coming, the feast days hold critically important value for us.
So, yes, I believe all of God’s people should remember His set-apart feast days, even today.
But I know my primary audience, hearing about a “requirement,” most likely has warning bells, flags, and verses written by Paul that seem to be completely contrary to my conclusion flashing in their brains right now.
I want to say a couple of words to those of you in that group before I end this post.
Didn’t Paul call these days “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world?”
One particular verse that you may be thinking of to question my conclusion is this:
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.” (Galatians 4:8-11)
Does this mean that the days and months and seasons and years given by God in the law (Torah) are “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world?” That’s the way we usually read it, but does this interpretation fit with the rest of scripture?
I’ve written about my understanding of how to reconcile Paul to the rest of scripture in another post. But for this particular section of scripture, I found another helpful post. If this verse hinders you from observing the Biblical feast days, I encourage you to explore this passage further.
Two things I’m not saying
I also want to be clear about what I’m not saying when I say that I believe the days should be kept by all believers today.
1) I am not insinuating that people who are not keeping the feasts are not truly His people.
I still have plenty of things to learn and plenty of ways to be conformed to the image of my Savior. Just because I keep the feasts does not mean that I have arrived in perfection. All true children are still growing, learning, and being corrected in various ways.
The Father doesn’t write the instructions in our hearts all at once, just as the Savior didn’t reveal all things to His disciples all at once. He said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12) We serve a merciful, patient God who leads us gently into a deeper, more intimate knowledge of Him and His ways. He works with us over our lifetimes to conform us to the image of His son (Rom 8:29) and promises to bring us to completion (Phil 1:6). Praise Him!
2) I am not attacking salvation by grace.
Keeping feasts will not earn salvation any more than remaining faithful to your spouse will earn salvation. The obedience our Savior requires does not secure our salvation, it just demonstrates it.
The obedience that He requires is never a heavy, burdensome, favor-seeking kind of thing. He doesn’t want us to obey because we are constrained or fearful, but because we delight in the law-giver and treasure His grace and wisdom. We position ourselves as already-loved children who obey our Father, not because we want to win His affections but because we are overwhelmed with His affection. We obey His instructions because we adore Him, because we want to be like Him, because we want to walk as He walked.
These precious days, like all of His instructions, are a gift to us. We should position ourselves to receive all we can from His wise and mighty hand.