Feasts of God
God established seven religious feasts for His people to observe and receive blessings. These feasts were not only for the Israelites in the Old Testament times, but for Christians in this age, too.
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’”
In Leviticus 23, God gave detailed instructions to Moses for the Israelites to keep seven yearly feasts, in addition to the weekly feast of the Sabbath. The seven annual feasts God commanded are:
- Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Feast of Firstfruits (Resurrection Day)
- Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
- Feast of Trumpets
- Day of Atonement
- Feast of Tabernacles
God’s people in the Old Testament kept the feasts according to the Law of Moses. In the New Testament times, Jesus Christ kept the feasts according to the New Covenant and set the example for Christians to follow.
Feasts of God in the New Testament
Some may think that Jesus kept the feasts of God because He was Jewish but, in actuality, He did not keep the feasts according to the Jewish law, which required animal sacrifices and other ceremonial offerings. Instead, He established the New Covenant and showed us how we should keep the feasts.
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
The disciples and members of the Early Church followed the teachings of Christ, including the way Jesus Christ observed the feasts of God. Like this, they set the foundation for Christianity (Eph 2:19-20), emphasizing we should continue to keep the feasts of God even nowadays.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover
In the Bible, the feasts of God are celebrated in three groups. The first group—collectively called the Feast of Unleavened Bread—consists of two feasts: the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Jesus Christ let His disciples know the importance of celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover. Through the Passover, God gives us forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Thus, Christ asked us to always celebrate this feast in remembrance of Him. So, the members of the Early Church also celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover, as Christ taught.
For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us celebrate our Passover, then, not with bread having the old yeast of sin and wickedness, but with the bread that has no yeast, the bread of purity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (GNB)
In the Old Testament, the Israelites celebrated the Passover by sacrificing a lamb, as God commanded (Ex 12). Rather than sacrificing a lamb, Jesus celebrated the Passover with bread and wine, which represent His flesh and blood. This was because Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross as the Passover Lamb. And so He taught his disciples to keep the New Covenant Passover with bread and wine.
Today, the World Mission Society Church of God celebrates the New Covenant Passover just as Jesus did, with the bread and wine that represent His flesh and blood.
Resurrection Day and the Day of Pentecost
In the Old Testament, the second set of feasts were known as the Day of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks.
Firstfruits originated as a day to commemorate God’s great power when He divided the Red Sea (Ex 14). In the New Testament, this feast was celebrated as the Day of Resurrection.
There was also the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament. And in the New Testament, the feast became the Day of Pentecost. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus directed his disciples to keep Pentecost.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…
By celebrating Pentecost, as Christ instructed, the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we receive the Holy Spirit, too, when we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost as the disciples did.
The Feast of Tabernacles
The third set of feasts is the Feast of Tabernacles, which consists of the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, itself.
But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near… On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Through the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus promised to give His followers the Holy Spirit. By keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, the Early Church received the Holy Spirit of the former rain. In this age, God’s people receive the Holy Spirit of the latter rain.
Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles is so important that God even warned through the prophet Zechariah that those who do not keep the Feast of Tabernacles will receive no Holy Spirit.
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain.
As Jesus explained, water in the Bible can signify the Holy Spirit. And in Zechariah, anyone who does not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles will not receive rain, meaning the Holy Spirit.
The World Mission Society Church of God observes all seven feasts of God the same way as Christ and the Early Church. If you keep the feasts of God, you too will be greatly blessed according to God’s promise. Visit your local Church of God for a deeper understanding about the feasts of God, and learn their prophetical meaning and their fulfillment.