NEW TESTAMENT HOLY DAYS
by: Bill Bratt, Portsmouth, Ohio
In the spring of the year, people turn their thoughts to the spring holy days of Easter or Passover. If we look into the Bible what kind of holy days would we find Jesus, the apostles and the New Testament Church keeping?
Let's begin in Luke and see what holy days Jesus kept.
Luke 2:41-42 (NKJV) "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast."
Notice that it was His custom to keep the feast of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread even as a young child.
In the fall of the year we see Jesus keeping the Feast of Tabernacles.
John 5:1 "After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."
John 7:2 " Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand."
John 7:10 "But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret."
John 7:14 "Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. "
This is called the Jew's feast of tabernacles because the Jews were the only people at that time keeping God's Holy Days. Jesus kept the feast of tabernacles and He taught at the feast.
John 7:37 says: "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.""
We find Jesus keeping God's Holy Days, not Easter, Lent, Christmas or Halloween.
All of God's Holy Days are listed in Lev. 23 which also includes the Sabbath as one of God's Holy Days.
Jesus set an example for us to follow
by keeping God's Holy days.
1 John 2:6 says: "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
Why shouldn't we keep the same Holy Days that Jesus kept?
After Christ's death and resurrection, His disciples kept God's Holy Days.
Acts 2:1 says: "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."
Why is it that most professing Christians only keep one of the seven Holy Days of God? They only keep Pentecost. Why don't they keep the other six Holy Days?
Did the Apostle Paul and the Gentiles keep God's Holy Days?
Acts 18:20-21 says: "When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing." And he sailed from Ephesus."
This refers to the Feast of Tabernacles and it was worth Paul going all the way to the headquarters Feast at Jerusalem. This is the only logical reason for Paul's emphatic refusal to spend even a few days at Ephesus after long sojourns at lesser places.
Acts 20:16 "For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost."
The Apostle Paul was hurrying to keep Pentecost at Jerusalem. This was about 25 years after Jesus' crucifixion and ascension into heaven.
1 Cor 16:8 "But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost."
This verse shows Paul keeping Pentecost in the Gentile city of Ephesus.
1 Cor 5:7-8 "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Here's is a direct command from the Apostle Paul for New Testament Christians to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was years after Jesus' crucifixion. The Apostle Paul set us an example in keeping God's Holy Days and he admonishes us to follow his lead, as he said in: 1 Cor 11:1 "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."
Notice what he says as he continues in: 1 Cor 11:23-25 "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
Paul is describing the New Testament Passover service, that Jesus established with His disciples on the night before His crucifixion.
From the above passages we see that Paul commanded the Gentiles in the city of Corinth to keep God's Holy Days.
Notice in the following passage that the converted Gentiles followed the examples set by Jewish Christians. They took it for granted that the proper days for worship were the ones God had commanded.
1 Th 2:14 "For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,"
Let's notice what Luke says in:
Acts 27:9 "Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,"
The word "Fast" in this verse refers to the "Day of Atonement". It was called the "Fast" because this was a day of fasting, going without food and water. The Apostle Luke wrote the book of Acts over 30 years after Jesus' crucifixion and he refers to the Day of Atonement by calling it the "Fast".
Before concluding we need to look at Acts 12:1-4 (KJV) "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the Days of Unleavened Bread.)
Let's notice verse 4: And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
Someone might say "Look, the Bible says Easter!" The King James Version does say Easter, but it is a mistranslation. The Greek word for Easter is "pascha" and means Passover. Check it out in Strong's Concordance #3957. pascha, pas'-khah; of Chald. or. [comp. H6453]; the Passover (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it).
All other translations have it correctly translated. The New King James Version: Acts 12:4 says: "So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover."
The New International Version:
Acts 12:4 says: "After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover."
We have seen that many verses in the New Testament supports the fact that Jesus, the apostles and the New Testament Church kept all of God's Holy Days.
Wouldn't you like to keep them too?
For more information on this subject, pick the link below:
God's Holy Days