In book of Acts, Paul the Apostle and the disciples of Jesus continued to celebrate the Feasts, even moving their ministry schedule around to honor them.
“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” (Acts. 20:16).
This isn’t the only incident mentioned in Acts as you read in Acts 18:21 and 20:6 more references of the disciples honoring the Feasts. Paul even encourages the Church of Corinth to honor these Holy Days, but with New Covenant revelation:
“Therefore, let us keep the FEAST, not with old leaven, more with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” ( 1 Cor. 5:8).
Even Jesus, who did everything the Father told Him to do, honored the Feasts:
“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”(John 7:37).
So why is it that Christians don’t celebrate the Feasts when they are a shadow (reflection) of the substance of Christ, our redeemer? If Jesus Himself is our great example to follow, and not only honored them, but became the substance of them, why are these Feasts discounted today?
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (FEAST), or a new moon, or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col.2:16,17).
The quick answer to the question above is that God ultimately allowed this to happen because He had a plan to bring about the “new wine skin” of revelation and celebration of these Feasts in His perfect timing. This “new wine skin” included NOT having to go to Jerusalem to celebrate.
Because the persecution from the Roman Empire was so fierce in Jerusalem after Christ died, the “Church” was forced to go “underground. When Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, the disciples scattered abroad and continued to preach the Gospel. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD gave way for the “cutting off” of tying these Feast celebrations to the city of Jerusalem and the temple.
Jerusalem, the city God chose to build His temple so that His presence could dwell, had fulfilled it’s earthly pattern the moment Jesus sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). This deposit of God’s glory gave way to the “NEW JERUSALEM.” No longer was God going to dwell in a temple made of hands, but instead, dwell in the temple (body) of the believer in Christ. When ALL the believers join together corporately in Spirit and in Truth, this union of worship will display the “New Jerusalem” (John 4:24).
“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
Many believers are still looking to Jerusalem as the “City of God” for His glory, when in actuality, the earth is waiting for the “sons of light” to reveal His glory (Rom. 8:19). When they are all joined in unison to the Prince of Peace, the world will see the “New Jerusalem” coming out of heaven (Rev. 21:2). Honoring the Feasts give way to this formation.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Rev. 3:12).
But what caused the early Christians to abandon the Feasts and adopt their own “holy days” they created, such as Easter and Christmas?
Emperor Constantine was a European Roman emperor in the fourth century that “legalized Christianity.” Up until him, Christianity was banned and people were tortured and killed for professing Christianity, which is why all of the original disciples of Jesus were crucified, beheaded, or killed except for the Apostle John. The Roman Emperor Constantine established himself as the head of the church around 313 A.D., which made “Christianity” the official religion of the Roman Empire.
One would read about Constantine and call him a hero for Christianity, and indeed, he was used to help stop the murdering of Christians. However, since he was NOT rooted in God’s Word to lead apostolically, but rather adopted “pagan practices,” Constantine created an iniquitous Christian foundation that he tied into the government. This created a path for a “religion” to oppress and control the people they governed.
Constantine brought together the “Council of Nicaea” in 325 A.D. to attempt to stop people from keeping Passover on the appointed time God set in His calendar. Early Christians had continued observing Passover in honor of Christ’s death. Others began celebrating the Feast on Sunday in honor of Christ’s resurrection. If they had realized the truth that Passover was the blueprint to honor Christ’s death, and “Feast of Firstfruits” was the blueprint to honor the Lord’s resurrection, the dispute could have been avoided.
Unfortunately, this division led to a decision by Constantine requiring all Christians to adopt the same day. The Feast Days were not chosen. This decision furthered the cause to condemn Jews and eradicate the celebration of the Feasts.
The “Council of Nicaea changed Church history. Christians who observed the Passover on the 14th of Nisan and other “Hebrew” Feasts were branded as heretics. The forthcoming “Babylonian” church structures, coupled with the “doctrines of men,” created a hunger and thirst for power and wealth that eventually ushered in the darkest period of history known to man, properly known as the “Dark Ages” (500-1500 A.D.). Through popes, bishops, and priests, the “anti-Christ spirit ruled Europe, while “biblical” Christianity became illegal, and Jews and Christians grew in opposition to each other.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica,
“There is no trace of the celebration of Easter as a Christian festival in the New Testament or the writings of the apostolic fathers…The first Christians…continued to observe the Jewish festivals…as commemorations of events of which these had been the shadows. The Passover, ennobled by the thought of Christ the Paschal Lamb, continued to be celebrated…, and became the Christian Easter” ( Ninth Edition, article “Easter” ).
As Christians, we must acknowledge that the Feasts recognized in the Bible are “Hebrew” Feasts and not exclusively Jewish ones. We are thankful that a remnant of the Jews were able to return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity and rebuild Jerusalem and honor the Feasts. We need to recognize that for a brief period of time, Jews, Messianic Jews, and Gentiles all celebrated the Feasts after Christ was crucified. But the understanding for both the Jew and Gentiles of how and why they were to be celebrated needed a heavenly perspective; not a Jew or Gentile one. And because they both didn’t have it, it opened up the doors for strife and divison.
Today, God is resurrecting our understanding of these SET TIMES with His heavenly perspective that Christ is the substance of these Feasts. God is unveiling the relevance of these Feasts to the body of Christ so we can not only honor His Son, but also prepare ourselves to be joined to Christ when He comes back to fulfill the Fall Feasts. And what is necessary in this moment of time if for our nation, whom God chose to honor Him and to bring His light to the world,join together and honor His calendar of “Holy Days” so we can be seen as ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
“”And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God'” (Rev. 21:3).