Passover 2018 and 2019 happened to fall on the same day as Good Friday, which I believe was not a coincidence since God is helping the body of Christ see the significance of these Feasts.
Many Christians really aren’t aware that Good Friday and Easter were dates that the Catholic Church created as their “holy days” to honor Christ. Through the adoption of Good Friday and Easter into our Christian culture, the body of Christ lost all connection to the Feasts calendar God established to honor His Son.
The problem of “changing God’s time and law” isn’t new since Christ came (Dan.7:25). In the Old Testament, it most notably happened after the reign of King Solomon when the Israelites split into two kingdoms (families). Ten of the tribes of Israel formed the House of Israel and removed themselves from Solomon’s son’s reign. But out of fear that the people would go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feasts and not return, the leader of the ten tribes, Jeroboam, decided to change the Feasts times, laws, and place of worship (1 Kings 12:26-33).
“So, he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month he had devised in his own heart” (1 Kings 12:33).
This change opened up the door for iniquitous roots to plague the House of Israel in years to come, and which is why most of the kings who ruled the House of Israel were wicked and rebellious towards God (1 &2 Kings).
However, the House of Judah, who remained in Jerusalem, had times in history they didn’t follow the Feasts Calendar as well. We know this because when you read the story about King Hezekiah in 2 Chron. 29-31, the worship and celebration of the Feasts were restored.
“The king appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offering; for the morning and evening burnt offerings; the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, and the New Moons, and the set feasts as it is written in the Law of the Lord” (2Chron. 31:3).
Because King Hezekiah restored honoring God’s Covenant calendar and what was right in His law, the people were healed (2 Chron. 30:20). In addition, unity, prosperity and protection were given to them by the Lord, and Hezekiah’s leadership kept Jerusalem safe against the Assyrian army.
Unfortunately, subsequent kings of the House of Judah didn’t follow the integrity of King Hezekiah’s leadership in honoring God’s laws. Eventually, God’s judgment came forth because they didn’t honor the Sabbaths, and the House of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonian army.
“And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chron. 36:20,21; Lev. 26: 34-43).
After serving out their 70 years of captivity in Babylon, the Judeans (Jews) were able to return to the Promised Land and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Led by Ezra the High Priest and Nehemiah, the Jews were given an opportunity to start again.
Ezra was used by God to “awaken” the remnant to God’s truth by sharing the Law. The construction of the temple had just finished, and after hearing about God’s “Holy Days” found in the pattern of the Feasts, the Jews chose to celebrate the Passover:
“And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests of the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean.
And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. Then the children of Israel who had returned from captivity ate together will all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel.
And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread, seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel” (Ezra 6:19-22).
Ezra directed the Jews back to honoring the Feasts, which resulted in joy and gladness amongst the people. Even Nehemiah goes into detail in chapter 8 on how they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles according to the blueprint of the law, which hadn’t been done since the days of Joshua!
Unfortunately, because God’s people chose not to separate themselves from the idolatrous culture, the people reverted back to their lawless ways. Ezra was beside himself since they had just come out of the 70-year bondage. He pleaded with the people to separate themselves for God’s service since they had been given a second chance:
“Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilt, and of our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day.
“And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage” (Ezra 9:7,8).
The people responded to Ezra’s plea, but the idolatrous culture kept pulling them away again.
In addition, between the 400 years from Ezra to when Jesus arrived on the scene, the Judean leaders began creating their own “holy” book of rules called the “Talmud.” Regulations were added even with celebrating these Feasts. But many of these traditions weren’t written by the Lord, but by men themselves, and the heart and purpose of why God established the Feast blueprint became more of a ritual.
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:8,9).
Regardless of the religious practices that the Jews added, at least they followed the Feasts. Even Paul the Apostle made sure he didn’t miss a Feast. All of Paul’s missionary work was targeted to adhere to the Feast schedule because he understood the importance of honoring those Feast times. But the Feasts needed a New Covenant revelation of why and how they were to be celebrated. In addition, they were not to be pegged to an “earthly Jerusalem” any longer.
Since believers are the “temple of God” (2 Cor. 6:16), there was no need to have to go to the temple in Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
Ironically, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. would actually help “cut off” having to go to Jerusalem to honor the Feasts, as well as the “traditions” that were created.
There are many reasons why the Church at large has not embraced the Feasts as a part of their “Holy” Calendar for the past 2,000 years, but in general, they are the same reasons we have just outlined from the past. Patterns of sin repeat themselves, and this pattern of getting God’s people away from honoring God’s Calendar has been on Satan’s radar for centuries, so it must have some intrinsic value to the redemption plan of God.
Today, I believe that God is awakening the body of Christ to the heart of His “Holy” calendar. This will give the body of Christ what Ezra and the people experienced,” a measure of revival in our bondage,” which will ultimately lead to healing and joy for the Church at large.
And how about the timing today? Israel just celebrated their 70 anniversary as a nation. This is a completion of time of looking to the Old Jerusalem and its man-made temple constructed under the Old Covenant as a pattern of the shadow of things to come. NOW is the time for our eyes to adjust and shift to a NEW Jerusalem; a temple not made of hands. Israel may try to build a third temple, but the Lord will not allow for it to stand because He has already made way for a better plan.
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, NEW Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2).
Time is the one common denominator that the entire world is on the same blueprint. We are all accountable to our days, months and years to the time-established universal. But for those Christians who God has put a desire to be a part of the redemption plan and building His Kingdom here on the earth, we need to honor God’s time so we can sync into His plan.
“They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths” (Ez.44:24).
The Feasts give us the corporate pattern of how we become what God prophesies about, “The New Jerusalem.” That alone should get every Christian interested in discovering the value of the Feasts.