New Testament Holy Days
The true name of the Savior of the Bible, Yahshua, and His Father's name, Yahweh, are restored in this article. Superstitious scribes and misguided Bible translators took away these true names and substituted titles - God, Lord, Adonai. The Sacred Name is easily proved in good encyclopedias and dictionaries under the headings "Yahweh," "Jehovah," "God," or "Tetragrammaton." You may also request our free booklets or read online, "The Heavenly Father's Great Name" and "The Missing J," which prove these names conclusively from common sources and Scripture.
NEW TESTAMENT HOLY DAYS
Our world is in the midst of a religious knowledge explosion. Increasing numbers of more accurate and up-to-date Bible translations are rolling off presses. Religious bookstores are proliferating; TV evangelists are becoming more popular and numerous, and religious magazines are multiplying.
Then why, with all of this, can't people seem to find the religion the Bible teaches?
Yahshua the Messiah (see the explanation above) explained in Matthew 6:33 and 7:7-8 that His truth is something you must seek. How many nominal churchgoers are actively seeking that truth? How many are looking into their Bibles and comparing Scriptures to check the veracity of what their ministers are teaching them? How many question their pastors about contradictions between what they read in the Bible and what they are being taught? Paul said, "Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good," 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
MODERN MAN IS MIRED IN MYSTERY WORSHIP
Moses told Israel in Deuteronomy 31:29,
"For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because you will do evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands."
Yahweh knows the hearts of human beings and He is not being found by most people because of their disobedience to His laws. In Deuteronomy 31:16-18 Yahweh said to Moses,
"Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up and go a-whoring after the deities of the strangers of the land whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day. 'Are not these evils come upon us because our Elohim (mighty one) is not among us,' and I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto idols."
What does that prophecy have to do with keeping the Christian holidays of today? Aren't the churches teaching Christmas, Halloween, New Year's, Valentine's Day, and Easter on Sunday morning? These observances are based in ancient mystery worship - not on the Bible.
They are teaching mere traditions of man and that's the problem. They are actually fulfilling what was also prophesied in Daniel 7:25; "And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."
The word ‘times' is zeman in Hebrew and means an appointed time or season such as an appointed festival as found in Leviticus 23 (see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance No. 2166). The words ‘time' and ‘times' in the latter part of the verse are from the Hebrew word iddan and mean to measure time such as a year.
Nowhere in the New Testament have the Messiah or His disciples switched the days of worship. If you could talk to the Apostle Paul and tell him about the counterfeit days observed today, he would be stunned at the change. Similarly, millions of people today would be shocked if they only opened their Bibles and saw that the early New Testament Assembly kept the holy days of Leviticus 23.
MEMORIALS TO OBSERVE FOREVER
People today are being taught that the Holy Days are Old Testament and are therefore obsolete. This erroneous doctrine is one reason millions assume they can't understand the Bible. Why were certain days okay for one group of people to observe and not for another, they wonder. The only difference in keeping the holy days in the New Testament times is a change in the sacrifice, as we will show shortly. Yahshua the Savior became the perfect sacrifice.
Notice in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 that Paul in the New Testament said to keep the feast. Originally the Holy Days of Leviticus 23 were not sacrificial days (Jeremiah 7:22-23), but sacrifices were added because of man's transgression.
Peter tells us Yahshua was the perfect example we should follow, 1 Peter 2:21. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said he followed Yahshua's example and we should follow him. To follow an example is to do as the example did. Nowhere does the Bible record that the Messiah offered a sacrifice.
In Matthew 9:13 Yahshua Himself says, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The writer of Hebrews tells us how to offer sacrifices in New Testament times. In Hebrews 13:15 we read, "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to Yahweh continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name."
OBSERVING YAHWEH'S LAW IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
All the commanded holy days are presented in chronological order in Leviticus 23. For each we will show the commandment and point out places in the New Testament where Yahshua or the Apostles were observing these days.
Leviticus 23:3, Acts 13:42
Let us start with Acts 13:42, mainly because many preachers claim that Paul did away with the commandments. Paul's writings are controversial to those who teach or follow some other doctrine which Paul condemns (Galatians 1:8). Peter warns that Paul's writings are difficult to understand and would be used to pervert the Good News (2 Peter 3:15-18). Taken correctly, in light of the context and prophets, Paul's writings perfectly compliment the rest of the Bible.
Acts 13:42 clearly shows Paul taught gentiles on the Sabbath. If he was the one to change worship to Sunday, surely this was the time to do it. He would have told them to come back the next day (Sunday). However. he told them to come back the next Sabbath, verse 44.
Acts 15:17 clearly shows us James was referring to gentiles. In verse 20 he tells them to abstain from 'pollutions of idols. from fornication, things strangled, and from blood. Pollution of idols would be eating unclean food sacrificed to idols; fornication was often with temple prostitutes (see Numbers 25). These former pagans drank blood in their rituals (ox blood, to make them as strong as an ox). Acts 15:21 says, "For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day."
Thus instructions in righteousness were given the gentiles when they attended the synagogue, as we have seen in Acts 13:42, 44. Even when Paul was not in a synagogue he preached on the Sabbath day as mentioned in Acts 16:13, "And on the Sabbath he went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spoke unto the women who went there." (The word "spoke" is laloe in the Greek and means to preach.)
Some people believe that Yahshua the Messiah abolished the law with His death, including the law of the Sabbath. Yet, Scripture shows that the Savior is "master of the Sabbath," Mark 2:28, having created it in the first place (John 1:3 and Hebrews 1:2). Having created the Sabbath, He also rested on it (Genesis 2:2).
Now if He intended to do away with the Sabbath, why would He observe it both at creation and while He walked on this earth? In Luke 4:16 and Mark 1:21 we find that the Messiah went to the synagogue to keep the Sabbath. He said He didn't come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, Matthew 5:17. The Sabbath He created was to be observed by man on earth and that is why He also observed it while He was on earth. He explained that the Sabbath was made for man, not only for Jews.
What about the Apostle John? He tells us in 1 John 2:24, "Let that therefore remain in you which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son and in the Father." Nowhere is there even a hint of a change from Sabbath keeping, not even after Yahshua's death.
In Isaiah 66:22-23 Isaiah foretells that the Sabbath and holy days will be in force after the resurrection. "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make shall remain before Me, says Yahweh, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says Yahweh." Yahweh was looking down through history and showing that His people will continue to worship and keep the Sabbaths even in the new age when the Kingdom is established on the earth.
PASSOVER AND UNLEAVENED BREAD
Leviticus 23:5-6, Matthew 26:18, Acts 20:6
Passover occurs once annually in the Springtime and portrays the passing over of the destroying angel in Egypt and also the Savior's death. The Days of Unleavened Bread symbolize the putting of false doctrine from our lives and feeding on the pure bread of the Word. Yahshua kept the Passover (Luke 22:14-16). Verse 16 tells us He will keep it in the future; "For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of Yahweh." Notice also verse 30, "That you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This passage proves that the Passover will be kept after His return. Isn't it logical that we should keep this festival now? (The word "Easter" occurs once in the King James Bible at Acts 12:4, and isa mistranslation of pascha, the Passover. Request our Booklet, What You Should Know About Easter, or read our booklet online by clicking here.)
In writing to a gentile congregation Paul unashamedly brings up the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. He tells them a little leaven permeates the entire lump. He instructs them to purge out the old leaven (their old way of life); that they might be a new lump, verse 7. Because the Messiah is sacrificed for us, Paul tells these gentiles to keep the Feast with the unleavenness of sincerity and truth.
Certainly Paul would never mention the Passover as being the Messiah and bring up the meaning of this Old Testament festival to gentiles if this holy time was done away in the New Testament. Yet here he is, chiding a people historically unfamiliar with the Feast Days of Leviticus 23 in terms that show they had now been instructed in these holy days.
Did the Apostles keep these annual holy days? Paul did. Acts 20:6 reads. "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days."
Many ministers of Sunday-keeping churches cite Acts 20:7 as abolishing the Sabbath simply because Paul preached to the people on the first day of the week; actually our Saturday night since Scriptural days begin in the evening. They ignore scores of Scriptures that support the Sabbath. Note that Acts 20:7 reads, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." In the King James Version the word day is in italics, which means it isn't in the original Greek manuscript. It was added by translators as a help word.
In the Greek Interlinear version the actual phrasing of Acts 20:7 in the Greek begins with, "And on the one (first) of the Sabbaths (week)." Notice the word 'day' does not appear. The word 'Sabbaths' is plural, showing it is linked to a group of Sabbaths. Because this was following the Days of Unleavened Bread, we can easily see the connection is to the count to Pentecost.
To determine this third high or annual Sabbath, we are to number 50 days, starting with the first day-after-Sabbath (first day of the week) after Passover. This is the wave sheaf day (Leviticus 23:15), the same day we see in Acts 20:7. Counting seven complete Sabbaths brings us to Pentecost or the Feast of Firstfruits, the first day of the week.
Leviticus 23:15-17, Acts 2:1, 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8
Yahshua was Yahweh's first fruit as He offered Himself in John 20:14-17. Exactly 50 days later, on Pentecost, He sent His Holy Spirit (Acts 2). Well over 20 years afterward we see Paul still keeping this observance, because in Acts 20:16 Paul says he is determined to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost.
The word Pentecost actually means "count 50" and in the Old Testament it's called Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits. Yahshua became the firstfruits of the harvest and sent the Holy Spirit to help us to tell others about Yahweh's loving gift of salvation.
At Paul's trial, in which his own life was at stake (Acts 24:11, 14), he described True Worship and confessed he believed all things that were written in the law and the prophets. And he taught "none other things" (Acts 28-22). The second chapter of Acts records that the New Testament Assembly began with the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. On Paul's missionary trip he mentioned to the Corinthian brethren that he was going to spend time in Ephesus until Pentecost, 1 Corinthians 16:8. Paul tells the gentile congregation he would come to visit with them and remain over winter, verses 6-8, but not until after Pentecost. Why does he inform them it will be after Pentecost if gentiles are not to keep Pentecost?
FEAST OF TRUMPETS
Leviticus 23:24, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52
The Feast of Trumpets is about the future. This Feast pictures the return of Yahshua "at the last trump" and typifies the events surrounding His return. Revelation 7:3-4 tells us that the angels are to hold off the plagues until the 144,000 (His people) are sealed. (John wrote that the people who keep the commandments will be blessed with everlasting life, Revelation 22-14.)
Revelation 8:7 through Revelation 9:21 tells of the plagues that will come to the earth just before the Messiah's return. These plagues are similar to the plagues that came upon the Egyptians in Moses' time because they had not obeyed Yahweh. Matthew 24:31 notes that at the last trump, Yahweh's people will be separated from the worldly by the return of Yahshua. "And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
No one knows when He will return (Matthew 24:36) as Yahshua Himself will execute the command (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This time is yet future and reminds us to keep our thoughts on heavenly things, looking for Yahshua's return. We do that by observing this prophetic Feast of Trumpets.
DAY OF ATONEMENT
Leviticus 23:27,Acts 27:9
This solemn observance is to remind us of the covering of our sins by the blood of the Lamb. This is a special holy day during which we take in no food or drink for 24 hours and is mentioned in Acts 27:9 (see the center reference column of any Bible). The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) fast was on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is an annual holy day, Leviticus 23:27. Note that the author of Acts 27:9 mentions this day of fasting 30 years after the death of the Messiah.
Remember, Paul was the Apostle to the gentiles and Luke was a gentile. Paul observed this annual holy day in remembrance of the Messiah as the Atonement for all sins. Yahshua became our perfect sacrifice to end all sacrifices (Hebrews 10:10). He is now our High Priest in heaven, atoning and making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).
Today we afflict our souls with fasting to remind us it was our sins and the world's that He died for (Isaiah 53:7-9). Also, we are reminded that we are flesh, depending on food and water. We look for our fleshly body to one day be changed to spirit, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. We await His coming from the holy place (Leviticus 16:17).
FEAST OF TABERNACLES
Leviticus 23:34, John 7, Acts 18:21
Much can be said about the Feast of Tabernacles. The 7th chapter of John is about the Feast of Tabernacles (see verse 2). Yahshua kept the feast (verse 10), as He did all the holy days.
Years later, after the New Testament Assembly had been established, Paul said in Acts 18:21. "I must by all means keep this feast." This was referring to the Feast of Tabernacles that was kept in Jerusalem.
What about today and in the future 1,000 years? This festival represents the Millennium, Yahshua's thousand-year reign on earth. In Zechariah 14 not only is this feast mentioned, but also it tells that keeping of this feast is going to be enforced.
The passage in Zechariah 14:16-19 says,
"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be, that Whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt goes not up and comes not, they shall have no rain; that shall be the plague wherewith Yahweh will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."
Isaiah 66:23, tells us all Sabbaths will be kept after the return of Yahshua. "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says Yahweh."
LAST GREAT DAY
Leviticus 23:39, John 7:37-39
The Last Great Day, the day immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles, represents the Great White Throne Judgment during which Yahweh will judge the world according to their works (Revelation 20:11-13, John 12:48).
In John 7:37-39 Yahshua, on the Last Great Day, offered His Spirit, which He likened to a river of living water, to quench man's thirst for truth. You know the feeling, as when you first learned His truth and you couldn't get enough!
He said, "He that believes on me, as the Scripture has said," verse 38. Through His Spirit we may learn His way so we may stand righteous at that Last Great Day.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
How about you? Can you now see the value of keeping Yahweh's Holy Days? Many of Yahshua's miracles, teachings, His birth, death, resurrection, sending of the Holy Spirit, and other major biblical events occurred on holy days. Paul and all the apostles kept and worshiped on the Sabbath and Holy Days.
Christmas, Easter, New Year's, Valentine's day, and Sunday mean nothing to Yahweh. Yahweh inspired Jeremiah to write. "Learn not the way of the heathen..." (Jeremiah 10:2). These pagan counterfeits never represented anything valuable and never will.
Yahshua condemns vain worship. He quoted Isaiah 29:13 to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8, chastising them for their traditions. In Matthew 15:8-9 Yahshua says, "This people draws nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips: but have removed their heart far from Me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." All pagan observances are vain, empty worship made up by man. Yahweh has set aside His Holy Days which have great meaning for us to worship Him.
No matter how sincere a person is in offering his form of worship, it is not acceptable before Yahweh unless Yahweh sanctions it in His Word. He said in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to Me, seeing you have forgotten the law of your Elohim, I will also forget your children."
Throughout the Bible when Yahweh refers to His Holy Days He calls them "My Holy Days, My Sabbaths" (see Ezekiel 36:20-27); but when He refers to man's set holy days or months (moons) (whether they are altered originals or substitutes) He says "your holy days," "your moons," etc.
In the 5th chapter of Amos, Israel went their own way (as they do today); but Yahweh says "seek Yahweh and live," (Amos 5:6). For those who worship their own way, He says in Amos 5:21-23, "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; for I will not hear the melody of your viols." Isaiah 1:11-14 tells us we must keep these days with a pure heart to be acceptable to Yahweh.
Today we have a lot of good singers who sing praises in their own way, but Yahweh doesn't hear them. Gifted preachers preach in their own way on their own days, but Yahweh does not hear them.
Those who worship Yahweh according to His way as explained in Leviticus 23, in His Name, are the people He hears.
He loves everyone, but accepts only those seeking Him to the best of their ability. We are in training now to learn of these special times so that we can be teachers in the Kingdom, Revelation 5:10. How can we qualify to be a king or priest if we do not learn what to do now in this life? The bride is to make herself ready, Revelation 19:7. How about you? Are you following the example of Yahshua and the example of His disciples? Are you showing your true love to Yahweh by worshiping Him the way He desires to be worshiped, by being obedient to His Word?