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The Feasts of Yahweh

Lev 23:44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel
the feasts of Yahweh.

for Gentiles?

Sabbath for

or Law?

The Feasts of Yahweh (Heb. Moed, plural, Moedim = appointed times) were so named, in the scriptures, because they are His. He shares them with His people. The barley on the right depicts the beginning of months to Israel, the time of the 'green ears' of corn, the Spring Equinox. The month of Abib or 'green ears' marked the beginning of the Feasts of Yahweh. The 14th. day of Abib is the date of the first Biblical Feast, Passover.
The first time we read about the 'Feasts' of Elohim is in Genesis 1: Gen 1:14. And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, (i.e. beacons) and for seasons," (moed, an appointment, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose)the congregation; the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, feast, (appointed, due). Yahweh created the sun and the moon to first shine like a beacon, but then even more importantly, to work together i.e. let them be to signal the Festivals or solemn meeting times, appointments of His people to meet with Him. They cannot be separated, they are to work in conjunction with each other to signal the Moedim. Not just the sun, or only the moon can be used to show His Moedim, they are together in this, a unity. They are together to signal His Moedim, His special gatherings, His Feasts. Because the events which brought forth the Feasts hadn't happened yet, for example, the Passover, we could declare that the sun and moon were in a prophetic mode, speaking of future commemorations.
This is a serious matter. The sun and moon were created specifically to signal the times when Yahweh Himself had appointed to meet with His people on earth. He then adds, almost as an afterthought, "and for days, and years." This of course was set in place generations before the Jewish nation was in existence, and long before even the Father of the Faithful, Abraham himself was born. This should speak to us about the solemnity and the everlasting nature of Yahweh's Moedim.

Are the Feasts/Moedim for all mankind?

This is a question most believers in Yahshua/Jesus come to at some point in their walk with Him. Yahweh Himself sent the holy Spirit to 'lead us into all truth', so how is it that some believers feel strongly that they should observe Yahweh's Moedim, and some do not? We are not here to judge each other, we are each answerable only to Him in these matters.
However, there are issues we need to face as individuals and as faith groups.
First of all, we need to clear up one issue. This is the issue discussed in Galatians 4. Gal 4:9-10 "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times, and years." Some people argue that this advice given by Saul is speaking to the Gentiles in relation to the Feasts of Elohim. This is a weak argument, as Gentiles were never 'in bondage' to the Feasts! For a fuller explanation of this misunderstanding, follow this link.
Paul urged the Gentile believers to go along to the Synagogues to hear Moses read. This was because the Gentile believers were coming from idolatry and complete ignorance about Yahweh and His ways. The Apostles, after much prayerful consideration and discussion, decided that they would 'do well' keeping 4 basic rules i.e. Act 15:28-29 "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you (Gentiles) no greater burden than these necessary things, that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well..."
Then they advised them, if they desired to learn more, they could go along to the Synagogue to hear Moses read aloud. We read this in verse 21. "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." Does this mean, therefore, that Gentiles, after believing and being baptised and filled with the holy Spirit, should observe these four rules as the bare minimum? Paul does end his discourse on the four rules by saying "...you shall do well" So, taken at face value, this is exactly what he meant. He says nothing here of Feast keeping, but they were advised to go along to the Synagogue to hear Moses read, so they would eventually hear about the Feasts of Yahweh, and perhaps would have the opportunity to observe them along with their Jewish brethren. After all, when Yahshua returns, the whole of mankind will not only observe the Feast of Tabernacles, but will be required to bring offerings to Jerusalem at that time.
Zec 14:16 "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, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles." So there was a way made for those who wanted to widen their experience of Yahweh. Was this expected of them perhaps in order that they might to grow in their relationship with Yahweh and with His people? After all, there was no New Testament Scriptures written yet, only the writings of Paul and others in letter form. There was a reason for the Apostles' decision, for Gentiles to hear Moses and the Prophets read. Is this necessary today? A question we should ask ourselves and perhaps to pray about.
So more than just being relevant, it appears, that the early Apostles encouraged study of Moses and a mixing with the believing Jewish community. Of course we learn later on that not only were Gentiles encouraged to listen to Moses i.e. the first 5 books of the Bible and the prophets, they were to be a part of the main body of jewish believers, being guided and taught by the Apostles, in one Body, Messiah. According to Romans 11, Gentile believers are to eventually come into the Israel of faith, as grafted-in branches. Rom 11:17-18 "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree. Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." Paul talked about being grafted in to the stock of Israel, therefore they were expected to become cultivated.
There is a world-wide move of the holy Spirit today, of believers in Yahshua coming to understand the relevance and importance of this 'grafting in'. Thousands throughout the world are beginning to realise that many Festivals in the Christian Calendar are not even Biblical, and that they are incorporating many pagan practices, and are changing over to the celebration of the Biblical Feasts written about in Leviticus 23 and mentioned many times in the Gospels and letters of the Apostles to the various churches.
Perhaps now is the time for the 'restoration of all things' as mentioned in Act 3:21" Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Yahweh hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Maybe we as believers need to consider these things, and perhaps pray about the various Feasts and Festivals of the Christian and Biblical calendars and re-evaluate our involvement in them?
There are so very many 'types' relating to Yahshua found in the story of Passover, and in the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, believing Gentiles are able to glean such wonderful truths about their Saviour unique to the Biblical Feasts, especially in areas of fulfilment. For example, they rejoice in the Passover story. Freedom from the 'Pharoah' of sin, and how a lamb (Yahshua) was slain for the redemption of Yahweh's/God's people, how He brought them through the Red Sea (baptism) and to the promised land! There can be so much learned about Yahshua through understanding the Biblical Feasts, and they can be real seasons of joy and thanksgiving, fun and 'righteous' feasting! So many Gentiles in our day are joining 'hand in hand' with Jewish brothers and sisters who have also experienced new life in Yahshua and the renewed Covenant, this is surely how it ought to be, not two distinct groups, but one. Paul talked about there being 'one Body' not two! Eph 2:14 "For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition..." Both Jews and Gentiles are able to celebrate the wonderful truths of deliveance and freedom together, so evident in the Feasts.

What about the Sabbath? Is that a Feast/Moed?

Is Sabbath to be counted among the Feasts of Elohim? Leviticus 23 suggests so. Lev 23:2-3 "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.  Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings." As well as it being an 'appointed time,' a Moed, it is of course a Commandment, one of the 10 in Exodus 20. With a 'Commandment' there is little space for manoeuvre, it is, according to various dictionaries, "A divine rule" Look it up! If you would like the Greek and Hebrew, entolē (Gk) en-tol-ay' From G1781; injunction, an authoritative prescription: - commandment, precept. mitsvâh (Heb) mits-vaw' From H6680; a command, law, ordinance, precept. There does not appear to be much choice in these definitions.
If you are in doubt about the importance of the Sabbath, for Gentile believers, then read this link, but don't forget to return!
We know that Joh 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared." The word 'declared' is exēgeomai ex-ayg-eh'-om-ahee (Strongs G1537 and G2233) and it means to 'consider out loud, unfold, declare.' Yahshua was the 'express image' of Elohim. He declared Him, He personnified Him throughout time. It was He who in the desert spoke 'face to face' with Moses, and in all probability engraved the Commandments on the tablets on Sinai, so Yahshua Himself declared that observing His Sabbath Day is in fact a Commandment relevant to us today. Also, we read in the Gospels of His attendance in the Synagogue on Sabbath.
We also read of Him encouraging His disciples and others to 'Keep My Commandments' John 14:15. Do these include those of the Old Covenant? Of course. Not the laws 'imposed' on Israel read about these here because of sin, but Laws He expected and still expects of His Covenant people today. Yahshua was the Mediator of that 'renewed' Covenant, so Christian believer, you are in fact part of that special people group.

Apart from Sabbath, which, if any, other Moedim/Feasts are obligatory?

Sabbath therefore, is a Moed, an appointment with Elohim, a Feast of Yahweh, but what about the other Moedim? The Passover and Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, Day of Atonement, Day of Trumpets, and finally the Feast of Tabernacles. (This Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles we know will continue to be observed by everyone in the Millennium.) Which Feasts then, are Commandments for us all, and are any of them a matter of personal choice?
The Tribe of Judah for the most part has kept The Feasts throughout their generations. They have been the custodians of the Torah, the scrolls, the Old Testament Scriptures. At the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. the scrolls were hidden away, and preserved and kept. Yahweh entrusted His sacred writings into their care, and they have been faithful to preserve them until our times. Rom 3:1-2 "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Yahweh."
A study of the Acts of the Apostles and their writings reveals a little of what the early Church was involved in, both Jew and Gentiles. Paul, when speaking to the Corinthians (Gentiles) in 1 Corinthians 5:8 "...therefore let us keep the Feast..." (Passover and Unleavened Bread) So, we can gather that this was an acceptable and normal way of behaviour for a New Covenant person, even a Gentile, as of course Corinth was a church set in Greece, an essentially Gentile nation.
Is observing the Biblical Feasts obligatory for today's Jewish believers, and Gentiles? We know from many New Covenant scriptures that true repentance and belief in Yahshua and His sacrifice for sin, along with water baptism and the infilling of the holy Spirit are pre-requisites for Salvation, or at least the beginnings of a walk with Elohim.
Mar 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." and Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"
So it could be said (but this of course is open to wisdom from on high) that these actions and experiences are sufficient for Salvation?
But then as before mentioned, the Gentiles were encouraged to listen to Moses, so we are able to see that the door was open for Gentiles to be grafted into the Olive Tree, to be a part of Yahweh's Covenant people, the Israel of faith. (I say here 'of faith' because Paul talked about the 'true Jew being one in their heart' - suggesting that being Jewish did not automatically mean you were part of the Israel of faith - that it took more than that.) Is this 'grafting in' to Israel then, a second step for Gentile believers? Is Paul saying that once 'saved' then the door is open into knowing the Father more intimately, and understanding His ways? One must take these thoughts to Him, and ask the holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Is observation of the Feasts of Yahweh something for you Gentile believer to consider?
In our time there are actually many Congregations in our generation all over the world, circumcised in heart, (Col. 2:10-11) who desire to experience the Feasts of Yahweh and find great joy in doing so.

Of course the nation of Israel was instructed to keep the Feasts in the wilderness, see Numbers Ch.9:3-5, they were also kept in the Promised Land when they first arrived, and throughout their generations up to the times of the exiles. See Joshua Ch.5:10-11.
The tribe of Judah kept the Feasts some time after the captivity, when, through the decree of Darius many were allowed to return to rebuild the temple Ezra Ch. 6:19.
During the times of the Kings. Israel kept the Feasts periodically, and today Jewish people all over the world s till observe them.It is interesting that not only Israelites kept the Feast days. They were also celebrated by Gentiles who joined themselves to Israel. Circumcised strangers and servants, all who were part of an Israelite household i.e. slaves, servants and strangers staying with them were also expected to do so. See Exodus Ch.12:44, & amp; 48. (c.p. Colossians Ch. 2:10-11.)
Yahshua Himself and His disciples kept the Feast days, See John Ch.2:13, and Matthew Ch.26:17-19 and so also did the early "Church". (Incidentally, at that time and for quite a time after the Resurrection, the early believers were identified as simply being another sect of Jews who followed the Rabbi, Yahshua, so automatically observed the Biblical celebrations). There are many other incidences recorded in the Gospels, Acts and also the Letters, to support this truth.

The Moedim are Feasts of YHWH. The scriptures declare they are to be kept in the land of Israel, but there are examples where Paul either for convenience or necessity observed them in other areas, such as Philippi. (Acts 20:6)The three main Feasts are mentioned in many scriptures, the Feast of Passover - read about it here, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. They are found in many scriptures, Old and New Covenant/Testament. They are all mentioned in Leviticus 23, with clear instructions on how they are to be observed. Other examples include Deut. 16:2, Ch.16:16, and later in Zechariah, already mentioned, Ch.14:1-3,12,16-19 where the scriptures foretell that one day, Jew and Gentile alike will all be making our journey annually to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
In Ephesians Ch.2:4-6, the scriptures state clearly that YHWH has opened the door of the Commonwealth of Israel to believing Gentiles. They were strangers, who have been brought "nigh" Read v.13. In 1.Corinthians Ch.5:7-8 Yahshua is mentioned as our Passover Lamb. So it appears, that celebrating the Feasts was quite normal procedure in the early Congregations for both believing Jews and Gentiles. As for being necessary for Salvation, the Acts 15 Scriptures suggest perhaps not? However, this question is open for prayerful discussion...
Another thought worth pondering on is the fact that the first and last days of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are all Moedim, and so is the Feast of Weeks, (Pentecost). They are all 'appointed times' or Moedim of Yahweh. This carries weight, and also needs to be considered. I would say that we should prayerfully consider these things, and while we may realise that the Feasts are not necessarily essential to our Salvation, they may be what is expected of us from the Almighty as we grow in knowledge and understanding that they are HIS Feasts.
The Feast of Atonement is perhaps 'put on hold' at the moment, because it was part of the 'added Law' the result of the sin of the Golden Calf at Sinai, 'until the time of reformation' Heb. 9:10. If you are interested in finding out more about the added law, then follow this link. You will read how the Feast of Atonement was added because of the sin of Aaron's sons etc. The Feast of Trumpets is also a part of the 'added Law' because of the sin of the Golden Calf. Read about this 'added Law' here.

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