There are several reasons why this topic is making a powerful comeback. The primary reason is that in the past 20 years Christian Churches around the globe, represented by almost every major Christian denomination, have become much more aware of the Jewish identity of their Savior and King. This, of course, is a wonderful thing.

The question is usually framed in a very simple way: “Must Christians observe the Jewish feasts?” I would submit to you that there are several problems with how the question is formed.

First, the assumption is that “Christians” are members of a non-Jewish movement, independent in every way from the people of Israel. Knowing what we now know about the Jewish background of the New Testament, we can say with full confidence that this is clearly not the case.

Second, the question refers to the Feasts of the Lord as “the Jewish feasts,” as if these feasts did not belong to God himself as their biblically native terminology clearly implies. Only when we adopt the biblical (rather than theological) categories, can we begin to see that we are asking the wrong question. Wrong questions in turn are known to lead good and godly people to wrong answers.

Third, the inclusion of “must” is problematic as well. It unintentionally advances the question in the context of the Protestant-Catholic, 16th-century divide regarding personal salvation (faith vs. works).

I would restate the question in a way that, while surely more cumbersome in Christian English (the language of our communication), is more fitting to the biblical context:

“Should the follower of the Jewish Christ, who comes from the nations and not from Israel, also mark as holy ‘the Feasts of Lord’”?

I think the answer to this question is clearly – yes. The question is not “if”, but “how” must Gentile followers of the Jewish Christ observe the Feasts of the Lord in covenantal continuity and partnership with Israel, yet with full realization of the powerful implications brought forth by Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension.

It is indeed very interesting to note that Christian Churches, especially in their Catholic and Eastern Orthodox expressions, have never claimed that believers should cease to observe the feasts of the Lord.

In fact, both Christian communities (along with most protestant ones) have regularly marked many key biblical feasts with special worship celebrations. Unfortunately, they have often observed the feasts purposely on different dates and often inventing traditions far removed (and sometimes antithetical) to the original biblical injunctions.

Gentile Christians today are called to reunite with the people of Israel through, among other things, Christ-centered observance of the Feasts of the Lord and in so doing to experience their belonging to the Commonwealth of Israel.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

225 COMMENTS

  1. "Christ" implies deity/God, so the Christ/God is Jew'ish now is He? Your claim as to the feasts violates Gal 1:7-9, 2:15-21, 3, 4:8-31, 5:1-26, 6:11-18.
    • Although I do believe in divinity of Christ, you are mistaken to say that Christ IMPLIES God. It does not in and of itself. Whether my claims violate Galatians or not is a bold claim, which I invite you to prove. Take 1-2 texts and make your point. I will then provide my response. Blessings and peace from the lover of Galatians.

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    • "Christ" does not imply God. It is the Greek form (Christos) of the word for anointed. In Hebrew this is Meschiach. In Aramaic it is Meshika. It mean an anointed one. In the LXX the Hebrew word
      מָשִׁיחַ (Meshiach) is translated as χριστῷ (Christos) in reference to Cyrus.
  2. The ability for modern Christians to reflect back on the Jewish traditions is to be applauded. The knowledge of Christ in the culture he was born in, makes for a most enriching and knowledgeable faith. This does not preclude they have to follow Jewish traditions such as the Passover. The Holy Spirit is not static and works within cultures, transforming the culture as salt in society. God is not wanting to cocoon or coral cultures to imitate Jewish culture. He wants people of faith expressing their lives as believers within the vast variety of worlds cultures. Behold I make all things new.
    • It sounds reasonable (although I think you would agree that since Holy Spirit is divine it comes across somewhat presumptuous to claim to know what He does or does not want to do). But in the end the logic leads to the current reality which is almost a complete alienation of Christian practice from all things Jewish. One day I will write about the modern Passover Seder celebrations in Churches (and it is not what most people think I would say about it). :-)

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    • Passover is not a Jewish tradition. It is a God-prescribed remembrance of the Exodus from bondage in Egypt.

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    • Since God does not change, and He told Israel to observe (watch, guard) the feast “forever”, it would seem that Passover should still be observed.

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  3. The comment "Gentile Christians today are called to reunite with the people of Israel through, among other things, Christ-centered observance of the Feasts of the Lord and in so doing to experience their belonging to the Commonwealth of Israel" is... interesting. Who is calling them and who says they are to belong to the Commonwealth of Israel? My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
    • Shalom, Thomas. I have this text in mind from Eph.2: "11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. "

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    • It is Adonai who tells us who is chosen and who is not. This is not favoritism. It is God’s prerogative to make choices.

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    • That includes times and seasons as well as people. If you can say that all men are chosen, then your point is of use.
    • Otherwise it is without merit, and you are dictating to God what you want Him to do. That is presumptuous.

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  4. I think a Jew is obligated to observe the Biblical festivals as they can, while a gentile is invited to do so.
    • Donald, hi. Naturally one's interpretation of this message will hinge on one's hermetical approach. But it is a text to wrestle with nevertheless.

      Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. (Zach.14:16)

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  5. Having knowledge of and acknowledging the feast of the Lord will certainly increase our understanding of YeHoVaH's work and ministry toward those who believe. The sacrifices have been completely satisfied in Yeshua haMashiach. The where and how and exactly when to commemorate and celebrate his great work for our salvation may vary as of now; but I am with you in spirit (and Spirit) If not physically in your time zone etc.
  6. I think that the Greek translations influenced all denominations by inserting or leaving out of Hebrew understanding.
    • Dirk, Greeks never translated any part of the Bible from Hebrew into Greek. Jews steeped in Hebrew did that. Moreover, I am not sure how it is relevant here. Can you please explain?
  7. AMEN! YES! I am grafted in according to Romans 11; gladly a part of Israel, & a believer in Yahshua! Thank you for saying that!
  8. Celebrating the feasts is a blessing but not a “must”. Col. 2:16-17. Paul says no one should be judged on this.
    • Benedict, in one way they are the same all though the preferred mode in Scripture is to speak of Israelites (children of Jacob/Israel and their decedents). Jews/Judeans is also a biblical term but it came to use much later and is almost not used in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Read my book the Jewish Gospel of John (the term and its original meaning comes into play there strongly.
    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!
    • Under the heading of "A brief History of the Terms for Jew" in the 1980 Jew'ish Almanac is the following;

      *'Strictly speaking it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a 'Jew' or to call a contemporary 'Jew' an Israelite or a Hebrew."* (1980 Jewish Almanac, p. 3).

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