There are two seven day Festivals commanded by God. No work of any kind including cooking and buying of food or drink may be done on the High Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath. This article is about the other intermediate Festival days and how they are to be observed.
God commanded that after Israel had left Egypt, the Passover was to be sacrificed ONLY at the place where God chose to place his presence. In other words the Passover [and all other sacrifices] were to be made in the presence of God at the place where God had placed his name [presence].
Deuteronomy 16:5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:
Here we find the word “even” or “evening” clearly defined as sunset.
16:6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
After the covenant was made in the wilderness at Mount Sinai, God commanded Moses to build the tabernacle and God placed his name [presence represented by the Ark of the Covenant] in that tabernacle. From that time the ark was moved with the tabernacle wherever God led Israel to move, but the Ark and tabernacle were always in Israel [except for a brief period in Gaza].
During the time of David, God chose Jerusalem; and Solomon built a temple to God and the Ark of God was placed inside the temple at Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 6:6 But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be .there;
From that time forward all sacrifices including the Passover, were to be made at the temple in Jerusalem.
From the dedication of the temple and as long as a temple stood, whenever God said to go to the place God had chosen, we are to go to the temple at Jerusalem.
Exodus 23:17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God
Three pilgrim Feasts are commanded in which the people were to present themselves before the LORD at the tabernacle and later at Jerusalem [once the temple was built].
Exodus 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
23:15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours [Pentecost], which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering [Tabernacles], which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles were both to be observed for a full seven days at the place of God’s tabernacle or temple.
After God moved his Holy Spirit from the physical temple to dwell in his New Covenant people and the physical temple was destroyed, we are to assemble together wherever we can and are not confined to a single location, because God now dwells in His faithful; we are the New Covenant Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
While God permitted the preparing of food on that one time “ox in the ditch” occasion when Israel was marching out if Egypt; here we see the commandment to do NO WORK on these Holy Days. No WORK includes food preparation which is to be done on the previous day, the preparation day; as mentioned by John.
Jesus was killed on Passover day, which is the preparation day for the first High Day of the Feast of Unleavened and the Jews along with the followers of Christ understood that they must complete preparations before sunset ending Passover day since no work was to be done on the Holy Day.
The sanctity and no work command regarding the Holy Day, being why the disciple put him in the tomb Wednesday afternoon without further preparation, purchased the spices on Friday after the High Holy Day and returned to anoint the body on Sunday.
Deuteronomy 16:8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.
16:9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn [grain; The Sunday during Unleavened Bread of the Wave Offering] .
Pentecost is on the fiftieth day after the Wave Offering which was made on the Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread; Pentecost being the next day after the completion of a seven Sabbath count.
16:10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Referring to the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost
16:11 And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
16:12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.
The Feast of Tabernacles
16:13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn [grain] and thy wine:
16:14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
Thus far we see that:
God has commanded his males to journey to appear together before him for the Passover and the complete seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the complete seven [plus one] days of the Feast of Tabernacles Eighth Day and for the Day of Pentecost. There is no specific command that the women appear because of the women’s issues of pregnancy, uncleanness etc, but it is clearly intended that all women who were able were to also appear before God with their families.
Both the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles are seven days long and both have certain High Holy Days and a Weekly Sabbath
Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.
At sunset beginning the 15th day, Israel marched out of Egypt
23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
23:7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work [work of ANY KIND] therein.
23:8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work [work of ANY KIND] therein.
Leviticus 23:33 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 3:35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work [work of ANY KIND] therein.
We know that on the Sabbath and High Holy Days no work of any kind including buying food and drink, cooking is permitted. ONLY the work specifically commanded by God is to be done on the Sabbath and Holy Days, and acts of mercy may be done.
The intermediate Non Sabbath Festival Days
We are to appear before God, which means that we are to assemble before God to learn of Him and to rejoice together over his wonders.
The intermediate days are still a part of the Feasts,but because they are Appointed Times and not High Holy Days, work may be done; yet regular work was left at home when they journeyed to keep the Feasts of God.
By commanding journeys to keep the Festivals at group sites, it is clear that God intended that only work which is directly related to keeping the Feast, like procuring, preparing and cooking food, washing clothes and necessities should be done during those intermediate Feast days.
Today the Ekklesia should be setting up sites for both the Spring and Fall Festivals but most of our brethren are very widely spread and a large number of our blog visitors are fence sitting, making the establishment of Festival sites almost impossible.
I will continue keeping the Festivals at this blog for the time being, but in the Kingdom there will be Festival sites in both the first and the seventh months for all people to keep both Festivals for the full seven days.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is for a full seven days and on the intermediate days we are to have assemblies each day. Otherwise these days should be kept as FEAST DAYS especially with spiritual activities like Bible Studies and discussions with family and friends, fellowshiping in the Lord.
What is the purpose of the seven days of the two Festivals besides the prophetic allegories?
The purpose is to present ourselves before the LORD in sincere repentance and rejoicing over our deliverance from all bondage to sin; and to assemble every day to hear God’s servants teach us about God, and to glorify God with study, praise, prayer, with music and with song.
The Festival of Unleavened Bread and the Festival of Ingathering are like two seven day Bible Studies; learning the things of God, learning the Word of God, so that we might go forward to live by EVERY WORD of GOD forever more!
What are we to do during each and every day of the seven days of these two Festivals? We are to spend the time learning how to live by EVERY WORD of GOD!
Even the physical eating is an allegory that we are to be spending the time in Spiritual Feasting on the whole Word of God!
Let us look at a scriptural example of what God wants us to do every day of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Biblical Examples of How to Keep the Feasts
2 Chronicles 30
Hezekiah invites all Israel to come and keep the Passover at the rededicated Temple in the second month as the law allows.
30:1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh [In Israel], that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel. 30:2 For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month.
This, because the temple was being cleansed and rededicated in the first month.
30:3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. 30:4 And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation.
Because the temple was in disrepair, neither Judah nor Israel had kept the Passover at Jerusalem as the commandment required.
30:5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. 30:6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king [of Judah], saying,
The invitation of Hezekiah to ALL Israel:
. . . Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. 30:7 And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.
30:8 Now be ye not stiffnecked [stubborn and self willed], as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.
30:9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
Let us also keep the full seven days of the Festivals in sincerity and truth on the dates that God commands and in the way which God commands, and let us turn from our idolatry of men to rededicate ourselves to the Mighty One of Moses and Abraham.
30:10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.
Most of Israel rejected the invitation to keep the full seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, as many of the Ekklesia do today; yet a few did turn to the Eternal in sincere repentance and went up to keep the Passover.
30:11 Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 30:12 Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD. 30:13 And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.
Let us destroy all idolatry of men out of our spiritual temple, and turn to the Eternal to have the sacrifice of the Lamb of God applied to us.
We are a widely scattered people today but I post in the internet and we reach very many with the final warning and witness to turn and embrace the whole Word of God in passionate love, loving our Magnificent God enough to actually KEEP his Word despite what any man might say or do!
Brethren, it is time to put away our corporate idols and idols of men, in a Hezekiah revival in the Ekklesia!
30:14 And they arose and took away the [pagan] altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron.
Then the priests and Levites who were still wavering were ashamed that the people were more zealous than they were and sanctified themselves.
30:15 Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD. 30:16 And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.
The Levites also killed the Passover for the unprepared and unclean of Israel, who had decided to turn to the Eternal too late to be properly cleansed.
30:17 For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. 30:18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written.
But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one 30:19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. 30:20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
Brethren, Oh if only we would turn to the Eternal with all our hearts and sincerely repent of departing from Him; He would forgive and accept us in his matchless and tender mercy for his beloved called out!
30:21 And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD. 30:22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession [studying God’s Word and sincerely repenting to] to the LORD God of their fathers.
As we see the terrible events unfolding towards the burning correction of the proud and lukewarm, let every one return to an enthusiastic zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God. Let us all return to that first passionate joy of discovery that we had at the beginning of our calling; when we thirsted after the knowledge of truth, and rejoiced at each new discovery!
Hezekiah and the people kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for fourteen days to learn the things of God.
30:23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness. 30:24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
If we rejoice to embrace the knowledge and truth of God, to extirpate all idolatry of men and the sin of lukewarmness: and turn to our Mighty One with all our hearts; if we continue in overcoming: Then we will be given an eternal life of the same godliness and have a part in the collective bride with the might godly men of old! The rejoicing on that day will be great!
30:25 And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. 30:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
30:27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their [Levites voice] voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
Brethren, every Sabbath, New Moon, Holy Day, Appointed Time and all seven days of the two Festivals and the other one day Feasts; are to be spent learning to live by EVERY WORD of GOD, and in sincere repentance, spiritual revival and rejoicing before God for his deliverance!
These Festivals are to teach us about God Almighty, and the law and the whole Word of God are to be taught every day of these seven day Festivals.
Nehemiah 8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day [The New Moon Feast of Trumpets] of the seventh month. . .
The Feast of Trumpets, only comes on a New Moon by the Biblical Calendar and does not do so in today’s Rabbinic Calendar [unless there is a postponement]. Ezra read the Book aloud before Judah, as the LORD had commanded to Israel.
8:2 . . . And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day [the New Moon Feast of Trumpets] of the seventh month.
8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
First Ezra stood upon a height behind a pulpit and opened the Book of the law [Deuteronomy], then praise and prayer was made to God and then a portion of the Book was read to all those old enough to hear. Then the Levites expounded on the reading to give the people a good understanding.
8:4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit [platform or stage] of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
8:5 And Ezra [the priest] opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people on his platform;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
From this comes the concept of a teacher being elevated so that all the people could see and hear, and also the tradition of the people standing for prayer. Ezra read in the morning and the elders taught the meaning in the afternoon.
8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
The people began to be sorrowful for their past wickedness and Ezra and Nehemiah told the people that the day was holy and to rejoice before God.
8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha [Governor] , and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. 8:11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
8:12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
Here they turned the feast of the seventh New Moon into a two day Feast out of eagerness to hear the scriptures. Since Hezekiah’s time a two day observance was already a tradition outside of Palestine, due to the difficulty of timely communicating the sighting of the new moon at Jerusalem to the rest of the world.
8:13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
In their reading they found the command to keep the Feast of Booths for seven days, and not yet understanding that they might dwell in any temporary structure and were to rejoice with the branches they built the booths out of the branches.
This was a good thing and in no wise unlawful.
8:14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
8:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
8:16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
8:18 Also day by day, from the first day [of the Feast of Tabernacles] unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
It was after this that Ezra understood that we are to rejoice with the branches and need not build our booths out of branches; and instituted that into the religion. See the Booths and Branches article.
On the second day after the Eighth Day there was a great repentance and mourning over sin, because of the words of the law that were read to the people during the Feast.
Nehemiah 9:1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. 9:2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
Today we are desperate for this kind of Ekklesia wide repentance and zealous turning to the commandments and Word of God.
9:3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day [if this refers to daylight it would be about three hours on this special fast day]; and another fourth part [another three hours on this special fast day] they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
Then the leaders led the people in sincere repentance and praising God.
9:4 Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the LORD their God. 9:5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said,
The prayer of sincere repentance, which we need to sincerely repeat today.
First, the glory and power of God is proclaimed and extolled.
9:6 Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. 9:6 Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
Then a history of Israel’s relationship with God is presented.
9:7 Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;
9:8 And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:
Christ delivered Israel out from physical Egypt, and he will deliver us out of spiritual Egypt and bondage to sin if only we will follow him.
9:9 And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea;
9:10 And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh [A type of Satan], and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.
If we will only follow him and live by Every Word of God; we shall also be raised up out of the Red Sea, Red symbolic of Blood, Death and the Grave,
9:11 And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.
9:12 Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.
If we zealously passionately learn and keep our covenant of espousal to Christ to live by every Word of God, then we shall enter into a full marriage of one spirit at the wedding of the Lamb.
9:13 Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:
9:14 And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: 9:15 And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
We are also this day full of pride like the ancients, and we have turned from our zeal for keeping the Word of God and following Christ; to exalt our idols of men and corporate organizations, and to exalt our own ways and false traditions, above the Word of God.
9:16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, 9:17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.
9:18 Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; 9:19 Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.
9:20 Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.
9:21 Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.
9:22 Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.
9:23 Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.
IF we are fully faithful and endure and overcome, conquering all sin through the power of our High Tower of Strength; we shall enter the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life.
9:24 So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.
9:25 And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.
If we are disobedient, and today WE ARE disobedient to God; we shall surely find that our God has turned away from us and corrected us, for all our wickedness against any zeal to love God and keep his Word.
9:26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.
9:27 Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.
9:28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the land of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;
9:29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.
Jesus Christ has been very patient with the New Covenant called out of Spiritual Israel, and now the time for our correction is at hand.
9:30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.
9:31 Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.
The people sincerely repent and seek the favour and aid of the Eternal. WE must do likewise to see the salvation of the Eternal.
9:32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.
9:33 Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:
9:34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.
9:35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.
IF we sincerely repent; then the Great God of Many Tender Mercies, will forgive and accept us; indeed he is standing at the door knocking for admittance into our lives! (Rev 3:15).
Where to Keep the Festivals Today
Jesus knowing that the temple would be destroyed and the brethren scattered said:
God has commanded that we should observe three yearly pilgrim Feasts before Him. These are called Pilgrim Feasts because the called out of Egypt Mosaic Covenant people, were commanded to journey to the place that God dwells and to appear before God on these three annual occasions.
God commanded these observances as allegories to teach us about His plan for humanity and it is incombent on us to observe these Festivals to understand the spiritual truths that they are intended to teach us.
While the Feast of Pentecost is one day it was to be observed at Jerusalem [or after the destruction of the temple, wherever the converted gather together to appear before God] as we see in the book of Acts.
The Feast of Tabernacles is to be observed for a full seven days capped by the Feast of the Eighth Day; while the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to be observed for a full seven days preceded by the Appointed Time of Passover.
The First Day of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day, and the first and Seventh Days of Unleavened Bread are Holy Days; on which [like the weekly Sabbath] no work of any kind may be done [including buying food and drink, or cooking].
The intermediate days are semi holy days or Appointed Times for worship; like the Passover, the Wave Offering Sunday and the New Moons, on which work may be done as long as we also assemble before God on each one of these Appointed Times, including the intermediate days of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles.
For many years I have personally taught to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the full seven days just like Tabernacles, as Almighty God has commanded. The First and Seventh days of Unleavened Bread are High Holy Days on which no work of any kind [except what God commands for keeping those days] may be done; and the middle intermediate days are Appointed Times on which work may be done but assemblies are also to be held.
Because we do things our own way and not God’s way, we shall soon be cast into great tribulation.
Links to other articles
‘‘The Church of 1962 was dedicated, inspired to identify sin, to overcome sin, and to put out sin, through the power of the Spirit of God made possible by the sacrifice of the Messiah. The focus was Christ’s sacrifice and love. God’s people demonstrated love, dedication, and zeal. There were outstanding, unusual, miracles of healing.
On the other hand, in 2002, there was no mention of a Festival, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; instead, Meredith referred to the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. There were no daily inspiring sermons during the Festival, no miraculous healings. Instead, there were meals, site-seeing tours, and fellowship, mainly minister to minister, instead of the whole Church together for the entire eight days of scintillating spiritual feasting. The intervening days between the first and last holy days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were filled with business, meals and entertainment, touring, and traveling.”
Herbert Armstrong declared, on returning from Gladewater, Texas, in 1952, after observing Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days that:
“God has made it plain we MUST HAVE an adequate place, the most centrally located possible, so that the largest number can attend, for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and for those able or close enough, even the Day of Pentecost…”
This location proved too small in 1953 for the numbers wishing to attend.
The 1954 Festival was therefore celebrated at several regional sites in the USA — for the full seven days, with services both in the morning and afternoon.
The festival continued to be celebrated for seven days, with increasing attendances and extra venues. Evening Bible Studies replaced daytime services in some locations, for the benefit of those who could not get time off work to attend both annual seven day festivals, or were not paid if they could do so.
The 1967 Festival (report begins on p.5) was the final seven day festival. This was the year of the death of Herbert Armstrong’s wife, Loma, after which Stanley Rader, who was given control of the church’s finances, became his main adviser. The official reason for cancelling God’s seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread is so that people could give larger offerings.
Days of Zeal Gone By Study No. 216
The May, 1962, issue of The Good News magazine reported on God’s Passover Observed World-wide. This article was written by Evangelist Roderick C. Meredith. Over 10,000 brethren of the Radio Church of God in seven major Festival locations in America, plus others in England, Australia, and around the world, observed a glorious Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Unlike the common practice today of having Passover and Night to Be Remembered locally in homes, and perhaps Holy Day services on the first and last days of unleavened bread, the practice then was to observe an eight-day festival with the whole church in central places, with multiple sermons and Bible Studies every day, just like the Feast of Tabernacles.
On March 13, 1961, Herbert W. Arm strong wrote in a member letter, Full eight day services will be held in more places than ever before this year. Since Passover that year fell on a Friday, the last Holy Day of the Feast also fell on Friday, followed by a weekly Sabbath. Armstrong noted, This means we will actually have nine days of services.
As reported in the May, 1962, Good News, some 2000 brethren gathered in Gladewater, Texas, at the Church s Tabernacle Grounds. Garner Ted Armstrong, Les McCullough (who had been recently ordained as a Preaching Elder), and other ministers preached each day during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Meredith reported, The theme of overcoming and putting out sin dominated throughout the preaching and Bible studies during this Festival as it did everywhere this Festival was observed by God s Church.
Another 2000 brethren met in Pasadena, California, with daily services given by Rod Meredith, Norman Smith, Ron Dart, and others. Albert J. Portune and Carlton Smith conducted the Passover services and an entire eight-day Festival in New York City. Over 500 people were in attendance on the night of the Feast and there were several hundred in attendance each day throughout the entire Festival. In Chicago, 614 took the Passover, and around 1000 were in attendance for the Feast, where many came in from several surrounding Midwest states. Meredith reports, The spirit of dedication and service in the Chicago area is very pronounced and reflects the character and personality of the pastor in that area, Mr. Dean Blackwell.
Full eight-day Festivals were held also in Portland, Oregon, and Denver, Colorado. In Portland, Plain Truth managing editor Herman Hoeh led Festival services, assisted by Dale Hampton, Jimmy Friddle, Richard Plache, and Carl O Beirn. There were 470 for Passover, 800 for the Sabbath, and several hundred each day for the entire eight-day Festival. Hampton reported, there was great joy and rejoicing throughout the entire Festival. In Denver, Leroy Neff, Burk McNair, and Frank McCrady conducted services: 272 for Passover, 500 at the Holy Day, with a few hundred in attendance each day more coming, of course, for the evening services. Thus, there were two or more services each day.
Raymond Cole, pastor over the churches in the Pacific Northwest, traveled to Opp, Alabama, to lead the seventh USA spring festival site, joined by Gerald Waterhouse and Carn Catherwood, at the National Guard Armory. Some 143 kept the Passover, and over 200 attended throughout most of the eight-day Feast. Cole reported that there were a number of outstanding HEALINGS, which God granted throughout the Festival, many were healed by God through the prayers of His servants in an unusual way.
In other local areas, hundreds of brethren not able to travel to the seven Festival locations, kept the Passover and perhaps the first and last Holy Days of Unleavened Bread in Ohio, Texas, Missouri, California, Pitts burgh, Seattle, Oklahoma, and Indiana, where many brethren also journeyed to Chicago for the all-day meetings during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
In Bricket Wood, England, Herbert W. Armstrong led the spring Festival, with 166 for Passover, and 210 for the Festival, with local services in Birmingham, Manchester, and Belfast. Wayne Cole, pastor in charge in Australia, led the festival in Sydney, with 89 for Passover, and average attendance during the entire Festival of 140. Services were also held in Melbourne. Finally, nightly meetings were held in St. Lucia, West Indies.
In summary, Roderick C. Meredith noted that the 1962 Passover and Feast of Un leavened Bread Festival demonstrated the unusual dedication and LOVE among God s people, the deep understanding and POWER of God s ministers, and the tremendous world-wide work being carried on by a comparatively few people. Perhaps because of this emphasis on CHRIST S great sacrifice and love, each year the Passover season seems to point up the deep warmth, love and DEDICATION of God s people. In other words, the way the 1962 Passover Feast was observed showed the zeal of God s people to do His Work!
Forty years later, quite a different Feast of Unleavened Bread was observed by Rod Meredith and others in the Church of God, as he reported in the July-August 2002 issue of Living Church News. On March 20, Meredith traveled to New Zealand to visit Living Church of God offices there, and then he went to Brisbane, Australia, to visit the LCG leader of Australia, Bruce Tyler. Meredith conducted Passover services Tuesday night, March 26, in Brisbane. On Wednesday morning, Passover day, Meredith toured Brisbane. Then he preached on Thursday, the first Day of Unleavened Bread to 58 brethren, followed by a covered dish meal and long fellowship. Then, the same day, Meredith flew the 2200-mile journey to Perth in Western Australia, arriving late and going to bed.
On Friday morning, he and the local elder toured Perth s Kings Park and dined at a fish restaurant in Fremantle. On Sabbath, he preached to 49 brethren in Perth, followed by a patio dinner at a member s home. On Sunday, he flew back to Sydney, did not have a service because there are so very few Church people there, but instead toured the city and took a boat trip on Monday. On Tuesday, still during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Meredith flew to Melbourne, touring interesting areas, including a war museum, met with Church elders, and on Wednesday, the last Day of Unleavened Bread, he preached to about 55 people in Melbourne. On Thursday, he toured Melbourne more thoroughly.
Notice the contrast between 1962 and 2002. In 1962, the Church observed a Feast, the whole eight-day festival together, marked by twice-daily services during the entire time. The Church of 1962 was dedicated, inspired to identify sin, to overcome sin, and to put out sin, through the power of the Spirit of God made possible by the sacrifice of the Messiah. The focus was Christ s sacrifice and love. God s people demonstrated love, dedication, and zeal. There were outstanding, unusual, miracles of healing.
On the other hand, in 2002, there was no mention of a Festival, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; instead, Meredith referred to the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. There were no daily inspiring sermons during the Festival, no miraculous healings. Instead, there were meals, site-seeing tours, and fellowship, mainly minister to minister, instead of the whole Church together for the entire eight days of scintillating spiritual feasting.
The intervening days between the first and last holy days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were filled with business, meals and entertainment, touring, and traveling. Or, as they say in Australia, holiday. Instead of a Festival, a holy convocation, the 2002 Feast of Unleavened Bread was a holiday for Rod Meredith. Most of God s people continued their daily routine, pausing only briefly for the first and last Holy Day services.
If you had to judge the character of the Church of God in 1962 versus 2002, which one would you say was zealous? Which one would you say was lukewarm, watered down?
Sometime during the mid to late 1960s, the Church of God ceased the practice of observing an entire eight-day Spring Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread. There after, the usual annual 30% growth in new members, ceased to a trickle. Healing miracles became rare, as scarce as hen s teeth. Some sermons became boring. Doctrines were changed, watered down, and in some cases, were altered to become politically correct.
No external Satanic foe was responsible for this debacle. We have met the enemy and it is us! It gets worse.
In 2002, the Living Church of God added to its Fundamental Beliefs a provision, We believe that the Philadelphia era [of God s Church] began in the 1930s and that we are a continuation of that Philadelphia era.
Of course, one cannot prove Church eras from the Bible. Church eras is not a Bible term, but a man-made phrase. And historic ally, one cannot prove when one supposed era began, and another era diminished. The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 existed at the time the Apostle John wrote the Apocalypse. These seven churches may well represent seven different characteristic attitudes of God s Church through the ages, and during a particular period, one of those church s characteristics may be the dominant attitude. There is somewhat a chronological progression of the seven churches, in the same way that these cities were successive towns on a first century mail route. The seventh church, Laodicea, must therefore represent the dominant characteristic of the True Church in the very end times.
Remember, each Church message ends with the same admonition, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches [plural], 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 22, 3:6, 13, 22. This means that at every period of its history, the Church is to heed the warnings given to all seven of these churches, because all seven messages apply. Thus, spiritual Philadelphians need to heed the message to Sardis, to strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God, 3:2, as well as be zealous therefore, and repent, the message to Laodicea, as well as all the other messages to the seven churches.
Pride is bad. God says He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34, I Peter 5:5.
Notice the context of James 4. It is talking of wars and fightings among you, the Church. Lustful Church leaders war and squabble in order to obtain more power and control over the brethren. Instead of being servant leaders, they lord it over the flocks, and proudly lift themselves above others, whom they put down. One of the biggest put downs is the claim, We are Philadelphian, and you are Laodicean. Even though the facts speak otherwise, the proud claim to be a Philadelphian continues to be made.
Comparing the Feast of Unleavened Bread of 1962 with 2002 makes 99% of today s Church of God Laodicean. Another Church group took the name, Philadelphia Church of God, yet it too, in doctrine, in practice, in zeal for God, continues to act Laodicean. If you are lacking in zeal, then you are in the Laodicean condition.
The Church at Laodicea said that it was rich and increased with goods, in other words, spiritually superior to others. Those groups who proudly claim to be Philadelphian, when they are not, are actually demonstrating that they are Laodicean.
Zeal for God
What is Biblical zeal for God? In the Old Testament, zeal is translated from the Hebrew word quinah, or qana, Strong s #7068 and #7065. Sometimes these words are translated zealous, or jealous. One of the great characteristics of the Eternal is that He is zealous. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall do this, II Kings 19:31.
In describing the characteristics of the Messiah and His coming kingdom, the Bible says, The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this, Isaiah 9:6-7. The coming great Second Exodus likewise will be performed with zeal by the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 37:31-32, after He has chastised His people, Ezekiel 5:12-13. Jehu zealously slew wicked Ahab s descendants, II Kings 10:16-17.
How about us? Does the zeal of the house of God (doing God s Work) eat us up, consume our time and efforts? See Psalm 69:9, 119:139; John 2:17.
Although the scattered Church is trodden down, doubtless He is our Father, and His zeal and strength is just waiting to be manifested on behalf of His people, Isaiah 63:15-19.
Zeal is a prominent characteristic of the New Testament Church of God, II Corinthians 7:11. Titus 2:14 says we are to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Jewish believers in Christ were zealous of the law, Acts 21:20. We are to be zealous of spiritual gifts, I Corinthians 14:12. The zeal of the Corinthians provoked many, II Corinthians 9:2. Epaphras had a great zeal toward the Church in Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, Colossians 4:13. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, Galatians 4:18.
Paul said that Israel who rejected Christ have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge, Romans 10:2. They were ignorant of God s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God, verse 3. Before his calling, Paul zealously persecuted the Church, Philippians 3:6. He was always a zealot, Acts 22:3; Galatians 1:14.
Besides the zeal of Christ in cleansing the Temple of merchandisers, the primary Bible example of Godly zeal is Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, grandson of Aaron.
During their journey to the Promised Land, Israel began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, joining with them in idolatrous worship of Baal-peor. God told Moses to slay everyone who was joined to Baal-peor. Most of the Israelites, however, were squeamish in fulfilling God s command. An Israelite boldly flaunted God and Moses, when he brought a Midianitish woman in open sight of Moses and Israel, and went into his tent with her.
Phinehas took a javelin in his hand, and thrust them both through, thus staying the plague of the wrath of God, after 24,000 were slain in the plague.
The Eternal told Moses that Phinehas had turned away His wrath. As a result, Behold, I give unto him [Phinehas] my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. He had God s zeal in him, and his actions proved it. See Numbers 25.
It is high time for a modern day Phinehas to show himself in the Church of God. In their laxity in observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and many other things, these times are the days of zeal gone by.
The Almighty s loving message to this Laodicean group is, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent, Revelation 3:19.
by Richard C. Nickels “The Days of Zeal Gone By”, See our Spring Festivals articles.