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Days of Celebration – Week 16 / April 15th
We have just finished celebrating Jesus’ death and resurrection or Passover. As is the case every year, many Christians write in and ask why we refer to this celebration as Passover and not Easter! So, we need to ask ourselves, yet again, why we celebrate these biblical festivals? The answer is simple because they reflect more completely the life, ministry and death of Jesus! Jesus Himself celebrated Passover but put the significance of His death and resurrection into it. The same is true for all the other biblical Feasts. It is important to note that we enjoy these as celebrations and not obligations. Surely, after years of celebration, we know the meaning and important truths lying behind each of these biblical Feasts and memorials? The real answer is; we forget so easily and therefore we drift from God, lose sight of His love and grace, and disconnect ourselves from His purpose in the world. We live for ourselves, serve mammon and no longer know how to love those around us. The cycles of Biblical celebration, that God gives us, are for our renewal. This can be understood in the following ways:
Renewal of the Biblical truth that they so powerfully convey
Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles are rich in instruction. They remind us that we are accountable to God, that we depend upon His atoning grace and that we are to rejoice in the knowledge that we are part of His kingdom. As Christians we remember that Paul stated in Romans that when we no longer give God thanks, in all these things, we stray from Him and turn aside to foolishness. Our world abundantly demonstrates this. We need to be constantly renewed and therefore reminded of who God is and what He has done for us. Such is the state of our hearts that failure to remember is the highway to forgetfulness!
Renewal of the Young amongst us
The Bible repeatedly teaches us to take special care of the children. Jesus echoed the same truth when He placed a child on His lap and blessed him. In fact He attributed greatness to children because their faith was so innocent and trusting. To harm them is to attract the extreme displeasure of their Father in Heaven. In addition the last book of Moses, Deuteronomy, exhorts parents to instruct their children in their homes concerning the great themes of; who God is and what He has done and requires from us. A child, according to the book of Proverbs, is like a tender “creeping plant” that can be trained in the way in which he or she should go. This requires love, affection, correction and discipline. Most of all it requires from Parents example! People are not called sheep by the Word of God for nothing. Sheep follow easily and parents who do not “walk the life that they talk” to their children about will not have success.
Renewal of Community life
All the Biblical festivals are community celebrations. We celebrate them with the people of God. Too much of Christianity today is self centered and contradicts Paul’s frequent exhortations to relate in different ways to one another. Interacting with the family of God teaches us a lot about patience, faithfulness, submission and love. All of these are imparted to our lives when we have do things that others want to do and we don’t really want to!
Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles teach us to fear God, walk in His grace and power and be joyful. Paul said that the, “Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Passover reminds us of the “door” to the Kingdom of God which is Jesus’ death alone. Pentecost reminds us that the power of the Kingdom of God is the Word of God and the Spirit of God and Rosh Hashanah reminds us of God’s holy command to be like Him. Yom Kippur of the only way to have peace with God and that is through His atoning love and grace and the Feast of Tabernacles of the fact that God wants His people to have life and joy in abundance. God’s people have a lot of fun!
The community of God is to experience these things together. Again I want to affirm that the great Feasts of the Bible are a celebration and not an obligation! We explore their meaning and significance together and thereby learn how to better love God, one another and the world. We are the poorer spiritually for neglecting them.
Renewal of appreciation for Israel and the Jewish people
The great Feasts of the Bible enable Christians to understand more fully the Jewish roots of their faith and thus they learn to appreciate the people of Israel and understand that “salvation is of the Jews.” This in turn keeps anti-Semitism from “knocking at their door!”
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries