Keeping the Feasts


By Dr. Ken Matto


And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12:17)


There are many Christians out there who belong to dispensational churches who insist on keeping the feasts of ancient Israel.  In many churches there seems to be a call to embrace Zionism and that is an ungodly system because it is placing the believer back under the law from which Christ freed them from.  The yoke of bondage was the law.


Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)


Paul admonishes the Galatians to stand firm in the liberty which Christ had made them free from having to keep the tenets of the law. The essence of Christian Liberty is not that we have been made free so we can smoke, drink, and party as I have heard some small minds explain it away. The essence of Christian Liberty is that because of salvation by grace alone, we are not under any obligation to keep the ceremonial law for salvation. This is why Paul is saying to the Galatians that they should not become entangled with this yoke of bondage. A yoke couples two things together and neither of them can get free until they are freed from the outside. The law binds the person it is coupled to and will not let it go because it is something that is perpetual. If a person chooses to keep the law for salvation, then they must live in it in perpetuity. The problem is that those who live in the law cannot keep the law and therefore that yoke of bondage does not lead to salvation but eternal damnation.


For some reason many think that by keeping the feasts it makes them super spiritual instead they are in disobedience to God by continuing on what God had personally caused to cease in 33 A.D.  When Christ went to the cross and after he died, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.


And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (Matthew 27:51)


It is very important to note that the veil which separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies was torn from the top.  This veil was a very thick veil which meant that no human could have ever torn it from the bottom up never mind from the top down.  The top down tearing shows that it was God himself who tore that veil which meant that the Holy of Holies was now approachable for the true believer and it was the end of the Mosaic system.  No longer was the ceremonial law to be partaken of because it was only symbolic but salvation is only through the grace of God.  (Which it always has been because the law could never save)  The Holy of Holies represented God the Father and now that the Lord Jesus Christ died for the Elect, they now had access to God the Father through Christ.


1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)


For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)


In the Old Testament Mosaic law, only the High Priest was allowed in the Holy of Holies once a year to offer sacrifice for the nation of Israel.  Under Grace, our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ died for all the Elect named before the foundation of the world, which is the Spiritual Israel but unlike the Mosaic law, we can come into the presence of God the Father because of Christ who fulfilled the demands of God’s righteous law.  And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (Deuteronomy 4:8) 


The Feasts and Their Meanings

There is nothing wrong for us to know the feasts of Israel and what they represented but we also must realize they are not to be kept since they were only foreshadows of Christ and have absolutely no spiritual significance for the true believer.  As a matter of fact, those in the cult of Judaism try keeping the feasts but it is of no value because the feasts do not stand alone as they pointed to Christ and in Judaism Christ is rejected.


Passover – Leviticus 23:5

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (1 Corinthians 5:7)


The Passover represented the death of Christ as the sinless lamb of God.  On passover a lamb without blemish was killed and the blood was placed on the lintel and the two side posts.  When you look at the placing of the blood, it is a picture of the cross.  The two side posts represented the arms on the cross and the lintel or top of the door represented the vertical support of the cross. 


Unleavened Bread – Leviticus 23:6-8

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)


The Feast of Unleavened Bread represented the sinless life of Christ making him the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the Elect.  Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. (Deuteronomy 16:3)  Christ was called the man of sorrows and ate the bread of affliction when he died for the sins of the Elect.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)


First Fruits – Leviticus 23:9-11

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20)


The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (Exodus 23:19)  The first fruits were to be brought into the house of the LORD.  They were to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits to wave before the LORD the day after the Sabbath.  They could not eat of the harvest until it was dedicated to the LORD.


Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)  The believers could not yet enjoy their spiritual life until the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to his Father and presented his completed sacrifice which sealed all the Elect for eternity. 


Christ was the first fruits who rose from the dead and never to experience death again.  Christ performed three resurrections:


The son of the widow of Nain - Luke 7:11-16

The Daughter of Jairus – Luke 8:41-42, 49-56

Lazarus – John 11:1-44


What all three of these had in common was that they all physically died again.


Pentecost – Leviticus 23:16

8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (Acts 2:8-11)


The Feast of Pentecost was dedication of the whole harvest to God as the one who gave the harvest to Israel.  It was celebrated 50 days from the day after the Sabbath of the Passover.  The produce of the harvest could not be eaten until the firstfruits were offered unto the LORD.  Pentecost was 50 days after the resurrection of Christ and 10 days after his Ascension day.  It was the beginning of the last days and the beginning of world evangelism.  It was not the beginning of the church because God was saving many believers in Old Testament times.  Abraham was about 2000 B.C. and he was saved by grace which is the only way God saves someone.  It even goes back further with Able and maybe Adam and Eve.


Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering – Leviticus 23:34

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (Hebrews 9:11)


The Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering was celebrated on the 15th of Tisri or Tishri, five days before the Day of Atonement.  It was commanded by Moses to remind them of the times they had no permanent home and lived in these booths as a temporary shelter when they came out of Egypt and secondly, it reminded them of all the fruits which they gathered from the previous year.  Egypt in the Scriptures is representative of the world and as people become saved, they are still in their same physical bodies until they are called home or the rapture of the church on the last day.  In Scriptures, the human body is referred to as a tabernacle.  Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; (2 Peter 1:13)  The feast of Ingathering dealt with the harvest that the LORD gave Israel and in the New Testament it would refer to the complete harvest of souls when the last one has become saved.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (Revelation 14:15) 


Day of Atonement – Leviticus 23:26-32

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)


The Day of Atonement was when the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year and presented an offering for the sins of the nation of Israel.  It was a national cleansing from sin.  When Christ went to the cross, he died for the sins of all the Elect who would be given to him by the Father.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)  All the sins of the Elect were removed from them as they became saved because Christ made atonement on behalf of the body of Christ before the LORD.


Feast of Trumpets – Leviticus 23:23-25

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)


The Feast of Trumpets was a feast whereby Israel would hear the sound of the trumpets and would remember what God had done for them coming out of Egypt.  They were to do no work because it was to be done on the Sabbath and they were to bring an offering before the LORD.  In the New Testament when the trumpet sounds, the end shall come and all the true believers will be taken to Heaven and the unbelievers will be taken to Judgment.


Sabbath – Exodus 20:8

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)


I wanted to include the Sabbath Day in this study although it was not one of the seven main festivals, it is still observed by many Christians today.  The seventh day sabbath was part of the ceremonial law and not the moral law as the other nine commandments are.  The ceremonial law is no longer in effect since Christ went to the cross.  The only one of the ten commandments which is not repeated in the New Testament is the fourth commandment on the Sabbath because that would be placing Christians back under the law.


Some might argue that Jesus kept the Sabbath therefore we should too.  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (Luke 4:16)  We must understand when Christ went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, it was before the cross.  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4)  Christ came into this world under the law and kept the law perfectly and that perfection was imputed to all those he came to save.  We are all born under the law but once we become saved, we do not partake of the ceremonial law while we keep in obedience to the moral law because we have been saved by grace through the sacrifice of our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ who presented himself as the sacrifice for the Elect.  This was prophesied plainly back in the time of Abraham.  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8)  Notice that God will “provide himself” as the lamb for a burnt offering or we bring it into New Testament terms as we read in John 1:36.  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36) 



The seven main feasts of Israel plus the sabbath were all part of the ceremonial law and have been completed in Christ.  Therefore, no Christians or churches should be keeping these feasts.  It is okay to understand them but not to place any emphasis on them since they have no spiritual value.  Keeping these feasts adds nothing to your salvation while it compromises your testimony.  There is an obsession with Christian Zionism in the churches today making the modern nation of Israel the focus of many churches.  That is nothing more than idolatry as the modern nation of Israel has no ancestral connection to ancient Israel.  Judaism is not Old Testament but is Talmudic in belief making it another Christ rejecting false religion.  No Christian or church should have anything to do with their rituals nor should they rejoice if a third physical temple is built. It would have no spiritual significance at all and resumed animal sacrifices is nothing but slap in the face to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Choose you this day, you either serve Christ and have life or serve Israel and have death!  If you keep these feasts, you are basically saying that Christ has not come and that the Lord Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah.


Back to Prophecy Round Up            Back to Prophecy            Back to Israel Studies