Holy Days or Horror-Days
One of the most telling practices of the true Disciple of Messiah is their steadfast observances of the Sabbaths and Feasts of Yahovah. There are several reasons why a Disciple of Messiah would defy orthodox christianity’s traditional holidays (i.e., Easter, Christmas, Lent, Good Friday, etc.) for Hebraic holy days that are typically celebrated by orthodox Jews. (Interestingly, if you were to look up “Christian Holidays” on Wikipedia.com, you may be surprised to see that the Catholic Church possessed knowledge of the Feasts of the Lord that were kept and perpetuated by Israel from the time of Moshe to the outset of the time of Yeshua, and instead of adopting these precious holy days, the Roman Church devised their own “feasts” days by intermingling pagan holidays, traditions, and practices with supposed Christian themes, concepts, and adoration of Saints. Historical documents highly suggest that intense anti-Semitism was one of the primary reasons why the Roman Church abandoned the Feasts of the Lord for their own heterogeneous holidays.) These traditions and pagan holidays are practiced throughout the world even today, with knowledge of the pagan origin of the holiday conveniently hidden from the millions of christian adherents. The pessimistic side of me believes that even when the pagan origin of these holidays are made known to modern-day christians, they invariably will find little use of this information and thus would not be persuaded that their observances of these “horror-days” are in total opposition to the will of the Father and the example and teachings of our Master Yeshua Ha Meschiach. I recall discussing the pagan origin and basis of christmas with a co-worker once. I was surprised that she knew precisely the truth of this holiday in terms of its pagan origin. Yet she was very quick to say that she saw no reason why we should not celebrate this holiday. Her stance was simply- the reason for the season far outweighs the concern that the holiday is the wrong thing to do. I was utterly appalled by her rationale on what I considered to be a critical issue. But I quickly saw that this was likely the rationale held by so many other self-professing christian believers around the world.
Key Point–Human Reasoning Alone Does Not Work
Try as one may, the traditionalist is unable to understand the significance of these Feasts. I am a firm witness to this claim. When originally proposed to me by Hilary during the period of 2002 to 2005, I failed to see the significance of the Feasts of the Lord, even when she sought to explain them from the pages of my Bible. It wasn’t until 2005 that I had a change of heart and determined to seek the truth for myself; that was when the significance of the Feasts of the Lord was finally in part revealed to me. Granted it was a combination of several elements that ultimately broke the damn of my understanding that for years had held back the flood of Truths that had always been there and just waiting for me to accept. Using my experience as a standard, I’ve identified the following essential elements as needed for me to finally grasp the Truths regarding the Feasts of the Lord:
- An open mind and a sincere heart to learning what the Bible says about the Feasts of the Lord (Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ–Preparing the mind to accept the truth and not be held captive by tradition and orthodox doctrine–but to accept the Truth of God devoid of any influence–(1Pe 1:13 ESV); For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people–Ultimately the Father desires that His Laws be embedded in our mines and written on our hearts; so that simple fact is the greatest portion of the battle to receive the Truth–(Heb 8:10 ESV); Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering–Shaule instructs that we have a mind that is open to receiving the Truth and avoid having the attitude that we know it all–(Col 3:12 KJV); Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross—constantly wanting the mindset of our Master and Savior is imperative to receiving the Truth–(Phi 2:5, 8 KJV); For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not–a mind that is willing to accept the Truth in place of that which we were once deceptively false–(2Co 8:12 KJV); 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind–it’s personal and finding the fullness of the Truth is the task of every single person who would be a true disciple of Messiah–(Rom 14:5 KJV); 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith–sometimes in life, especially as it relates to our Faith, we are called to make a stand on our own two spiritual feet and not kowtow to the mainstream–(Rom 12:2-3 KJV); 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be–I had to realize that my search for the Truth was not an intellectual endeavor– (Rom 8:7 KJV); 19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews—the search for the Truth about the Laws of Yehovah and the Feasts of the Lord is an arduous one and is journey fraught with emotion, trepidation, and joy– (Act 20:19 KJV); 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so–a readiness of mind here corresponds to the Greek term “prothumia,” denoting an eager and zealous mind. Indeed, that period of discovery during 2005 and 2006 seemed to me to be the best months of spiritual growth I had ever encountered in my entire life —(Act 17:11 KJV); And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever–Solomon was directed to serve Yehovah with a “chaphets nephesh,” a desirous soul. Seeking after the Master and His righteousness must be a labor of love and utter devotion–(1Ch 28:9 KJV)
- Fervent prayer to the Lord for revelation of His Truths to my mind and understanding of the Truths of the Lord–14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2Ch 7:14 KJV); 9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination–I knew the stakes were extremely high and it is not until we reach such a place in our spiritual walk then our prayers for gaining the Truth regarding the Feasts of Yehovah will fall upon deaf ears–(Pro 28:9 KJV); 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD–our Loving Father cares so much for us and wants the very best for His creation, His Children, His future spiritual family. In order to meet His requirement for holiness He created the Torah that provided us instruction for living according to His specifications and requirements. Next, He brought His Son to show us how to properly apply the Father’s codes for holy living and through the Master’s atoning sacrifice and the giving of the Holy Spirit qualifies us to reign eternal with the Son and become the Father’s eternal children–(Jer 29:11-14 KJV); 3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: 6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (Dan 9:3-6 KJV); And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luk 18:1 KJV); 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Phi 4:6 KJV); 17 Pray without ceasing. (1Th 5:17 KJV); 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Mat 7:7, 8 KJV)
- Exhaustive study of the Bible in order to solidify and understand the Truths about the Feasts of the Lord–All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2Ti 3:17 ESV) (2Ti 3:16, 17 ESV); These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Act 17:11 KJV)
- Not only did I consult the Bible itself but extra-Biblical tools and helps
- Allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my life during that time was crucial to opening my understanding of the Bible as it related to the Feasts of the Lord. (Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luk 24:45 ESV); I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Phi 3:15, 16 KJV)
- I read and listened to both sides of the argument as it relates to obeying the Law
- When I finally realized the Truth, I resisted the urge of rejecting it in fear of losing my Traditionalist and Fundamentalist connections
- It doesn’t hurt to have a spirit-filled Believer holding the presumptive believer in prayer (For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Col 1:9 KJV)
Now this is in no way intended to be a treatise or comprehensive outline as to how one goes about understanding the significance of the Feasts of Yehovah. I am just giving you my personal experiences and what worked for me as it related to cutting through the layers and centuries of misinformation and traditions that hide truths. I have been there and done that so to speak and I now realize the fortress that has been erected around the doctrines and teachings of the church. No matter how much intellectual gray matter I threw at this issue during that 3-year period that Hilary tried so desperately to appeal to my understanding, I always failed to arrive at the true understanding of the matter. Furthermore, my understanding was bogged down in the muck and mire of the christian religion–the traditions and pagan-based doctrines–that provided no room for such things as understanding why we as Believers of Messiah must adhere to the Laws of Yehovah. Thus, I fully believe that we cannot count upon simple rational reasoning to get the Messianic message across.
Speaking from experience, having been blessed to have observed these holy days for almost 10-years now, I can attest that nothing puts a confused look upon the average person’s face than to have an African American male explain to his family and co-workers that he observes ancient Hebrew holy days. Worse yet, to have him explain in that same conversation that he does not observe traditional christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas; these conversations typically come to a screeching halt pretty quickly.
There is no doubt about it: taking on the life of a Disciple of Messiah can be best described as challenging. This lifestyle defies traditional christianity in so many fundamental ways and one of the biggest ways it defies churchianity is in the Disciple’s commitment to Torah-living and all of the trappings that go with it. To begin with, the learning curve for the new Believer of Messiah is relatively huge. I’ve now been in this Faith for the better part of 10-years and I’m still learning, still soaking it in, still asking questions, still seeking…I’m constantly challenging myself to gain as much knowledge and experience as I possibly can in order that I may be of service to the Master and show myself approve of Yehovah. Of course, Biblically speaking that should be one of the main goals of any Believer of Messiah.
Yahshua’s Great Commission was all about leading would be believers to this lifestyle. Yahshua commanded his inner circle disciples turned apostles to go out and cultivate more followers through a process of discipleship training. Accepting the Gospel message, rejecting one’s sinful life, and being baptized is only the beginning of a fantastic journey that will take a lifetime to complete.
The Messianic Movement is the purest form of the true Faith that Yahshua delivered to the first century saints. It seeks to shed the traditions and pagan-based doctrines that have shaped and supported the orthodox christian faith for two-millennia. Consequently, the Messianic Movement is deemed heretical and cultic by the orthodox establishment. This of course should be of no surprise. The two faiths when compared are dramatically different in so many facets, even in the way the person of Jesus the Christ is perceived and painted.
For me, one of the greatest transitions from orthodox christianity to the Messianic Movement involved the observances and celebration of the Feasts of Yahovah (as opposed to the standard christian holidays). I had met my brother-in-law, a deacon of a Church of God International congregation, at his home in Kingston, Jamaica in August of 2005. During the few days I was privileged to be in his company, he challenged my orthodox christian beliefs using nothing but my Bible. It was during that time that my journey in to the Messianic Faith actually began. Prior to that, Hilary had already launched her own journey 3-years prior, but had experienced staunch opposition from me whenever she attempted to discuss her latest findings in the Faith.
My brother-in-law filled my mind with material that completely challenged my perceptions and understanding of the christian faith. By the time I left him, bound for my Southern California home, I was completely confused and frankly terrified. I was terrified because a lot of what he proposed to me actually made sense and I found it less and less difficult to refute and reject his rhetoric. However, I wasn’t completely sold and when I returned home I was bent on proving both my bother-in-law and Hilary wrong. Yet I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind and heart that the perceptions I had about my orthodox faith were error.
Two months later, my brother-in-law invited Hilary and myself to Montego Bay, Jamaica, to experience his church’s observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. Prior to receiving this invitation, the only thing I knew of the Feasts was that which Hilary had attempted to teach me. Nevertheless, recall, I wanted nothing of this heretical faith that Hilary had brought into our home. Needless to say, I knew nothing about the Feasts. Knowing nothing of the Feasts, I had some degree of trepidation traveling to another country and participating in a weeklong religious observance that was based upon, what I thought at the time to be, heretical teachings. I was still processing the material that my brother-in-law had left me with the couple of months prior and thus I was not at all ready to process anymore material. I arrived with a jaundice attitude. I also recall that I was hypersensitive to those whom I anticipated would heartlessly shove their form of the Gospel down my throat. In spite of all of this my frame of mind at that point was still braced for a good exegetical fight. Thus I set out to simply sit and observe and take notes and upon my return to Southern California try to make sense of this whole thing and then arm myself with a defense in the future.
Well, I had a positive life-changing experience as a result of attending that Feast. I have been on an ever changing fast boat to the Kingdom ever since and I am not looking back.
So What’s the Big Deal?
So why is it important that Messianic, or even Christian believers (1) understand the annual Feasts of the Lord and (2) observe and celebrate them?
The full answer to that questions is simple: the entirety of Scripture in one form or another rests upon the foundations of these Feasts of Yehovah. Just as the Old Covenant (i.e., Old Testament) in one way or another pointed to the Person of Yeshua (aka Jesus), the Feasts of Yehovah portrays the Father’s grand plan of salvation for mankind.
Traditionalists and fundamentalists have a partial understanding of the plan of salvation. Essentially the belief is that one must believe upon Jesus as one’s personal savior, repent from one’s sins, and await the return of Jesus to be raptured away to heaven where he or she will gaze into the face of the Savior through all eternity. This understanding of the plan of salvation is unfortunately sorely lacking and in some points grossly in error. One point of contention here is that the plan of salvation is the Gospel message that Jesus Christ proclaimed during His earthly ministry. This version of the Gospel is a contrived message designed to elicit an emotional response to a call to salvation. I believe this is one of the many “Trojan Horses” of orthodox churchianity’s doctrines and belief systems that is potentially leading millions of believers in Christ down a broad road towards destruction. In truth, the Gospel message was about the coming Kingdom of Messiah and Yehovah’s intervention into the affairs of men to reconcile mankind to Himself through Kingdom Living (i.e., Torah-bases-Living) which Yeshua brilliantly modeled for us.
Once one understands the Feasts and the Truth of Scripture, one quickly understands that the traditionalist’s perceptions of the plan of salvation is sorely lacking in its accuracy and relevance to man’s ultimate potential to become True spirit sons and daughters of the Most High. So an understanding of the annual Feasts of Yehovah orients us in terms of our right relationship with the Father by showing us shadow pictures of the “suffering Messiah” who came to atone for our sins (encapsulated in the Spring Feasts) and then the triumphant Messiah who will come to set up His millennial kingdom here on earth (encapsulated in the Fall Feasts). Once one understands the fullness of the Father’s plan of salvation-as pictured in the Feasts of Yehovah-and how it pertains to him or her in a personal and direct way, then the Believer of Messiah is able to make the necessary adjustments in their lives to ensure that they are on the narrow but correct path to life eternal. As in a previous episode I borrowed a statement that I received from Messianic teacher Michael Rood when he said that we are suppose to be the Bride of the Master. No groomsman is responsible for getting his bride ready for the wedding; it is the responsibility of the bride to make her-self ready for that great event. Orthodox churchianity teaches that we are to meet Jesus in heaven just as we are, having no personal responsibility to live according to the way that the Father proscribed that man should live from the very beginning. A full understanding of the Feasts Days prepares the bride to receive the groom on that great Day of the Lord in the future.
Why then is it important that we observe and or celebrate these Feasts? Well, I just gave you one: to help us prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Another major reason would be the desire to be a part of the Master’s coming kingdom. Otherwise, the Biblical record clearly denotes that Yeshua’s entire life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension was played out in the annual Feasts of Yehovah. Consequently, Yeshua himself faithfully observed these Feasts according to the Law and as recorded in the Gospel record. Fourth, the first century Saints faithfully observed these holy days and fifth, these Feasts Days will be observed and celebrated during the millennial reign of Yeshua Ha Meschiach. It will not be until the fulfillment of all things that these Feasts will be done away with. Yeshua said that not one jot nor tittle will pass from the Law of Yehovah until all is accomplished (reference: Matthew 5:18). And it will not be until death and the incorrigible are cast into the Lake of Fire.
Friends, if our Master faithfully observed these days; if our teachers–the apostles–faithfully observed these days; if mankind the world over will celebrate these days in the coming Kingdom of Yehovah–how can be we be so presumptive to state with certainty and pomposity that the Law has been done away with and we are no longer required (or in the words of orthodox churchianity, obeying the law nullifies the significance of the death and resurrection of Yeshua) to observe these Feasts? This is simply the nuts and bolts of the matter. But there are also the important elements of one’s faith that we often forget when we are looking at such a vital question as to the soundness of observing the Laws of Yehovah: the tremendous spiritual growth opportunities to be had simply by observing the Feasts. As I mentioned above, my growth in the Faith would not have been so remarkable (my opinion) if it hadn’t been for my having the distinct privilege of observing and celebrating the Feasts of Yehovah.
Sadly, the hijacked doctrine of grace has hidden the treasure of the Feasts of Yehovah from the minds of fundamental christians the world over. Finally, the christian world has before her eyes the full understanding of God’s Annual Feasts and Holy Days. Every believer must make a conscious decision whether to embrace these mandated, commanded, Holy Days–or as the Father has labeled them–Holy Convocations to be observed from sunset to sunset in accordance to the sacred calendar that was put in place by the Creator before the foundations of the earth were laid. I do believe that once one understands the importance of these Feasts, he or she must make a decision whether to obey or not the Father’s commandment to observe these sacred days. A decision to reject these days will likely have severe eternal consequences. Unfortunately, most christians around the world will choose to reject or ignore the Feasts of Yehovah. At the great white throne judgment, the Master will likely hear a bevy of reasons why: the Law was nailed to the cross; these Feasts are Jewish and we are not Jewish; the Lord knows my heart; my family has been part of the traditional denominations for generations and what’s good for my ancestors is good for me; we’ll worry about celebrating these days when Christ returns; we are christians and thus we are not obligated to observe the Law; and one could likely come up with many more reasons. Sadly, after the Savior judges the individual who failed to follow His commandments, He will utter the most horrible reply to their weak explanations: ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Mat 7:23 ESV) All indications are that these individuals will be cast into the lake of fire where they will physically and memory-wise cease to exist.
The Challenge and Call to Action
Man’s heart is desperately wicked (The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it (Jer 17:9 KJV)) and his mind is enmity towards the Laws of Yehovah (the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Rom 8:7 KJV)). To break through these two barriers–a wicked heart and a carnal mind–requires something more than merely a persuasive manner, a talented praise and worship group, hip surroundings, and slick words. In my case, it required the various things that I outlined above which I hope I am not being to forward by saying are applicable to most everyone who would become true sons and daughters of the Most High and Believers of Messiah. Surely, there must be a calling upon one’s life to become a disciple of Yeshua. The Biblical record is clear that Yeshua individually called His inner circle of disciples–And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mat 4:19 ESV); Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve…(Joh 6:70 KJV). Certainly, most christians in fundamentalists and traditionalists denominations have responded in one form or another to such a call. But…I believe, for one to actually receive the Truth once delivered to the first century Saints, one must be chosen of Yehovah–If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (Joh 15:19 KJV); Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you…(Joh 15:16 KJV); And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days…(Mar 13:20 KJV); For many are called, but few are chosen (Mat 22:14 KJV).
Here is where I believe the rubber meets the road: identifying the chosen ones who would be believers of Yeshua and become his cherished disciples. All the others who respond to a call for salvation are simply called. Those who boldly proclaim the name of the Lord and are filled with His Holy Spirit and who are obedient to His Laws and have the Testimony of Yeshua Ha Meschiach are indeed His chosen ones. These are the very ones who will become kings and priest in the Master’s millennial kingdom, put on immortality, and realize the greatest potential that the Father has in store for His beloved–But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1Co 2:9 KJV)
Contrary to traditionalists belief, 2 billion self-proclaimed christians will not be on that roster of the chosen ones. The Biblical record is clear that only a handful of chosen ones actually find the correct path to life–Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 7:14 KJV)
Yehovah’s Annual Feasts and Holy Days
The Spring Feasts of Yehovah provided us with a shadow picture of the Suffering Messiah who came to atone for our sins and they include: (1) Passover; (2) Unleavened Bread–a 7-day observance; and (3) Pentecost.
The Fall Feasts of Yehovah provide us with a shadow picture of the conquering and reigning king and they include: (1) Trumpets; (2) Atonement; (3) Tabernacles–a 7-day celebration; and (4) The Last Great Day.
Over the course of this month we will delve fully into the Fall Feasts of Yehovah and examine the relevance that these 4-Feast have to the Disciple of Yehovah.
As this episode is being posted, Yom Teruah (or the Feast of Trumpets) will have begun. The command to observe this Sabbath is found in Leviticus 23:23,24 and Numbers 29:1. The prophetic shadow picture portrayed by this Feast of Yehovah harkens back to Yehovah revealing himself to the Children of Israel at the base of Mount Sinai and proclaiming his ten-commandments to the people; and in the future the coming of the reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords to this earth to gather His chosen from the four corners of the globe at the sounding of the 7th trumpet.
Indeed, sound the ram’s horn at the new moon and rejoice…our redemption draws ever so nigh.