The Holy Assembly and the Everlasting Covenant
By: Jeff A. Benner



TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: THE FIRST COVENANT

1 - What Is A Covenant?

2 - The Covenant with Israel

3 - The Holy Assembly

4 - The Torah

5 - The Sabbath Covenant

6 - The Feasts of the Lord

7 - Other Nations Enter the Covenant

8 - The Desecration of the Covenant

9 - The Promise of A New Covenant


PART TWO: THE NEW COVENANT

10 - The New Covenant

11 - The Holy Assembly

12 - The Torah

13 - The Sabbath Covenant

14 - The Feasts of the Lord

15 - Gentiles Enter the Covenant

16 - The Desecration of the Covenant


CONCLUSION

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14 - The Feasts of the Lord

Just as in the case with the Sabbath, the Church says that we do not need to keep the Feasts of the Lord. No scripture can be found declaring that the feasts are abolished, yet there are scriptures showing that feasts of the Lord were observed by the believers in the book of Acts.

At this point, we need to look at another passage, which is often used to imply the abolishing of, not only the Sabbath, but also the feast days.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16,17)

Does this statement say that the festivals, celebrations or Sabbaths of the Torah do not need to be kept? No, it simply states that we are not to judge anyone for what days they keep.

An example of judging another when it comes to the Sabbath would be like one person saying, "You work on the Sabbath by fixing your neighbors car". And the other responds with, "I am doing this as a free service to help him and give glory to God, but you just lay on the couch all day doing nothing, you may be resting as commanded but you are not making the day holy". Here we have two people judging each other on how they keep the Sabbath. The above passage is condemning this type of judging.

Since the Torah is a shadow of the Christ that was to come, are we to believe that once Christ has arrived the shadow disappears? Once an object that casts the shadow is seen, does the shadow of the object disappear? The Torah points us to Christ and is therefore a shadow, but the shadow remains, Torah remains.

Even in this passage we can see that the shadow remains because it says that the feasts and Sabbaths "are a shadow", it does not say, "was a shadow." The passage indicates a present observance of the Sabbath and feasts and not a past observance. We also need to see that when it says "a shadow of the things that were to come" is not a correct translation of the Greek. The NASB Translation does a better translation for it says "a shadow of the things to come". Here we can clearly see that the Sabbath and Feasts are (present tense) a shadow of things to come (future tense).

Let us now see what the New Covenant, specifically after Christ's ascension, says about each of these feasts. Did the believers observe the keeping of the feasts?

 

Passover

When Yeshua took his Last Supper with his disciples, he was partaking of the Passover meal. During the meal he took the bread and wine, and gave it to his disciples, he then said, "Do this in Remembrance of me." We need to ask, when he said, "Do this", is he only speaking of the bread and wine, or is he speaking about the entire Passover meal? When we partake of the bread and wine of the meal we are to remember him?

When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. (1 Corinthians 11:20,21)

In verses 20 to 34, Paul gives us some instructions on observing the "Lord's Supper". We can see that Paul is not only referring to the taking of bread and wine only, but of a meal. Some have called this a "Love Feast"; the scriptures do not specifically name this feast. But since it is being called the "Lord's Supper" we can assume it is referring to the same supper Yeshua ate of before his crucifixion, which was the Passover.

The Passover meal, along with all the other meals held on the holy days is to be worship services to God. The Passover meal is only a meal to physically feed the body, but also a meal full of teachings to spiritually feed the spirit. In the above passages, we see a problem in the Corinthians method of keeping the "Feast", they are eating it as though it was a meal to enjoy the food, forgetting that they are there to honor God.

 

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast - as you really are. For Christ our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

Yeast is a picture of sin. As commanded in the Torah all the yeast is removed from inside the home before the Feast of Unleavened Bread. No yeast is used during this feast for cooking. Each of the seven feasts is used as teaching tools by God to teach his people about him. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread we are taught to remove sin from our homes. Paul is reminding the believers of this instruction and instructs them to remember this while keeping the feast. This feast is mentioned two other times in the book of Acts.

He proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12:3)

We sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 20:6)

The believers still recognized the feasts as a part of the believer's calendar.

 

The Feast of Firstfruits

This feast is a day where the firstfruits of the harvest are given to God. Although this feast is never mentioned in the New Covenant, we can see that it is used as an instructional tool.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:18)

They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

The harvest of the fields is a picture of the end time harvest of all the believers. The passages above are speaking of the firstfruits of that end time harvest. Here we see the "reality" of the feast that is the shadow.

The prophecy of the feast of firstfruits was fulfilled in Christ when he rose from the dead. As 1 Corinthians 15:20 says; "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

 

The Feast of Weeks

Of the seven feasts, this feast is clearly observed by the believers. The Greek name for this feast is Pentecost.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1)

We still observe Pentecost in our churches today, but it is believed that we are observing a holy day which began here in Acts 2:1. This holy day did not begin here, but all the way back in the book of Exodus, within the Torah God gave to Israel.

This feast is also mentioned two other times in the New Covenant.

Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. (Acts 20:16)

But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost. (1 Corinthians 16:8)

Again we see the feasts being used as a part of the calendar.

The Jewish tradition during this time was that Israel and all the nations with them, received the Torah from God (Ex 20), each in their own native language on the first Feast of Weeks. We also read in Exodus 20 that the presence of God appeared on the top of the mountain in the form of fire. The Torah was then given to them on tablets of stone. Compare this with the events in Acts chapter 2. Here we see, on the Feast of Weeks, fire descending on the believers. The believers then began to speak in the native language of the Jews who were listening. As prophesied in Jeremiah 31, the Spirit of God came upon the believers and the Torah was written on their hearts, rather than on tablets of stone.

 

The Day of Atonement

There is only one mention of this feast within the New Covenant.

Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. (Acts 27:9)

This feast had become known as "the Fast" because this day is to be a day of fasting as commanded in Leviticus 23:27. Here again we see it as a part of the believers' calendar.

 

The Feast of Trumpets

This feast is not mentioned in the book of Acts or in the Epistles. We should understand that just because it is not mentioned, does not mean that it was not kept or observed.

 

The Feast of Tabernacles

Although the book of Acts or the epistles do not mention this feast as well, there is one First Covenant passage which does refer to the observance of this feast in the last days.

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)

 

Conclusion

God provides for us a life cycle to keep us focused on him. Within his Torah is a guideline of times set aside to remember his goodness. He gives us a vivid reminder of days gone by to look back on and to glean from. God makes the feast visual so they come to life. They are generally long festivals that the whole family and community get involved in. This cycle is designed to keep us in his word and to remember from were we came and were we are going.

We must remember that God commanded that the Sabbath and each of these feasts to be kept throughout all Generations as an everlasting ordinance. God set the week, month and yearly cycles with all its holy days, to be kept by his people forever and there is no scripture that changes or eliminates these holy days.

 

Chapter Summary

  • The New Covenant writers still recognized the feasts as part of their calendar.
  • The New Covenant writers still recognized the keeping of feasts as Pentecost and the Feast of Unleavened bread.

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Copyright © 2004
Jeff A. Benner

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