Reading: Leviticus 23
Currently there are many calendars in the world, most of them religious: Chinese, Hindu, Muslim, Grecian, Egyptian etc. In modern times the religious calendars of the world are used mainly to keep track of religious festivals. They are seldom used in international business. Were you to ask the average Greek, Muslim, Hindu or Egyptian the date by his own religious calendar, he'd probably not be able to tell you unless it was on or close to a religious festival.
The Civil (Gregorian) Calendar
This is the business calendar used throughout the world. It's months (January to December) and its weekdays (Sunday to Saturday) are well known to peoples of every nation. Legal and business documents, cheques, travel tickets, news papers etc. are all noted with this civil calendar's dates. It is an international calendar which, through commerce, has captured the attention of the world.
2. THE SACRED CALENDAR
Then there is the Sacred Calendar of the God of Israel. It is the oldest calendar known to man. It was in use in the patriarch Noah's day, hundreds of years before the empires of Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece or Rome were thought of.
|Gen.7:11||In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.|
|Gen.8:4||And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.|
|Gen.8:13||And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.|
3. YAHWEH'S FEAST DAYS
The Bible tells us of certain sacred Feast Days in the Almighty's Calendar. Comparatively few Christians know of these feasts. Of those who do, many make the mistake of thinking that they are Jewish Festivals. To be sure these feasts are celebrated by the Jews; but, strictly speaking, they do not belong to the Jews or nation of Israel. They are the Feasts of the LORD (Yahovah)!
They belong to Him, not to any particular race of people. This is an important point.
|Lev.23:1-2||And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the FEASTS OF THE LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY FEASTS.|
The chapter then goes on to list the various feasts of the Most
High. Starting with the weekly seventh day Sabbath (commonly
known as Saturday) it proceeds to tell of the six annual feasts
of the Most High and one fast (the Day of Atonement).
4. ETERNAL MEMORIALS OF SALVATION
Yahweh's festivals are eternal Memorials of Salvation: each and every one recalling some great divine achievement in the Almighty's programme of salvation. Being memorials of salvation, they will be celebrated throughout eternity by the redeemed host.
|Exo.12:14||And this day shall be unto you for a memorial: and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.|
|Lev.23:14||... it shall be a statute for ever throughout
your generations in all your dwellings
21 ... it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations
31 ... it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
41 ... It shall be a statute for ever in your generations:
|Isa.66:22|| For as the new heavens and the new earth,
which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so
shall your seed remain. |
23: And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
5. FEASTS KEPT IN NEW TESTAMENT TIMES
From early youth to the day of his death, the Lord Jesus Christ kept His Father's Feasts. Here is proof.
|Luke 2:41|| Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year
at the feast of the Passover. |
43: And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast
|John 4:45||Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.|
|John 7:14||Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.|
|John 7:37||In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.|
|Matt.26:17||Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?|
|Luke 22:11||And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?|
Paul Kept the Feast Days
|Acts:18:21||But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.|
|1Cor:5:8:||Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.|
6. CHRISTIAN HOLIDAYS
In the course of time the Feasts of the Most High were almost abandoned by the church which at about the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine was made up of predominantly Gentile converts. The sacred Feasts of the Most High were replaced by Pagan holidays which were incorporated into Christian worship and given Christian names: Sunday, Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, the Feast of the Nativity of St John, Whitsun, Hallowe'en, Lady Day, the Feast of the Assumption etc. All these so-called Christian festivals are nothing more than Pagan festivals in disguise! No amount of ecclesiastical argument can hide the fact that nowhere in Holy Scripture is their observance commanded. They are heathen festivals through and through and the unholy spirit that motivates their celebration is still apparent in our time. Hundreds of years ago these festivals of paganism caused a mighty split in the early church. That split continues to this day.
However, it is not my purpose today to analyse and speak about Pagan festivals. Visit any reference library and you will soon discover the heathen origins of Christendom's popular celebrations. Suffice it to say that most Christians have little idea of how wrong they are, or of how grievous is their sin, when they celebrate Sunday, Christmas and Easter etc. Woe to them if they continue to do this after learning the facts. But woe especially to those religious leaders who continue to keep their flocks in blissful and dangerous ignorance. I say - Woe to them!
7. THE SIGNATURE OF YAHWEH
The Holy One of Israel has a special identifying Sign which He places in the minds and actions of His followers. That Sign is the Sabbath days commanded in His law.
|Ex:31:13||Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a SIGN between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.|
|Ex:31:16||Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a PERPETUAL COVENANT.|
|Deut.6:||4: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8: And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes..
|Ezek:20:12|| Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to
be a SIGN between me and them, that they might know that
I am the LORD that sanctify them
20: And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a SIGN between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.
Note carefully that Yahweh's Sign (signature) is His Sabbaths
(plural). This means more than just the weekly Sabbath.
The Weekly Sabbath (Saturday) is like the Most High's initials.
To have His full signature in the mind, one must observe
all of the seven annual Sabbaths: the Feasts of Unleavened
Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles etc.
All these Sabbaths, taken together constitute the Sign, the
Signature of the Holy One of Israel. That is what the Bible
teaches. Believers ignore these facts at their peril.
8. A SPIRITUAL ELECTION COMING SOON
Shortly before the Saviour returns to earth, the whole world is going to be involved in the greatest spiritual election ever held. Multiplied millions of souls will have to decide between the Law of the LORD God and the law of the Antichrist; between obedience and disobedience; between the Sabbaths of the LORD and the festivals of Paganism. The test will centre on the Sabbaths of the Most High which hang on this command:
|Exodus 20:|| 8: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9: Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Observance of the seventh day of the week (Saturday), the Sabbath
of the LORD thy God and the annual Sabbaths listed
in Leviticus chapter 23 will test the whole human race when the
Antichrist makes his appearance. As pointed out previously, Yahweh's
Sabbaths constitute His Signature, His Sign, the special identity
mark He places in the minds and actions of His faithful followers.
They may not be perfect individuals, but their observance of these
divinely ordained Sabbath days will identify them as the 'People
of Israel's God' as nothing else ever will.
By contrast the inhabitants of the earth will be required to receive the Mark of the Beast; the Signature of Satan, the deadly Festivals of Paganism which the world so eagerly celebrates in place of the Sabbaths of the Most High. The peoples of the world will have to choose between these two options:
Economic Sanctions (not being allowed to buy and sell in the markets of the world) will be used against those who refuse to receive the Mark of the Beast:
|Rev.13:16|| And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and
poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or
in their foreheads: |
17: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Needless to say, most people will accept the Beast's Mark without
a qualm in preference to the Sabbaths of the LORD God. After all,
these are the days they normally keep anyway.
9. TIME PROPHECIES IN SCRIPTURE
The Time Prophecies of Daniel and Revelation all slot into periods of time between the feast days in the sacred calendar. Begin counting on a feast day in one year, and lo! 1260, 1290, 1335 or 2300 literal days later another feast occurs. This fact is explained in Appendix C of our booklet entitled The Sacred Calendar of the God of Israel. This mathematical relationship between the Almighty's Feasts and end-time prophecy means that in the last seven years (2300 days is about 6.5 years) before the Saviour returns, the Time Prophecies of Daniel and Revelation will begin on one or another of the Bible Feast days. We will know at which feast - and in which year - when we see the promised signs in the sun, moon and stars.
10. HOW TO KEEP THE FEASTS
Yahweh's Feast days are Sabbath days on which no work, other than the preparation of food, should be undertaken.
|Ex.12:16||And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.|
A holy convocation, incidentally, is a commanded assembly,
which means 'compulsory attendance.' This means
that unless you're working in some life-saving job,
where failure to work could result in someone dying (i.e. doctors,
nurses, ambulance or fire services etc.) attendance at these
holy convocations is compulsory! If no such service is held
in your area, see How to Organise a Sabbath
The Almighty's Feasts are days of rejoicing in that they celebrate His mightiest acts in the Programme of Salvation.
|Ezra:6:22||And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.|
|Neh: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.|
May the Almighty grant us all the wisdom to recognise these facts
and the courage and power to act upon them. Amen
SBS Sermons The Feast Days of the God of Israel (booklet)