Growing up in a society that has truly rejected much of God’s word, it is not surprising that much of what God instructed us to do would seem odd to me when I first read or studied it. I am accustomed to hearing people dismiss as “odd” the customs and guidelines that God set aside in instructing His people for what holidays to celebrate and how. Today’s brief scripture in Exodus is not the best place to get the details about what God tells His people to do in regards to holidays, or more accurately “holy days”. However, it is one of several places in His word that instruct us in His desires for how we should celebrate and why. (For those who are unfamiliar, the Feast of Unleavened Bread immediately follows Passover.)
Three National Feasts
14“Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. 15“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. 16“Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. 17“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
18“You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor is the fat of My feast to remain overnight until morning.
19“You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God.
“You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.
Are God’s instructions really that odd? Let us compare them to our common cultural holidays and see if they are really that unusual.
Worldwide people celebrate Christmas with a tremendous focus on pagan symbols and traditions. Mistletoe is supposed to make us kiss someone, anyone, if we stand beneath it? Parents lie to their children about Santa Clause and flying reindeer… even going to the extreme to deceive them by leaving out carrots, milk or cookies at night and eating some of them? At Easter we are supposed to paint eggs and hide them? We are supposed to dress up as monsters at Halloween and go door to door threatening people that we will play tricks on them if they do not give us free candy. All of these are just simple examples of pagan traditions that simply are not questioned when it comes to celebrating holidays. But seemingly God’s instructions to celebrate holy days strike people as odd and outdated. As a matter of fact, some of you are probably angry just reading this article where I question these common and accepted traditions.
I challenge any who claim to follow Christ to truly spend time in prayer and personal reflection considering which of these types of celebrations are truly odd and which are actually holy and set apart for God’s purposes. Just because we are used to it, or our parents and grandparents and neighbors do it does not mean it honors God. Let us look to God’s instruction for what we should and should not do rather than looking to people. Just because we “have always done it” a certain way does not make us right.
Once we awaken to the benefit of celebrating YHWH’s holy days, we can start to have a good discussion about how to do so. We will not be able to do animal sacrifices, nor will we need to try. Even for those who do not believe that Christ fulfilled this part of the law, we can not do the sacrifices YHWH’s way without the temple and the Levitical priesthood. But there are fun and meaningful ways to recognize and celebrate YHWH’s holy days that can draw us nearer to him and each other.
Here are a few resources where you can learn more about the Moedim, the Creator’s calendar (often called the “Jewish” calendar), and given this time of year, Passover in particular.
- Leviticus 23 article – Bible.org
- Psalm 119 Ministries at TestEverything.net – video series “Mo’edim”
- Additional resource links available at our page Focused Ministries – Understanding Hebrew Roots
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.