Few people in main stream Christianity have ever heard of God’s festivals which are listed and commanded in the Old Testament. Splinter groups who do know them and keep them do not entirely understand why they are keeping them or quite when they should be observing them. Jews who do keep them for the most part are totally unaware of their meaning. They also don’t quite know when or how to observe them.
God’s five festivals are listed in Lev. 23. They are the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. God said in essence that each of these feasts were to be kept in all your generations. In other words, forever.
Those in the Christian world who have read of the feasts usually believe that they are Jewish feasts. They are also likely to believe that the laws pertaining to keeping the feasts were done away with when Christ was nailed to the cross. Thus they think that the feasts have nothing to do with them, and therefore there is no reason for them to observe the feasts. No concept exists in their minds that these feasts, in all likelihood, were kept from the beginning of man’s existence on earth centuries before the Jews were ever born, and that they likely will be kept throughout all eternity.
Of those who do keep the feasts,
most have believed that they were not commanded until the time of the Exodus of
the Israelites from
Three of the feasts are somewhat
similar in nature in that they celebrate the three harvests of mankind into the
Fifty days later, during the summer wheat harvest, the Feast of
Firstfruits celebrates the harvest of the saints, the firstfruits, into the
1 Cor. 15:42 So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown perishable, it is
raised imperishable. 44.…..it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
After the fall harvest is stored
in the barns, the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated. (Lev. 23:39-41) This
feast celebrates the harvests of almost all of the rest of humanity into God’s
kingdom. That none of the fall produce is waved before the Lord indicates that
this Feast is a not a spiritual harvest of mankind into the
That these three feasts were planned before mankind even emerged onto the world scene is made evident by the eternal nature of the symbols that are a part of the celebrations. The sun and the moon are to eternally mark the time of observing these feasts.
This article will especially focus on how the celebration of the Feast of Passover had been planned and set in motion before mankind inhabited the earth. Biblical, archeological, and historical evidence will be examined which will show how the Feast of Passover may have been kept since the time of Adam and Eve, how it was kept down through the centuries, and how it will be kept throughout all eternity.
In studying the Bible it is always a good idea to keep the big picture in mind along with a good strong dose of plain old common sense. Then we are less likely to be led astray. Let’s try to see that big picture as we review the evidence concerning the feasts.
The Heavenly Decree
The first evidence that the feasts were to be observed is inferred in the first chapter of Genesis. God issues
a decree that in essence commands that the sun and the moon were to mark the time of keeping the festivals. This
is not immediately obvious without a deeper understanding of all that is involved.
Gen: 1:14-16 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark the seasons (MOED) festivals) and days and years.… God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.
The Hebrew word MOED is defined in Strong’s Concordance in part as: an appointment i.e. a fixed time or season;
spec. a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically
the congregation; by extension; the place of meeting.…
It would appear on a surface reading of the above scripture that the sun and moon were to mark the seasons in terms of the way we think of seasons. New spring growth, the heat of summer, the falling leaves of autumn, and the ice and snow of winter. But when we look at the contexts in which MOED is used, we find that is not quite the case. To be sure, these three feasts are indeed held during seasonal changes. The Passover Feast is held during the spring barley harvest. The Feast of Firstfruits is held during the summer wheat harvest, and the Feast of Tabernacles is held in the fall after the fall produce is harvested.
But when we look more closely at the definition and the contexts in which MOED is used, we see that the congregation is to assemble at a particular time in celebration of the spiritual and physical harvests symbolized by these events. Look at how MOED is used in the following biblical contexts.
Lev. 23:4 “These are the Lord’s appointed feasts (MOED);
Num. 9:2 “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed (MOED) time.
As can be seen in the definition and the context of the Hebrew word MOED, the word does not really mark the seasons as might be assumed on a surface reading of the original decree, but instead marks the time the congregation must assemble to celebrate God’s commanded festivals. By commanding that such eternal bodies as the sun and moon were to mark the time of observing the festivals, God makes clear that this was to be an eternal commandment. The sun and the moon were to forever mark the time of the observance of the festivals. Since God ordered such eternal bodies as the sun and the moon to mark the festivals forever, this strongly infers that mankind were also to keep the festivals forever in accordance with the sun and the moon. He certainly does not mean them to be observed according to the variety of paper calendars contrived by men.
There seem to be no written record of God issuing commands to observe the festivals until the time of the Exodus which was approximately 2500 years after his creation of mankind. Therefore most of the Christian world assumed that the observation of the festivals did not begin until that time. But why on earth would God command the sun and moon to mark the festivals and not have any observance of them until after another few thousand years had passed? As is often the case, God does not always show himself giving any decrees from the beginning. But that does not mean that the laws were not in force. It just means that he issued no written record at the beginning. Nevertheless, events suggest that the laws were indeed in force from the outset. Such seems to be the case with the festivals beginning with Genesis.
Abel and Cain
In this first scene, Abel, the son of Adam and Eve, is shown bringing fat portions of his firstlings as offerings to the Lord. But where on earth did he get the idea that he should do so? There was no written commandment at that time for such an offering until the time of the Exodus that the firstborn belonged to God. Yet here was Abel offering fat portions of his first born animals.
Gen. 4:2-5 …Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought
some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.
Ex. 13:1, 2 The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.”
But not only was Abel sacrificing offerings of his firstborn, he was also giving fat portions of his animals. This commandment does not begin to show up until Leviticus. The first chapter of Leviticus commands that a burnt offering be skinned, and its pieces plus the head and the fat be placed on burning wood on the altar and burned up. Thus in a burnt offering the flesh, fat and head are to be consumed by fire. But in the case of fellowship, sin and guilt offerings, only the fat portions of the animals were to be offered and burnt on the altar.
Lev. 3:3 From the fellowship offering he is to bring a sacrifice made to the Lord by fire: all the fat that covers the inner parts or is connected to them, both kidneys with the fat around them near the loins, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys. Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is on the burning wood,….
Thus God shows Abel offering fat
portions of his firstborn in Genesis even though these specific commandments
were not recorded until Exodus and Leviticus.
But was this offering made at a feast?
During his reign, King Josiah of
2 Chron. 35:1, 14 Josiah
celebrated the Passover to the Lord in
Aaron, were sacrificing the burnt offerings and the fat portions until nightfall.
Josiah’s priests offered fat portions during the Passover feast. Was it at a Passover feast that Abel, the son of Adam
and Eve, offered his fat portions? God only says that he was pleased with Abel’s offering. But he was not pleased with Cain’s offering of the fruits of the soil
Many theologians conjecture that Cain’s fruit of the soil offering which was so displeasing to God was rotten fruit that had fallen from the trees. But it may well indeed have been that he had stingily failed to offer the firstfruits of his animals which was the real reason that God was displeased with him. God classifies Cain as a tiller of the soil. But even farmers probably kept a few animals for meat, eggs, milk, and also skins for blankets, capes, vests, cloaks and shoes. It was not, after all, quite as though they could jump in their cars and dash down to the neighborhood grocery for a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, and a cut of meat in those days. Had Cain had firstborn animals, then he would have been required to offer them to God just as Abel did with whose offering God was well pleased
Also Abel and Cain’s offerings were brought to the Lord and seemingly at about the same time. Thus it appears as though they did not sacrifice their offerings right where they lived, but that they took them some place else. In the occasions of some other sacrifices, the offerings were made right on the spot. The fact that Cain and Abel seem to have taken their sacrifices to a different place at about the same time appears to suggest that it could have been a special event. Could it indeed have been the occasion of a festival? God does not say that it was, but the evidence indicates that possibility. This evidence also seems to infer that God’s festivals were kept from the time of Adam and Eve since it was their sons involved in the offerings.
An archeological site has been
Remember that big picture we need
to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at
that picture and ask ourselves how it came to be that 4000 years before Christ
and perhaps a few thousand years before the exodus that there may have been
people in America who may have been using the sun and the moon to mark the time
of offering sacrifices. Else why were
there rocks arranged to keep time and a sacrificial table? Could these people have been descendants of
Adam and Eve who had learned the laws concerning how and when to offer
sacrifices and who had migrated to
This archeological picture suggests that the
festival laws were in effect from the very beginning. Though there was no recorded edict from God
that the festivals were to be kept, nevertheless the arrangement of rocks in
This, of course, is all speculation. But the need for these people to sacrifice offerings at certain times of the year in all likelihood did not arise out of nowhere, but were more apt to have been a taught behavior. This is what the big picture and common sense suggest.
Noah’s Burnt Offerings
After the flood had subsided, the first thing Noah did after he, his family, and all the animals came out of the ark was to build an altar and sacrifice burnt offerings of some of the clean animals to God. How did Noah happen to know what a burnt offering was and that he should sacrifice only clean animals to God? After all, the Bible (up to this point) does not show God commanding that the people must sacrifice burnt offerings from clean animals to him. The big picture suggests that at some time in the past, the people were taught sacrificial laws. Else how did Noah know he should make these offerings?
Gen. 8:20, 21 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.
The method for sacrificing a burnt offering is commanded in the first chapter of Leviticus. He is to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.…; Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the burning wood that is on the altar.
Apparently Noah knew what a burnt offering was since that is what he offered when he came out of the ark. Note that he also offered only clean animal sacrifices. A clean animal is one that feeds on only grasses and grains, but an unclean animal eats the carcasses of diseased and dead creatures.
The Druids at
An oral history exists of the
Druids performing their priestly duties at the archeological site of Stonehenge
According to E. Raymond Capt who
It is believed that the Druids lived around 1800 B. C. which would have been about the same time as Abraham. This would have been centuries before the Exodus when the Bible shows God giving his laws to Moses. Yet here is a priesthood that wears similar clothing and breast plates, confesses their sins while laying hands on the animals’ heads which are to be sacrificed as burnt offerings. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Looking at the big picture again,
we must ask ourselves if it was possible that these were migratory descendants
of Adam and Eve through Noah. Remember
that Adam and Eve’s son, Abel, was offering fat portions from the firstlings of
his animals just as king Josiah would several millennium later. Therefore, it’s very likely that the Druids
were very well aware of when and how to keep the feasts what with the
That big picture we should keep looking at suggests that God at some previous time had already commanded the sacrificial laws. Noah must have learned these from his ancestors. And that in all probability is why Noah sacrificed burnt offerings of the clean animals when he came out of the ark.
Isaac’s Aborted Sacrifice
In Genesis 22 God commands Abraham to take his only beloved son to a certain place and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. But just as Abraham was about to plunge the knife into his son’s chest and God saw Abraham’s obedience, he stayed his hand and stopped the sacrifice. The point here is that Abraham knew exactly what a burnt offering consisted of even though the Bible never stated the requirements until the time of the exodus.
Gen. 22:2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about. “
Abraham’s son also seemed to be cognizant of what was necessary for a burnt offering. On the way to the sacrificial site, Isaac asked his father where the lamb for the burnt offering was. Not only did he not inquire as to what a burnt offering was, he knew that a lamb should be offered. A lamb is a clean animal according to God’s law. A clean animal is one that eats grasses and grains whereas an unclean animal feeds on carcasses. The Bible does not show the laws given concerning the clean and unclean animals until the time of the Exodus. But note that here again, Abraham and his son already appear to know that only clean animals may be sacrificed to God as is implicit in Isaac’s question to his father regarding the whereabouts of the lamb for the offering. After the sacrifice of Isaac was aborted, God provided a clean animal, a ram, to be sacrificed in his place
Gen. 22.7 “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham lived at about 1800 B.C. which would have been about 400 years before the exodus when God gave his laws to Moses. Yet events in Abraham’s life suggest that he was already familiar with God’s laws. Therefore, in that big picture God must have at some previous time, made them known to mankind.
The Exodus Sacrifices
Finally we arrive at the time of the
Exodus when the sacrificial laws were given to Moses, and through him, to the
Ex. 12:1 The Lord
said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,” This month is to be for you the first month,
the first month of your year. Tell the
whole community of
The more I read and studied this
Passover account, the more I began to see and believe that this was very likely
not the first Passover held by
Abraham had been warned by God that his descendants would live as strangers and slaves in a foreign land for four hundred years. Gen.15:13 …your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. God told Isaac that his father, “Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws (Torot--pl for Torah)”
What is interesting here is that
up to this point in the Bible, God had not shown himself as issuing any decrees
or laws to anyone. But he must have done
so since he stated that Abraham had kept them. Therefore, at some point
previously, Abraham had to have been taught about God’s laws and decrees for
God to have proclaimed that Abraham had obeyed them. Abraham would have passed on these laws and
decrees to his descendants, the very descendants who would later migrate to the
Many reading the account of the exodus Passover may regard it as an
interesting story. But there is much
more meaning to the story of the Passover than surface reading would suggest. Indeed, the overwhelming meaning
revealed is how the whole Passover scene symbolizes how God will redeem a
first-born people into the
One of the first indications of
this phenomenon is revealed in God’s instructions to Moses. He told Moses to tell the people of
Notice what is happening
here. God goes from speaking about the
lambs of the rest people of
Remember that God had already commanded that all the rest of the people were to choose a lamb for each pf their families. So what group of people was Moses’ lamb to be sacrificed for? Moses was a priest, and thus was part of the priesthood. Therefore, it could only have been this group of people for whom this one particular lamb was to be slain.
Further proof that a single lamb was to be sacrificed for a particular group of people is in the Hebrew word which stood for the lamb. It contains three Hebrew letters. The first letter is aleph meaning first. The last letter is tav which means last. The aleph and tav, or “the first and the last” is one of the many names of the Savior.
This Hebrew word is not translated as such, nor is it translated that way in the first verse of Genesis. In fact, it is not translated at all. But in the Exodus account, translators inserted the word it to stand for the lamb. Another very important point is that this Hebrew word is singular meaning only one lamb, the lamb that was to be sacrificed on behalf of the priesthood. It was this single lamb that would symbolize how Christ would later be sacrificed for the salvation of mankind.
Next God told Moses that the
“whole congregation of
After they had eaten the Passover
supper that night, like an ancient Hebrew bridegroom who would come like a
thief in the night, God would steal them away, and take them to
Hezekiah Celebrates Passover
For further proof that a single Passover was slain before the rest of the Passover lambs, the account of Hezekiah re-establishing the Passover rites needs to be studied. The people were not able to keep the Passover in the first month as commanded by God since they had not finished purifying the temple and re-consecrating the priests in time. For those not able to celebrate the Passover in the first month, God had made provision for it to be kept in the second month which was the case in this situation.
Note in this account that a single Passover lamb was slain first. Then the priests and Levites took up their positions to slaughter the rest of the lambs probably in somewhat of an assembly line affair. Note also that they had learned how to perform their tasks from the Law of Moses indicating that that was the ritual he had used.
2 Chron. 30:15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. 16. Then they took up their regular positions as prescribed in the Law of Moses the man of God. 17.…the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs… ..
Josiah Celebrates Passover
By the time Josiah became king,
Note once again that in this celebration, a single Passover lamb was first killed. Then the Levites assumed their positions, again no doubt, in assembly line order, to kill the rest of the Passover lambs.
35:1 Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in
5 “Stand in the holy place with a group of Levites for each subdivision of the families of your fellow countrymen, the lay people. 6 Slaughter the Passover lambs, ….”
10-14 The service was arranged and the priests stood in their places with the Levites in their divisions as the king had ordered. The Passover lambs were slaughtered, and the priests sprinkled the blood handed to them, while the Levites skinned the animals. They set aside the burnt offerings to give them to the subdivisions of the people to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the Book of Moses. They roasted the Passover animals over the fire as prescribed, and boiled the holy offerings in pots, cauldrons, and pans and served them quickly to all the people. After this, they made preparations for themselves and the priests, because the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were sacrificing the burnt offerings and the fat portions until nightfall. So the Levites made preparations for themselves and the Aaronic priests.
Historical records describe how the Passover was observed during temple times, especially at the time of Christ. The priests would go into the field on the tenth day of the first month of the year after the spring equinox to choose a perfect year-old male lamb, one without defect. The road on which the lamb was taken to the temple would be strewn with palm branches, and hosannas would be sung. The lamb would be tied to the altar of the temple until the fourteenth day of the month. Each day the people could scrutinize the lamb to make sure that it was perfect and without defect.
On the fourteenth day of the month, the lamb would be bound on the altar at what would be nine o’clock in the morning. At three in the afternoon, the priest would slit its throat, and he would then announce, “It is finished.”
The Passover of the Lamb of God
In much the same way, Jesus, the
Lamb of God, would make his triumphal entry into
Mark 11:7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields…
Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom Of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
On the day of his crucifixion, he would be nailed to the cross at nine in the morning, the same time the lamb is bound on the altar. At the exact same time as the lamb’s throat would be slit and the priest would announce that it was finished was the same exact time that Christ would say, “It is finished.” and would die on the stake.
Thus were the prophecies
fulfilled that were uttered from the very beginning. God would sacrifice his
only beloved Son, the Lamb of God, who was without sin, to redeem mankind from
paying the price of their own sins. By
his shed blood, the saints, the first fruits of mankind, would be washed clean,
and become as white as snow in their bright linen clothes. In this sinless state, the heavenly gates
would be opened, and they could enter into the
Just as God had stolen Israel out of the land of Egypt like a thief in the night, so Christ will come for his bride, the elect, like a thief in the night.
Rev. 16:15 “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
And just as God took
Rev. 21:9 …”Come,
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a
mountain great and high, and showed me the
The Eternal Passover
The last eight chapters of the Book of Ezekiel describe what life will be like here on earth throughout all eternity. Chapters 45 and 46 specifically describe the observance of all the festivals and Sabbaths that had been commanded in the Old Testament. The Passover, which has been the main focus of this article, will also be kept.
Ezek. 45:21 “ ‘In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a feast lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast.
created mankind to dwell on the earth, he set in motion his plan to sacrifice
his only beloved son, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of mankind. He also set in motion the Passover festival
that would celebrate both the sacrifice of Jesus, and his resurrection and
harvest as the first born into the
Rev. 13:8 …all whose names who have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
1 Pet. 1:19 but with the precious blood of the Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world… .
before God created man, he decreed that the sun and moon were to mark the
keeping of the festivals that celebrate these great events. Practically the
entire world recognized the new year as beginning after the spring equinox,
usually April 1st. That is probably why
there are ancient edifices scattered around the world marking the spring
Just after the spring equinox at the time of the Exodus, God told Moses, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” (Ex. 12:2) Thus does God establish that the first month after the spring equinox is to head up all the rest of the months of the year. This is additional confirmation that the new year begins at the time of the spring equinox, and that it always had until it was changed by Pope Gregory to January first.
When Christ returns to rule over the earth, the spring equinox will once again be reestablished as the beginning of the new year just as it had been at first. The festivals will again be observed so that God’s requirement that his feasts be kept throughout all our generations, will be obeyed.
More proof that the spring equinox marks the beginning of the new year can be found in a measuring device called the Golden Rectangle rule. This rule is also known as the Golden Section, Divine Proportion, and Sacred Mean. Medieval writers called it Divine Proportion in architecture and arts.
The use of this
rule can be found in God’s creation of the spirals of a nautilus shell, the
whorls of a sunflower, the arrangement of leaves on a branch, and the scales on
pine cones. Mankind utilized this rule
in the building of the Parthenon in
What is most
fascinating of all is the effect of the Golden Rectangle rule at the time of
the spring equinox in
Ezek.4:5 …This is
2 Chron 6:6 But now I have
Ps. 78:68 … but he chose
the tribe of
2 Chron. 6:9 …he. (Solomon)
is the one who will build the temple for my Name (in
Mark 15: 37, 38 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Luke 24:5, 6 …”Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen!
From the beginning of man’s creation, biblical, archeological, and historical evidence suggest that the festivals were kept from the time of Adam and Eve. That they will be kept throughout all eternity is supported biblically in Ezekiel, and in their timing according to the sun and the moon.
The theme of Christ as the sacrificial lamb is carried throughout the Bible. Abel, who offered the firstling from among his lambs. Isaac, in the aborted sacrifice of his own son. Moses, offering a specific sacrificial lamb for the priesthood. Hezekiah, and then Josiah who each offered a single Passover lamb before their priesthoods assumed positions for the slaughter of multitudes of lambs. The history of the temple priesthood choosing a particular lamb for sacrifice before the massive sacrifice of the rest of the lambs. Then, at last, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God. It is why the Passover festival must be and will be observed forever
The eventual perversions of the feasts hid their original meaning and the reason for their celebrations. But when Christ returns to restore order to the world, these festivals will again be kept and celebrated as God had planned from the beginning, before mankind was created to populate the earth.
awesomeness of God Almighty in the forethought and planning of his entire
creation is astounding. It quite
literally takes the breath away. That he
assigned the sun and the moon to mark the festivals he instituted to celebrate
the harvests of mankind into the
All of this reveals a God Almighty whose glory and splendor are so great as to be almost beyond our human comprehension. His mighty glory is deserving of our deepest reverence and our greatest love. With all our hearts and minds, let us adore him, praise him, and worship him forever and ever and ever.
* GOD’s TEXTBOOK by Marjorie Hartman , a book on end time prophecy, is available online or may be ordered in the local bookstores.