Part 1: Must Christians celebrate the Jewish holy days?
In the past few weeks there has been some interesting conversations in my circle. The questions and conversations are considering the necessity of Christians to follow the Jewish calendar and to celebrate the Jewish holy days. Truthfully, there are some good reasons for honoring the Biblical, Jewish holidays.
Here are a few: ** Where possible, I will connect original Hebrew with its modern English words**
Having said all of this, it is important to emphasize that many believers do get caught up in unhealthy practices associated with the celebration of the feasts, and there are some direct warnings in the New Testament. Chew over this, it is important to remember that:
This was addressed by Paul when expressing his concern about the Galatians: “You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you” (Galatians 4:10-11). What was the problem? To gain personal perspective I checked into the works of ministers and theologians FF Bruce, Kenneth Boles, Matthew Henry and Alan Cole. While these commentators point out small nuances in the Galatian text, it seems clear that many Galatians thought that they were required to observe “special days and months and seasons and years,” and, worse still, they thought that in doing so, they would increase their spiritual standing in the Lord. Neither of these is true!
Paul addresses another event in Colossians 2:16-17 (NASB): “Therefore, no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. Things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”
Some question Paul’s command to the Corinthians to “let us keep the Passover” in 1 Corinthians 5:8, he was contextually speaking of this in spiritual terms. Typological interpretation lets us understand that “let us keep” is in the present continuous form. That is to be understood that the Passover (corresponding with Jesus’ [Yeshua’s] death) should be remembered and represent a continuous (daily) Christian lifestyle with no variance. ( **Greek language study tools are my friend! ** )
So, let everything we do as Christians find its fullness in Jesus (Yeshua), let no celebration or observance be considered as required service, no believer should judge another based on their observance or non-observance, no one should feel “unspiritual” if they get nothing out of the celebration of the feasts. If it is in your heart to celebrate the feasts, then be blessed in that celebration.
As for other Christians, similar principles apply, since we are not required by God to follow the Jewish calendar as new covenant believers.
**I’m sure some of you differ with me here. Feel free to contact me with your thoughts**
That being said, many do feel a calling to follow the Jewish calendar for the purposes of unity with the Messianic Jewish community, preserving this tradition, Jewish outreach, and family life. I would urge all of us to consider the information above, regardless of our personal beliefs, since it is God’s will that “He Himself [Jesus / Yeshua] will come to have first place (preeminence) in everything” (Col 1:18, NASB).
Therefore, whatever we do must ultimately glorify Him (Jesus / Yeshua). See you all Sunday!