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I believe that the answer is NO since Jesus and the early Christians kept them the same way that they were kept before the Cross - simply as holy convocations, which have a wholly moral purpose.

I would like to relate my experience and what I think their ultimate purpose is for in the last days as well as that of the ceremonial portions of the Torah. Others can respond if they believe differently, but I will not engage in any debate here; I may just ask some questions. But please only comment if you have read the entire post first.

Firstly, I do not teach the festivals as a major issue anymore; not that the appointed times are not very significant in my life, but because I don't think it is time for the church to be tested on it yet. I will say that my day revolves around the morning and evening worship times, my week revolves around the Sabbath, my month revolves around the New Moon, and my year revolves around the annual festivals. So, I keep them and I teach that they are in the Law, but I do not believe that God requires everyone to know and keep everything that there is in the Torah right now because light was progressive.

When Sister White was starting out, there was no tithing system and she ate unclean meats, such as oysters. But later on, the first tithe was introduced, and later the second tithe. She also wrote about sin and trespass offerings as well as other offerings. So, though the ceremonial system of the earthly sanctuary ceased, I believe that everything that does not require an earthly sanctuary is still in effect, including making monetary offerings when we sin. Our tithes and offerings no longer go to the temple but to Christ's ministry on earth, which is for the ultimate purpose in producing a harvest of souls at the end of time who will no longer sin, which is connected with His work in the heavenly sanctuary.

I believe what Paul says in Hebrews:

9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
9:23 [It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

10:16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith יהוה (Jehovah), I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
10:18 Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.
10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.

So, I believe that the ceremonial portions of the Law are still in effect - not in type, but in antitype.

As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. {GC 421.3}

The Redeemer, with a heart of unalterable love, still sheds his sacred blood in the sinner's behalf. {RH, January 9, 1883 par. 21}

We are worshipers at the heavenly sanctuary; we enter there by faith. There we have our Lamb and High Priest making blood atonement for our sins. The types before the Cross could never fulfill the Law; they only typified the actual fulfillment of the Law now taking place. Not only are we to now give monetary tithes and offerings but spiritual offerings of praise and thanksgiving, which may or may not include monetary thank offerings. Some believe that it is required for one to go to the earthly Jerusalem to attend the festivals, but there is no requirement for that in all the Scriptures. The only requirement is this:

16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before יהוה (Jehovah) thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before יהוה (Jehovah) empty:

The Israelites kept the festivals for many decades before there ever was a Jerusalem. And Christ told us before He died where we would worship at:

4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

God and Christ are in heaven, and we can worship them there through the Holy Spirit. We no longer pray towards the earthly Jerusalem but upward, towards the heavenly Jerusalem.

There is also a misconception that the Bible says that the people would all have to give mandatory animal sacrifices at the earthly temple in order to keep the festivals. Again, it is not true. Numbers 28 and 29 enumerate all of the mandatory sacrifices – not only on the festivals but the regular ones on each morning and evening, each seventh-day Sabbath, and each New Moon. But these were all made by the priesthood, not the common people.

Now, I provided all of that background to show that people after the Cross would keep the festivals the same way that they did before the Cross, except worshiping at a different location and the voluntary offerings no longer were necessarily agricultural but could be monetary. We still have a sanctuary with a Priest and a Sacrifice; that has not changed. Our attention is now on preparing a remnant of the last generation who are sealed with the Law of God through the Fourth Commandment and all that it entails and thus require no more sacrifice for their sins.

So, I have covered what is NOT necessary for keeping the festivals (going to the earthly Jerusalem and making animal sacrifices), but how are the festivals largely observed both before and after the Cross. What is God’s intent for having them? Let’s see!

23:1 And יהוה (Jehovah) spake unto Moses, saying,
23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, [Concerning] the feasts of יהוה (Jehovah), which ye shall proclaim [to be] holy convocations, [even] these [are] my feasts.
23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day [is] the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work [therein]: it [is] the sabbath of יהוה (Jehovah) in all your dwellings.
23:4 These [are] the feasts of יהוה (Jehovah), [even] holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

What are the festivals proclaimed as in the Bible? What is their main function to be? “Holy convocations”! That is very clear. It is also made clear that the seventh-day Sabbath is classified as a “holy convocation.” My understanding of this chapter is that it is the Sabbath more fully (than is expressed in the Fourth Commandment). That commandment is partially quoted, but Verse 5 and onward then cover each of the annual festivals and their associated annual Sabbaths. What I think is most significant about this is that the types connected with the annual festivals describe the entire plan of redemption, which is the Gospel. I think this is telling us that the Fourth Commandment really contains the whole Gospel plan which will bring everlasting rest for all who participate in the Gospel and antitypical sanctuary experience, from the crucifixion (typified by the Passover types) to the Second Coming (typified by the Tabernacles types). Eventually I believe that this message will be loudly proclaimed – the Sabbath proclaimed “more fully.”

Do I think that all of God’s people will be observing the festivals at the end of time? Absolutely, there is a prophecy of it in Zechariah 14. I don’t know how else I could teach it without spiritualizing it away.

14:16 And it shall come to pass, [that] every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, יהוה (Jehovah) of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
14:17 And it shall be, [that] whoso will not come up of [all] the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, יהוה (Jehovah) of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that [have] no [rain]; there shall be the plague, wherewith יהוה (Jehovah) will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

The “rain” mentioned can be explained by Zechariah 10:1:

10:1 Ask ye of יהוה (Jehovah) rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] יהוה (Jehovah) shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.

This is clearly a prophecy of the last days, which is verified in the Spirit of Prophecy; Verses 12 and 13 (of Zech. 14) are quoted in Great Controversy on Page 657, where the context is the seven last plagues before the Second Coming: “And this shall be the plague with which יהוה (Jehovah) will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth...” Verses 4 to 11 are looking forward to the end of the Sabbath millennium, but the other verses are referring to the last days that we are now entering. The seventh plague of Revelation 16 (vv. 17-21) is being referred to. It is also written of those who are of “the lawless one” (the pope), “יהוה (Jehovah) shall consume with the breath of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

The reason I bring up this prophecy is because I believe that God has an ultimate purpose for His annual festivals.

The general purpose has always been two-fold:

(1) Primarily, as holy convocations, which has the moral benefit of taking extending time away from the world to fellowship with our brethren and reflecting on our thankfulness to God for the blessings that He has provided us with during the year.

(2) Secondarily, as providing a sequential calendar for the ceremonial types to fall on to explain sequentially the plan of redemption. The types being fulfilled landed on these days on the calendar: Christ was crucified on Passover day; Christ rested in the grave on the annual Sabbath day, which was also the weekly Sabbath that year; Christ was resurrected on the third day from Passover, the Day of First-fruits; His death, burial, and resurrection during that Unleavened Bread season brings to us an end of the leavening of sin if we accept His life and death on our behalf on a daily basis; Christ entered His work in the heavenly sanctuary on the next Pentecost; the events associated with the era of the Second Advent were fulfilled according to the fall festivals and the Festival of trumpets points to the work of the first, second, and third angel’s messages being proclaimed to the world in connection with the sixth and seventh trumpets of Revelation; Christ entered His work in the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement of 1844, continuing His previous work but also going through judging all cases of professed believers; on a future Day of Atonement I believe that He will actually cleanse the sanctuary after judging the living and that this will commence the seven last plagues, which last for a day/year according to Revelation 18:8 and our pioneers; and a year later, on the first annual Sabbath of Tabernacles Christ will return and we will be traveling for one week to the heavenly Jerusalem, arriving just in time for the marriage supper, which I believe will take place on the Last Great Day (the second annual Sabbath of Tabernacles)!

So, that is a summary of the types and antitypes that fulfill according to the biblical calendar. But I still haven’t covered the ultimate purpose that I believe that God has for His holy days, particularly the big three (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). But first, how did our pioneers apply the annual festivals? They had annual holy convocations and called them campmeetings. They did not see the necessity of observing them according to the biblical calendar. But I believe that the light will come in time for Zechariah 14 to be fulfilled, with a special emphasis on Tabernacles, because our last one on earth will be when our King returns to take us to His Kingdom to tabernacle with Him forever and ever!

Now, how did our pioneers hold their holy convocations? Were they just for themselves? No! And that is something we have largely forgotten. They used their campmeetings for inviting all the nations of the world to come and hear the Gospel. And that is how I believe it will be in the last days, with the only difference being that the holy convocations will be held according to the biblical calendar. We will have to be quite organized before that can happen though, with believers all over the world to organize holy convocations. But think of this. Will the world hear about us if we hold our holy convocations all over the world at the very same time several times each year – not only this, but provide healing for the nations through medical missionary work? Could this be how many will be converted to our truth just before the end and how the whole world will be lightened with the glory of that Angel in Revelation 18? This is just how I believe it will happen.

So, I do not believe that the festivals, how they are observed today, are fulfilling their ultimate purpose. Just like nearly all the SDA campmeetings, they are used for preaching to the choir. Yes there is convocation, but for what purpose? Not for the purpose that our pioneers had for them. Our holy convocations are ultimately to not be for ourselves but for bringing the light of the Gospel to all nations who will come to our light. Here is a beautiful prophecy of this:

60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of יהוה (Jehovah) is risen upon thee.
60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but יהוה (Jehovah) shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
60:4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at [thy] side.
60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

Those who come up to our holy convocations will receive the latter rain; and those who do not receive the latter rain will ultimately be destroyed in the final plague to come upon the earth. I believe it is really that simple.

As for now, I abstain from my ordinary work on the seven annual holy convocations (the fall ones are called Sabbaths in Leviticus 23). I convene as much as I can, if it is just meeting with groups that observe the festivals online. I eat unleavened bread during that week. And I fast on the Day of Atonement. That is how I currently observe the festivals, but I hope that someday soon God’s people will collectively receive this light as we organize ourselves so that then the festivals can be used for their ultimate purpose.

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