Should we keep the Feasts even today after the Cross of Jesus?
Some say the early Christians kept the feasts but this practice died out after a generation.
Is this true ? What do historical accounts tell us ?
First, notice God’s instructions in the Hebrew scriptures:
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6).
Jesus, of course, kept these days (Luke 2:42; John 4:45).
According to the Bible and the early available records, others did as well.
First, let’s start with the Apostle Paul’s writings in the Bible:
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Notice that Paul is telling Christians to keep the feast. Now while some may try to argue that he meant something else, the plain truth is that the records of history do show that Christians continued to keep this Feast of Unleavened Bread.
In addition to I Corinthians 5:7-8, we can see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were still to be kept after the crucifixion. In Acts 12:3, it says that, “Now that was during the Days of Unleavened Bread”. It does not say that these days were done away. Also, Luke wrote,
6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6).
Now Philippi was (according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary) a gentile town. It was in Macedonia and was ruled by the Romans. Thus, in at least two places in the New Testament, in gentile areas, we see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were to be kept (I Corinthians 5:7; Acts 20:6). If Christians were not to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, why didn’t Luke or Paul say so? Why did Paul say to keep them?
Early faithful Christians believed that they were supposed to keep them. And they probably understood this from the Bible and the practices of the early apostles.
An old document that was probably altered in the 4th century, titled The Life of Polycarp, specifically mentions the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost. And it records that the Apostle Paul said that they should be kept:
In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians…but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).
Notice that Paul is shown to have taught Gentiles to keep the biblical Holy Days. Which is also what he did in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.
Interestingly, Polycarp himself also kept the biblical Holy Days and he even told Bishop Anicetus of Rome that Rome needed to observe Passover the same day as the Jews and not on a Sunday (this is documented in more detail in the article Polycarp of Smyrna: Heretic Fighter).
Polycarp is considered to be a saint by Catholics, Orthodox, many Protestants, and those in the Continuing Church of God. Yet of those groups, only the Continuing Church of God continues his practices as far as the Holy Days are concerned.
Notice what the Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus, around 195 A.D. wrote the following to the Roman Bishop Victor who, as the previous writing showed, wanted all who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:
We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’ (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
Notice that Polycrates said that he and the other early church leaders (like the Apostles Philip and John, and their successors like Polycarp, Thraseas, Eumenia, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito) would not deviate from the Bible, and that they knew the Bible taught them to keep the Passover on the correct date, and not on a Sunday. Also notice that they always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. Polycrates also reminded the Roman bishop that true followers of Christ “obey God rather than men”.
Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:
The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).
In the late third century, Anatolius of Alexandria wrote the following:
I am aware that very many other matters were discussed by them, some of them with considerable probability, and others of them as matters of the clearest demonstration, by which they endeavour to prove that the festival of the Passover and unleavened bread ought by all means to be kept after the equinox…
But nothing was difficult to them with whom it was lawful to celebrate the Passover on any day when the fourteenth of the moon happened after the equinox. Following their example up to the present time all the bishops of Asia—as themselves also receiving the rule from an unimpeachable authority, to wit, the evangelist John, who leant on the Lord’s breast, and drank in instructions spiritual without doubt—were in the way of celebrating the Paschal feast, without question, every year, whenever the fourteenth day of the moon had come, and the lamb was sacrificed by the Jews after the equinox was past; not acquiescing, so far as regards this matter, with the authority of some…(THE PASCHAL CANON OF ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA. Chapters V,X, p. 415, 419).
This should be proof to any with “eyes to see and ears to hear” that some who professed Christ were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread centuries after Jesus died.
Adventist researcher Daniel Liechty reported Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania in the 1500s and later kept the biblical Holy Days (such as the Feast of Trumpets called Day of Remembrance below) (and those are days his church does not observe):
The Sabbatarians viewed themselves as converted Gentiles.. They held to the biblical holidays. Passover they celebrated with unleavened bread…The first and last seventh day of Passover were full holidays…There is no mention of circumcision, so it is unlikely that they practiced circumcision (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62).
Notice that in the 1600s, those who kept the days of unleavened bread were persecuted for their beliefs:
And finally, the tragic “Accord of Deés” or Complanatio Deesiana in July 1638 definitely disjoined Sabbatarians from Unitarians. Unitarians were ordered to worship Jesus, baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and to allow their publications censured–a coerced “complanatio.” The “Judaizers” and those who rejected and cursed Jesus, however, were excluded even from the new amnesty. Sabbatarians were easy target of the new discriminatory law: they observed the Sabbath, therefore they farmed on Sundays, abstained from eating pork and blood, celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, and refused baptism of their children–the very sign of their expected conversion” (Gellérd, Judit. Spiritual Jews of Szekler Jerusalem A Four-Centuries History of Transylvanian Szekler (Székely) Sabbatarianism. In Literature of Memory VI: Hope and Despair STH TS 870, Fall 2000 Professor Elie Wiesel. http://www.unitarius.hu/cffr/papers/sabbat.htm–12/14/02).
Note that the “Judaizers” are separate from “those who rejected and cursed Jesus.” In this region, there were both true Christians (the “Judaizers” who celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, etc.) and those who rejected Christ as Messiah (hence the Judaizers were not actually unitarian).
So, we have both biblical and historical evidence that Christ and His true followers observed the days of unleavened bread.
Thanks to http://www.cogwriter.com/news/church-history/early-christians-kept-... for the research.
Many of us struggle with what the love feasts of Jesus are for ? They are us practicing now for a future event.
What is the unleavened bread for a whole week, a practice run for a future event ?
The 144,000 people have no guile in their mouths, because they are found without any sinning in their lives. This deepen relationship to Jesus can only be achieved if we practice the Science of Salvation, the steps we as a people should do every day to get ready...one of those steps is practicing our dependency on Jesus every day for a whole week, doing away with sinning of any kind. Doing the feast from a ritual action is pointless, you have to understand the spiritual significance of the feast and ask Jesus to help you daily overcome all known sinning in your life...that's what unleavened bread feast is all about....prayer, fast and Bible study for a whole week...are we willing to be specially selected for the 144,000 or does Jesus choose others more in love with Him ?
some here FEAST everyday!
food for thought (pun intended)
I thought this Topic was dead after receiving so many mighty blows. Why are some 'Adventists' trying to resurrect this topic. SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS DO NOT KEEP THE JEWISH FEASTS DAYS; they never did and never will...
Your quite correct Jason, Christian believers should not keep Jewish feast days...however that does not apply to Hebrew feast days does it? What's the difference? Plenty...Hebrew feasts are less complex and simple to keep.
Big camp says EGW replaces Tabernacles....so this is still understood to be a feast isn't it?
Lord's Supper replaces Passover...called by EGW an ordinance and is still a feast isn't it ?
So here are Two Hebrew feasts we SDA are already keeping - unless of course you want to call them something else...
If they are not feasts, what is the Biblical definition of a feast ?
Lord's supper points forward to the Wedding feast
Big Camp points forwards to the flee to the mountains in Jacob's Trouble
Day of Atonement points forward to Second Coming - when Jesus leaves pre-advent judgement
Unleavened feast points forward to the 144,000 overcoming all guile in their mouth
The others would have future events too I think?
So what do you define as a feast in modern times?
rob said, "Lord's supper points forward to the Wedding feast
Big Camp points forwards to the flee to the mountains in Jacob's Trouble"
Lord's Supper reminds us of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins, it is a call to humility and repentance.
Camp Meeting is a time for the fitting of God's people to carry His gospel commission. You can read all that EGW writes on this subject and she is very clear about the purpose of these meetings.
You appear to be making both "feasts" orientated when they are both salvation orientated. The overarching theme is salvation in Christ.
Brother John you didn't define a modern feast as I requested....
You also claim believer were not keeping feasts in the first generation after the Cross, but here on this thread is historical evidence....
We know God used Tabernacle time for the early Christians to flee the army surrounded city....if mowed times are not important why didn't God choose a time at random ? The day of atonement in 1844 also happened on God's mowed timing....why not a random date ? These two events are telling me that mowed times and their signs are still relevant....aren't they ?
Mt 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
This verse is making the Lord's Feast point forward to the Wedding Table, does it not? The feast does have other symbols such as humility and repentance, I agree.
The feasts are called in EGW SOP a "love feast" and are meant to be salvation orientated, all of them are....
So what do you define as a feast in modern times?
True. To do so is to go back to the sacrificial system and deny Christ our First Fruits of the dead.
"Anatolius of Alexandria" - we are careful of anything from Alexandria, seat of the Roman Church. The Alexandrians moved to Rome and took their corrupt Bibles with them. It's not a good idea to mix manuscripts or fathers from the two completely different groups (i.e., Alexandria, Egypt & Antioch, Syria - where the Christians were)
The Roman Church accused the Nazarene Christians of being Judaizers for observing the weekly Sabbath, which Rome then called the law of Moses. (see: Nazarene)
We also know there is an anti-type with Jesus as High Priest. This does not mean the anti-type is observed as before, with temple services here on earth, for we are told in Col 2:14-17 the high sabbaths are nailed to the cross along with all sacrificial meat and drink offerings.
Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
I know you are constantly wanting to reinterpret the KJV English when it does not suit you, Rob. So forgive me if Im skeptical of your teaching on a feast day. Also the CoG you are linking are filled with errors on Israel. They are basically a 7th-day Baptist w/feast days. I studies with them locally before finding my way into the SDA & baptism. Im very thankful the AmazingFacts Seminar was held locally or Id probably still be caught up in the CoG web.
Sabbath Blessings anyway, but Im not doing Passover or Easter. (and it is no sin since it was nailed to the cross in favor of the anti-type & Jesus.)
How can something that Abraham observed (the father of all righteous both Jews and Gentiles) be nailed to the cross? The appointed times were established long before the ceremonial law existed.
That God designated appointed times was indicated in Genesis 1:14 before sin entered the world, and there are several evidences throughout the old testament that they existed since then.
How can something that Abraham observed (the father of all righteous both Jews and Gentiles) be nailed to the cross?
The same way that circumcision is no longer required.
The Lord kept Passover with him while he was yet uncircumcised (Gen 15).
From "Feast Days and the Bible Hologram";
"There is further evidence of God’s acknowledgment of the Passover long before Sinai in His dealings with Abraham 430 years “to the very day (Exodus 12:41)” before the Exodus Passover. Perhaps this viewpoint may shed light on the reason why the Bible is so careful to emphasize that it was “to the very day” (some versions say “on the self – same day”) – because God wanted to emphasize Nisan fourteen, the day of the Passover Feast, in Biblical history.
"What happened 430 years “to the very day” before the Exodus Passover? Galatians 3:17 tells us; “And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ...” Which covenant is that? The covenant of Genesis 15:18 “On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land.” It emphasizes “the same day” just as exodus 12:41 does, so this is without question the 14th day of th first month of the year, the Passover Feast.
The Lord comes to him (then called “Abram”) in a vision, promises him a son (Messianic connotations), gives him the promise that his descendents will be as the stars of the heavens, which Abram responded in this way; Gen 15:6 “...he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”
Yes or no? We are required to circumcise today even though that was instituted before there were Jews?
For your argument was that we have to do everything Abraham does.
Good point Thomas. Some will present any 'evidence' to support their theory. BTW EXODUS 12:41 says nothing about us keeping feast days.