Christian Churches of God
Seven Days of the Feasts
(Edition 3.5 20040327-20040717-20080110-20150904)
Keeping the seven days of the Feasts is often not understood, and even when understood it is too often ignored. The Church has to prepare for the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread in diligence as it must prepare for all three Feasts in diligence. Each individual is responsible for attending and dedicating himself or herself to God.
Seven Days of the Feasts
The Fast for the Simple and the Erroneous
The Sabbath of 7 Abib 27/120 was a rare occasion (one of the only times) when we actually fasted instead of feasting on the Sabbath. In the year 2004, the seventh of Abib fell on the Sabbath. As we know, this day is the day set aside for the Sanctification of the Simple and the Erroneous in both the people of God and the unaware in the society as a whole. The sanctification is to be undertaken in the Millennium also, as we are told by Ezekiel. The scriptural basis for the fast is explained in the paper Sanctification of the Simple and Erroneous (No. 291). On this day we go before the Lord, asking that the sins of the simple of our people and the people that sin by error are forgiven, and that the Lord intervenes to bring them to repentance and understanding.
In the nation of Israel this was a physical setting of spiritual principles. If it was a valid process before the Church under the Prophets and Judges, then it is also valid today. The nations of Israel, namely the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and many other European nations, which we identify in the Abraham’s Legacy web site (at http://www.abrahams-legacy.org/) are not aware today that they are in fact the Israel of disobedience. In order for it to be corrected in truth, there are those who have been brought to repentance. They have become the spiritual Israel of many peoples, and are priests of Ha Elohim, the One True God, Eloah. We are the Church of God, the Church of The Yahovah of Hosts. We are given to Yahovah, the ‘voice’ of Eloah (Jesus the Messiah), the only-born Son among many sons.
The penalty under the era before the Church for rebellion and disobedience was to have THE God, Ha Elohim, Eloah, “break forth” upon them.
To remain in the congregation of God as a Holy People there was a requirement to be sanctified. For they who are sanctified or set apart are a Holy People. They are not better than others. They are not intrinsically more righteous than others, but are chosen by Ha Elohim for a specific purpose.
What does it mean to sanctify a congregation, or a person, or anything else for that matter?
It means: to render or acknowledge or to make venerable, or to hallow; to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to consecrate things to God; to dedicate people to God, to purify, to cleanse (either externally or internally) or to purify by expiation. It means to be free from the guilt of sin. In the congregation of God, it is primarily concerned with purifying, internally, by the renewing of the spirit. Sanctification in the Church is the process of becoming consecrated to God, and is an integral aspect of being a member of the people of God, which is a gift of God (1Thes. 4:4).
The Bible tells us to sanctify the congregation with a fast (Joel 1:14; 2:15-16). In the weeks prior to the New Year, we pray and study to prepare ourselves for the Passover, so that we may be sanctified in order to take part in that Feast. Christ also tells us that we are sanctified through the Truth of God, which is His word (Jn. 17:17).
Thus, by prayer and fasting in the study of the word of God, we are sanctified.
The priesthood is also required to be sanctified and to prepare itself by command of God, yet precious few do.
Let the priests also, which come near to Ha Elohim, The God, sanctify themselves, lest Ha Elohim break forth upon them (Ex. 19:22).
It is through this process that we are able to undertake the Passover. Even though our national leaders and most of the priests or ministers are not obeying the Law of God, and not undertaking this process, they can be saved by our intervention through service, prayer and fasting. What should we be doing in order to remove error and to keep the Passover correctly?
Well, in the first instance, we should be preparing to take the Passover in all diligence. We should look to God and the congregation of the elect and keep the Passover and Unleavened Bread diligently. This includes the Lord’s Supper and the Preparation Day on 14 Abib and the full seven days of the Feast, from 15 to 21 Abib.
In the first two weeks of the First month, from the New Year on 1 Abib through the fast of the seventh of Abib to the thirteenth day of Abib, we begin the sanctification process and prepare to go to the Passover. This is symbolised by the physical requirement to remove the leaven from our homes. We are reminded of getting rid of spiritual sin and physical ‘sin’ by removing leaven from our homes. Then we go to a safe place of God’s choosing. We are washed clean and renewed with the foot-washing and the wine and unleavened bread service of the beginning night of 14 Abib. We must remember Lot’s wife and separate ourselves from the cares of the world. In this way, we remove the old leaven of malice and wickedness that may have accrued each year.
We should look at the facts of the Seven Great Passovers of the Bible (No. 107). In each of those Passovers, the sanctification process and the keeping of the Feast for the full seven days was critical to the restoration of the congregation. In one case the congregation was not ready because the priests were unfit in that they did not sanctify themselves, and the assistant Levites performed in their place. In one restoration, the congregation was not ready on time and so they kept the second Passover. That is, they kept the Passover of the Second Month as provided for by Law. If we can’t keep the first Passover correctly, then we keep the second Passover in its stead, and we get ready for that one.
In each lapse in the history of the Passover, the failure of the priests brought about the failure of the congregation. The restoration was effected by the few who remained faithful and sanctified themselves properly.
Today is no different. The ministry is usually at fault whenever there is error. We fast on 7 Nisan for all those people.
In this process of restoration we keep the Feast seven days, because God tells us through His servants the prophets that is what He wants us to do; and we are either obedient or we are not one of the elect.
In Exodus 12:14 we read:
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall KEEP (chagag SHD 2287) it a FEAST (chag SHD 2282) to the Lord (Yahovah SHD 3068) throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a FEAST (chagag SHD 2287) by an ordinance (SHD 2708) for ever (SHD 5769).
Exodus 12:15-20 says:
15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
The following notes are important concerning the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, or indeed the Feast of Tabernacles also in its proper time. However, here we are concerned with the Passover and Unleavened Bread.
The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (4th Printing 1999, of the1906 Edition, p. 290) makes the following note.
(SHD) 2282 Chag
Festival – gathering, feast pilgrim feast.
Blue Letter Bible
1. Feast esp. one observed by a pilgrimage 2. A festival sacrifice
root word from 2287
(ibid.) 2287 Chagag
Make Pilgrimage, Keep a Pilgrim feast. (betake oneself to or towards an object of reverence; Make a Pilgrimage to Mecca; Sab. Make Pilgrimage Sab. Denkm.86 of 85 Syr. Celebrate a feast.
Blue Letter Bible:
1) to hold a feast, hold a festival, make pilgrimage, keep a pilgrim-feast, celebrate, dance, stagger
1) to keep a pilgrim-feast
2) to reel
In the notes of the NASV Key Study we read:
[T]his mas. noun comes from [SHD] 2287. It means festival or feast. The main ideas were the celebration of a holiday. This noun occurs 61 times and usually refers to the three main festivals of Israel, which required a pilgrimage: The Passover with the feast of Unleavened Bread; The Feast of weeks; and the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a season of religious joy.
The following definitions can be taken as acceptable to CCG:
Pilgrim: one who journeys, esp. a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of devotion; a traveller or wanderer esp. in foreign lands.
Pilgrimage: a journey, esp. a long one made to some sacred place as an act of devotion; a long journey, esp. one made to visit a place held in honour. (cf. Living Webster Dictionary, 1977).
Exodus 23:14-18 says:
14 Three times you shalt keep a Feast unto me in the year.15 you shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days, as I commanded thee in the time appointed of the month (moon) Abib; for in it thou came out from Egypt: and none shall see my face [The Lord God: ha ‘adon Yahovah] empty handed.16 and the feast of Harvest, the first fruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field; and the feast of Ingathering, which is in the (turn) end of the year, when thou has gathered in thy labours out of the field 17 Three times in the year ALL thy males shall appear before The Lord God. 18 You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of My Sacrifice [the Passover Offering] remain until the morning.
We see from the original of this text that we meet with God by appointment there at the Feasts in the designated place, and the reason we do so (Ex. 25:22; 23:14-17; 29:42-46; 34:22-24; 40:34-35). The Church of God determines where the set place is and God places His hand there. Anyone who does not bring an offering will not see the Face of God, that is, the Messiah, who is also the Glory of the God of Israel and the Angel of the Presence at Sinai.
It is we who prepare ourselves and the congregation, and then God acts to sanctify the place of meeting and the priesthood in the execution of the duties of the elect congregation.
The text of Exodus 29:42-46 is rendered in the New World Translation (NWT) as:
42 It is a constant burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before Yahovah, where I shall present myself to you people to speak to you there. 43 And I will present myself there to the sons of Israel, and will certainly be sanctified by my glory 44 and I will sanctify the tent of meeting and the altar, and I shall sanctify Aaron and his sons for them to act as priests for me 45 And I will tabernacle in the midst of the sons of Israel and I will prove to be their God. 46 and they will certainly know that I am Yahovah their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I may tabernacle in the midst of them. I am Yahovah their Elohim. (Emphasis added)
It is a conditional relationship, and without our obedient participation we cannot have Yahovah our Elohim tabernacle with us. It is we who act as the Tabernacle of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God resides within us, and this is especially concentrated at the Feasts and when we are together.
We are thus required to keep three Feasts per year. All our males are required by law to be there. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is to be kept for the full seven days. The action of doing labour on the five median days of the Feast does not mean that we are allowed to return to our normal vocations on those five days, unless it be to supply the needs of the Feasts or to help those urgently in need. Trade can be undertaken for food. The sick can be cared for and other necessary things undertaken. However, under no circumstances must a minister fail to provide the instructions and ceremonies during the entire period of the days of the Feast.
The Passover is the most important festival of the Calendar. It is the means by which we renew ourselves spiritually each year and so remain part of the Body of Christ. It is the one festival we must keep correctly, as commanded by God.
This festival is a command to remove one’s self from the world and go to a place set aside by God through the Church. The ancient requirement to kill the Passover lamb was to identify the requirement that the Messiah must die for the sins of the world, so that we may be able to partake of the promises extended to us by God as a gift of grace. It is the Lamb that enables us to be delivered from Egypt, and is the means by which we are delivered from sin, which we term Sodom and Egypt. Thus, the Lamb is the mechanism by which we are taken out of Egypt.
Initially we were in Egypt, and we had to remain in our homes while the blood of the lamb protected us from the penalty of sin, which was death. The death of the first-born was symbolic of the setting aside of the first-born to God. We are the first-born and the first-fruits of the dead after Christ, destined for the First Resurrection of the dead.
The procedure was then reversed for the subsequent Passovers. God commands us as follows, in Deuteronomy 16:5-8:
5 You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates, which Yahovah your God gives you. 6 But at the place which He shall choose to cause his name to dwell there, you shall sacrifice the Passover offering at evening, at the going of the sun, at the time when you came out of Egypt. 7 And you shall cook and eat in the place where Yahovah your God shall choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go into your tents. 8 You shall eat unleavened bread seven days and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to Yahovah your God. You shall do no work.
One of the words translated as gates in Deuteronomy 16:5 is sha’ar (SHD 8179), which means the gates of a city. The other word, pethach (SHD 6607), means a door or entranceway, and refers to an individual household. Sha’ar also means a door, but has a much wider sense as a city gate, or port, or entrance to a city. The use of sha’ar is to make it clear that the removal from the normal urban domicile and the relocation to a place out of the normal habitations is meant. Otherwise, it would be permissible to swap houses and still comply with the instruction if pethach was used. However, that is not the case and the term has a much more serious implication and sense.
Thus, the command is clearly given to us, as individuals and as a Church, that we must prepare for and identify a location where the Lord will place His hand and then we, as a people, need to go to that place and keep the Feast as a pilgrimage.
Now, the instance where Jerusalem was used as a place of the Passover saw the nation make pilgrimage to there, and also internationally there were those who came to take the Passover. Christ and his parents made the pilgrimage annually, and remained for the days of the Feast. The position was that on the night of the Passover the pilgrims would be clad and shod and they would eat the Passover in vigil and remain until the morning. Thus the people of God were to remain outside of their tents until the morning, and then they could return to their tents. The word translated as tents is ‘ohel (SHD 168) and means: a tent (a dwelling place being conspicuous from a distance), home, tabernacle or tent.
The concept here also is that God tabernacles among us whilst we are at the place where He chooses to place His name. We are removed from our tabernacles for this period and we remain in watching and anticipation of His coming. This was instituted from the beginning to look forward to Christ’s coming prior to 30 CE and in commemoration of his sacrifice from 30 CE, and again in anticipation of his return for the millennial system. It will be kept in the Millennium as a commemoration of the redemption of the world.
Thus, the place of pilgrimage required everyone of all locations, even those of the city of pilgrimage, to leave their dwellings for the period of the preparation day of the 14th – which now also involves the meal of the 14th as the Lord’s Supper service of the foot-washing, bread and wine – and the evening of the Passover meal of the 15th to be held away from our gates and cities. We normally eat lamb for the meal of the Night of Observation, but we make no sacrifice of any lamb because that aspect was fulfilled in Messiah. However, our vigil concerns the expectation of his return and our commemoration of the fact of his death that afternoon.
The sequence prior to the death of Christ was for the lamb to be put aside on the 10th and the movement to the Passover site to be made, if over distance. All people were in place by the evening of the 14th, and the first of the meals took place. We now understand this meal as the Lord’s Supper, but it was originally the first chagigah meal, which Bullinger also identifies (cf. The Companion Bible notes). This was not a lamb sacrifice, as we see from the behaviour of Christ and the disciples at the Last Supper. On the 14th, the general preparation was done and the lamb killed in the afternoon of 14 Abib. The roasting was done on the evening of 15 Abib when it was eaten with bitter herbs. The people participating then discussed and watched until the morning.
The term used for morning is boqer (SHD 1242) properly meaning dawn, as the break of day being early, or morning or morrow. It is not necessary to remain until after physical daybreak. The use of the term boqer allows us some leeway. It can refer to any time after the middle of the night, to daybreak proper. No one, except the ill and the young, is permitted to go to bed before midnight on this symbolic night of vigil, and the healthy are expected to maintain the vigil until the morning hours. The men are commanded to be present for the period. Within the Churches of God, the women who are able are also expected to be present when not caring for the aged, infirm or young.
The permission to return to our tents or dwellings on the morning of the 15th refers to the fact that we remain in the vigil of the Passover until the morning watch, which was always understood to be after the middle of the night. Thus, we are not to return to our dwellings until well after midnight on the 15th. The city of pilgrimage can and did remain operational from this time onwards, but people did not return from the pilgrimage to their normal abodes until the seven days of Unleavened Bread were completed. This was the case with Christ and his parents, as we see from the Gospels. Even when Christ was in Egypt they were still able to keep the Feast in Egypt at Hieropolis, because a Temple had been constructed there by Onias IV in ca. 160 BCE, according to the command of God in Isaiah 19:19.
The fact that some Churches of God have turned this serious occasion into a short-term party and failed to keep the Feast properly is due to ignorance on their part, and is no excuse for the elect to breach the Law and treat it lightly, or to fail to keep the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a pilgrimage. In fact, some organisations even forbade Bible discussion on this most important evening because of their inability to explain what the evening symbolised, having misidentified the Passover sequence.
We have an obligation to keep the festival properly and for the full seven days. We are not allowed to resume our normal vocational activities during the seven days of Unleavened Bread. Nor is it acceptable to return to our home and our labour and meet in the evenings. The sacrifices were conducted in the mornings and the evenings at the third and the ninth hours of the day. There were no night sacrifices. There were only two meals: one on the 14th and another on the 15th of Abib. We keep the Feast seven days, and none shall appear before the Lord empty-handed. We shall bring an offering (Ex. 23:15; Deut. 16:1-8). We see the requirements of the offerings and the daily services as spoken by the prophet Ezekiel.
Ezekiel’s comments on the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
Ezekiel 45:21-24 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.22 And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.23 And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. 24 And he shall prepare meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah.
The prince of the congregation is required to supply the offerings for the seven days and the people are present for the full seven days. In ancient Israel, it was the ruling monarch. Now it is the administration, if not nationally, then organisationally.
In each restoration there was a large number of animals supplied for the sacrifices, but the mandatory offerings at the Temple are specified here.
We see in Hezekiah’s Restoration that the measure of the success of the restoration of the people was by the zeal and manner of the keeping of the Feast for the full seven days.
The text in 2Chronicles 30:20-27 shows that the priests were unsanctified and in this restoration a great number of the priests sanctified themselves. The people kept the Feast the full seven days in sincerity and truth. They worshipped the Lord day by day for the full seven days, praising God and making offerings and confession to the Lord; and the priests and Levites taught the knowledge of the Lord for the seven days. They were so zealous and so joyful in the return to the knowledge of the truth that they decided to keep the Feast another seven days, in praise of God and the study of His word.
2Chronicles 30:20-27 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. 21 And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD. 22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers.23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness.24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25 And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. 27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
In Hezekiah’s Restoration we see it is the Lord who healed the people, but the people had to be sanctified and gathered to Jerusalem.
In Luke 2:41-52 we have an account of the Passover that the Messiah went to in Jerusalem at age twelve, where he was found among the Elders in the Temple asking questions at the end of three days after the Feast. The text in Luke 2:41 says plainly that Christ’s parents went up every year to the Feast at Jerusalem. They kept it according to the custom of the Feast and fulfilled the days of the feast (Lk. 2:42-43). That is, they kept the full number of days of the Feast (NASV Study Bible notes to the text). By Christ’s obedience to God, as inculcated in him by his parents, he increased in wisdom and stature. This was to qualify him for his office and consecrate him to discharge that duty. In this text we see he was about his Father’s business in power and strength of the Holy Spirit, having completed the full period of the days of his twelfth Passover and commenced the process of adolescence leading to manhood.
Luke 2:40-50 And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. 41 And His parents used to go to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast; 43 and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And His parents were unaware of it, 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day's journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him. 46 And it came about that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. 48 And when they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You." 49 And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" 50 And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.
From Josephus’ statistics in Wars of the Jews, we know that the numbers at the pilgrimage in Jerusalem were well in excess of two and a half million people, eating the Passover there annually.
God’s three Feasts have seven components:
The three times a year God commands His males to assemble before Him (cf. Deut. 16:16) involve seven as the number of perfection. There are seven days of Unleavened Bread, seven perfect Sabbaths to Pentecost, and seven days of Tabernacles. The element of seven and how we keep the sevens are relevant in proportion to how much we prepare ourselves to remove our sins and to partake of God’s nature in those periods. Proverbs 16:3 shows us that as we give our ways to the Lord, He will establish our thoughts. Only by obedience will we be given more understanding.
Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles are for seven days and Pentecost is composed of seven perfect Sabbaths:
Leviticus 23:5-14 shows us that we are required to keep this seven-day period and make an offering unto the Lord for seven days (Lev. 23:7).
Leviticus 23:5-22 and 23:34-44 show us the seven-times sequence in the preparation and implementation of the three Feast periods.
Leviticus 23:5-8 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7 In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
The restoration of Josiah saw the Feasts kept seven days in the spirit of the Law, as well as the letter.
2Chronicles 35:1-19 Then Josiah celebrated the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover animals on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the LORD. 3 He also said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the LORD, "Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built; it will be a burden on your shoulders no longer. Now serve the LORD your God and His people Israel. 4 "And prepare yourselves by your fathers' households in your divisions, according to the writing of David king of Israel and according to the writing of his son Solomon. 5 "Moreover, stand in the holy place according to the sections of the fathers' households of your brethren the lay people, and according to the Levites, by division of a father's household. 6 "Now slaughter the Passover animals, sanctify yourselves, and prepare for your brethren to do according to the word of the LORD by Moses." 7 And Josiah contributed to the lay people, to all who were present, flocks of lambs and kids, all for the Passover offerings, numbering 30,000 plus 3,000 bulls; these were from the king's possessions. 8 His officers also contributed a freewill offering to the people, the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the officials of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings 2,600 from the flocks and 300 bulls. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the officers of the Levites, contributed to the Levites for the Passover offerings 5,000 from the flocks and 500 bulls. 10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood at their stations and the Levites by their divisions according to the king's command. 11 And they slaughtered the Passover animals, and while the priests sprinkled the blood received from their hand, the Levites skinned them. 12 Then they removed the burnt offerings that they might give them to the sections of the fathers' households of the lay people to present to the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. They did this also with the bulls. 13 So they roasted the Passover animals on the fire according to the ordinance, and they boiled the holy things in pots, in kettles, in pans, and carried them speedily to all the lay people. 14 And afterwards they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15 The singers, the sons of Asaph, were also at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the gatekeepers at each gate did not have to depart from their service, because the Levites their brethren prepared for them. 16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared on that day to celebrate the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD according to the command of King Josiah. 17 Thus the sons of Israel who were present celebrated the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days. 18 And there had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign this Passover was celebrated. (NAS)
It is obvious that the Feast should have been kept seven days, and it had to be restored to the full glory because of the negligence of the priesthood in administering to the brethren.
Wave Sheaf commences the count to Pentecost:
Leviticus 23:9-14 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Thus, from the Passover preparation, we begin the journey of Seven Perfect Sabbaths, which is the structure of completion and perfection until we receive the Holy Spirit in power at Pentecost. Only by keeping the Wave-Sheaf Offering during the Feast of Unleavened Bread can we commence the journey in obedience.
Leviticus 23:15-22 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. 18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. 19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners.
Tabernacles also follows the seven-day sequence:
Leviticus 23:34-44 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. 37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD. 39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. 44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
We can see reference to the Feast of Tabernacles in Numbers 29 and Ezekiel 45:25.
The seven days of Tabernacles is followed immediately by the eighth day, which is a Feast day in its own right – namely the Last Great Day. As we know, this day symbolises the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the millennial system, and in which judgment we share, having perfected ourselves in this process.
It is thus obvious that we have three seven-day sequences and one process of seven weeks to Pentecost. The first seven days is for the sanctification of the Congregation of the Lord. At the end, we fast for those who have failed to take the appropriate actions and procedures themselves through ignorance or error. The second is for the nation through the Passover so that God may tabernacle with us. The Seven Week process is so that we of the elect may receive the Holy Spirit within us as a Church and as individuals within the Church at Pentecost. We then commence the journey to becoming elohim ourselves through all nations, through the gift of grace.
Most importantly, the Feasts in the First and the Seventh months are preceded by two weeks of preparation beginning with a New Moon, which is the commencement as a solemn assembly. It begins in the First month with the New Year and the commencement of the Sanctification process. In the Seventh month the process begins with the Day of Trumpets. Both build up to fasts. In the First month the fast is on the seventh day, and on the tenth day the lamb is laid aside in the culmination of the initial preparation. The next three days are spent in movement to and preparation of the Feast itself. The fast of the Seventh month is on the Tenth day, representing the reconciliation to God.
The sequence is clearly done in this way to prepare us for the receipt of the Holy Spirit, and then perfect us so that we can experience the Messiah and the millennial system, symbolised by the Feast of Tabernacles of the Seventh month. The two seven-day periods of Passover and Tabernacles either begin or end with an eighth day: one being the Lord’s Supper, where we commence the gift of grace; and the other being the Last Great Day, where we complete that gift of grace and assist in the extension of the Holy Spirit to others in perfect judgment, which is the education and correction of those in error.
Thus, the sequence mirrored in the sanctification process from the first to the seventh of Abib ends in the extension of sanctification to those who are simple or in error. The process is carried on through to the end result seen in the millennial system and the Last Great Day, which in turn sees the extension of the gift of eternal life to all mankind through the effort of Christ and the Church.
If the full seven days of each Feast were Holy Days and non-work days, we would have all the limitations of the Sabbaths for the full seven days of the Feasts and they would be unworkable and a burden. However, because God allows us this freedom it does not mean we should take it as licence to turn back to the old leaven of malice and wickedness and be enmeshed in the cares of the world. God allows us time during the Feast to get other tasks done; yet it is His Holy time.
For those non-Holy Days of the Feast we need to be in services, having Bible studies and eating with our brethren. We are to focus on what God has prepared for us and not on the normal problems of home or work. We are to be on a pilgrimage and focused on what God has determined for us. We need to worship Him more correctly and love our fellowman more completely, and we need to be gathered to where God places His name to accomplish this. God clearly states there are blessings for obedience, and we all need to be about our Father’s business.
Eating together at the Feasts
Eating together is combined with rejoicing and praising Yahovah. We are commanded to eat the tithes of the Lord at the Feasts that are allocated for our use. This is the second tithe, as the first is given to the priesthood for the work of God.
Deuteronomy 12:5-7 "But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the LORD your God shall choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6 "And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the first-born of your herd and of your flock. 7 "There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.
The requirement is reinforced in verse 18.
Deuteronomy 12:18 "But you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all your undertakings.
Deuteronomy 14:23-29 covers this aspect also and provides for the situation whereby, if the way is too far from our home, we can turn our tithe into money and then purchase what we wish at the Feast. In the Third year the second tithe is to be set aside for the welfare and given to the poor. The more blessed are to help the poor and needy.
Isaiah 62:9 requires us to gather the tithes and to PRAISE THE LORD together in the courts of His Holiness.
But they that have gathered it shall eat it and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together (i.e. extracted it or “brought it out”) shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
The Companion Bible notes to this verse refer to the Pentateuch in Deuteronomy 14:23,26; 16:11,14 and 12:12. There is a requirement to share the Feast with each other and eat together in the place of pilgrimage. The consumption of alcohol is clearly required at the place of the Feast and is to be shared by all those who are there.
Also, the collective place of eating the tithe and offerings was understood from the days of the Judges.
1Samuel 9:13 "As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up for you will find him at once."
Psalm 22:25:29 From Thee comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD's, And He rules over the nations.29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.
The congregation of the elect in the “great congregation of God” is required to eat and praise God as worship. We cannot keep the Feasts of God from home and refrain from eating together and still maintain that we are complying with these instructions.
The concept of eating together on Sabbaths and Feasts extends also to the New Moons.
1Samuel 20:5,24 So David said to Jonathan, "Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening…24 So David hid in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food.
The statement that the king sat down to eat does not refer to an ordinary meal. He sat down to eat every day. The significance here was that the New Moons were as Sabbaths. The entire household was required to be in attendance to eat on these days. David knew he had to be in attendance and needed a very good excuse not to be there.
Not eating together often relates to disassociation and is usually intentional, sometimes to separate from us as a body (Gal. 2:11-13, Acts 11:3); and us from them as well.
1Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. (see also 1Cor. 10:7)
The disciples did all eat together (Lk. 13:26). Note the Apostles and the disciples ate together and shared in the fellowship meals.
Acts 2:42-47 They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers. 43 Many miracles and wonders were done through the apostles, which caused everyone to be filled with awe. 44 All the believers continued together in close fellowship, and shared their belongings with one another. 45 They would sell their property and possessions and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. 46 Everyday they continued to meet as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating the food with glad and humble hearts, 47 praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. (Good News For Modern Man).
If we don’t want to eat with the brethren, then there is something wrong with us. From past experience, it is only a matter of time before the separation becomes final. God will add to us as we participate and fulfil His orders and His Law, including eating at His Feasts.
Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth brings forth her bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so (SHD 3069 changed to Adonai by the Sopherim) Yahovih will cause RIGHTEOUSNESS (SHD 6666) and PRAISE (SHD 8416) to spring forth before all the nations.
As we are faithful and are blessed so shall Yahovih, the Eternal God, cause righteousness and praise to spring forth. Thus, what we do is critical to the ongoing calling and salvation of the Earth.
Deuteronomy 14:23 And YOU SHALL EAT before the Lord thy God IN THE PLACE WHICH HE SHALL CHOOSE TO PLACE HIS NAME...that you learn to fear the Lord thy God Always.
One of the greatest ways to PRAISE THE LORD thy God, Yahovih is to EAT BEFORE HIM on the days and at the places HE chooses. Eating together is a major issue in Scripture and the correct worship of God at His Feasts.
The reason the Churches of God were subjected to so much confusion and error in the twentieth century was because they did not keep the Laws of God and progress faithfully through this system.
The Church of God introduced the Hillel calendar to its midst under Herbert Armstrong, and he carried that on into the Radio Church of God / Worldwide Church of God systems. Even so, the Radio Church of God kept the Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread for the full eight-day period from 14 to 21 Abib. The brethren were zealous in what they did understand.
In 1967, the Church began to abandon the Feast of Unleavened Bread and no longer kept the seven days of the Feast, and members began to work on those days. The result was that they were given over to confusion and a ministry that collapsed theologically. They adopted a ditheist godhead of two eternal gods, and finally they moved to adopt the triune god, and declared the Laws of God no longer to be in operation or valid. Some moved back to the ditheist position under various offshoots but, because they do not understand the nature of God, they will be unable to keep the proper system until they repent in their understanding of God.
Many other churches of Sabbatarian background likewise have corrupted the sequence. Some are Trinitarian; others keep no Laws of God, declaring them no longer valid. Some miscalculate and even keep four Passovers a year. Others wash their feet with their stockings still on. Bizarre corruptions are only limited by the ability of the fallen Host to influence gullible humans who are cut off from the Holy Spirit.
Truly it was written by God through the prophets:
The ways of Zion are mourning, because there are none coming to the festival. All her gates are laid desolate, her priests are sighing. Her virgins are grief stricken, and she herself has bitterness. (Lam. 1:4 NWT; emphasis added)
The Feasts were corrupted through the desire for power and the use of the power of the fallen Host to cause the Church to err. God says to Israel and the elect:
“Stop bringing in any more valueless grain offerings. Incense, it is something detestable to me. New Moon and Sabbath, the calling of a convention, I cannot put up with the use of uncanny power along with the solemn assembly. 14 YOUR New Moons and YOUR festal seasons my soul has hated. To me they have become a burden, I have become tired of bearing them”(Isa. 1:13,14).
God will not tolerate corruption of His Feasts.
And I shall certainly cause all her exultation, her festival, her new moons and her Sabbath and her every festival season to cease. (Hos. 2:11 NWT)
Through His servants, God has cleansed His congregation many times before, and He did it again to the Church so that we might restore the true doctrines as they were originally kept.
When Ahab had corrupted Israel, God raised up men such as Jehu and Jehonadab, son of Rechab, to isolate and eliminate the servants of Baal in Israel. Baal was the triune god of the Babylonian system. The ditheist or twofold god is but a facet of this god. Jehu began to eliminate these false worshippers and then the congregation was gathered together and, through a deception, God separated the congregation of Baal from His own people and then destroyed them; and none were left alive. In spiritual terms, none who worship a false god will inherit life in the Kingdom of God.
20 And Jehu went on to say; “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal”. Accordingly they proclaimed it…23 Then Jehu entered with Jehonadab the son of Rechab into the house of Baal. He now said to the WORSHIPPERS OF BAAL; SEARCH CAREFULLY AND SEE THAT THERE MAY BE HERE WITH YOU NONE OF THE WORSHIPPERS OF YAHOVAH BUT ONLY THE WORSHIPPERS OF BAAL. (2Kgs. 10:20,23 NWT).
When they were assembled and the true worshippers of Yahovah were removed, Jehu appointed 80 men and ensured that they eliminated the false worshippers from the congregation of Israel on forfeiture of their own life. In that way, Baal was removed from Israel at that time (2Kgs.10:24-26). The ministry is charged with this duty in the restoration. No worshipper of the triune system or of multiple gods will be allowed to remain in the congregation and enter the Kingdom of God.
God said through Nahum that they will not keep the festivals improperly, but they will be restored.
Look! Upon the mountains the feet of one bringing good news, one publishing peace. O Judah, CELEBRATE YOUR FESTIVALS, pay your vows; because no more will any good-for-nothing person pass again through you, in his entirety he will certainly be cut off (Nah. 1:15 NWT).
When Messiah comes they will keep them all and none will be allowed to corrupt the Feasts or the understanding and knowledge of God. From then on the Adversary and the fallen Host will be confined, and will no longer preach idolatry and corruption (Isa. 66:18-24; Zech.14:16-21). People will know the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3).
We obey now as the Church, and we are faithful to the Faith once delivered to the saints. Only in this way can the restoration be completed.
The first step is to engage in the sanctification process of 1 Abib and move to 7 Abib. The congregation is then in a position where it can move to the Passover and Christ can renew his relationship with them. In this manner, we assist them by making it possible for the erroneous to be made eligible for renewal. The keeping of the Feasts in the correct manner is essential for the continued relationship with God in the Holy Spirit and the progression in faith.
By obedience we make it possible for others to understand and to be added to the Body of Christ, and for the Body to grow as the Church of God and in truth and honesty of conviction.