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Festivals of the New Testament

What the NT shows as to the Festivals observed by the Apostolic Church


                             by

                         Keith Hunt



     A reader of the New Testament(NT), especially the four
Gospels, will quickly see that Jesus did NOT observe such
festivals as Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, Halloween, or
January 1st.  The reader WILL SEE that Christ DID OBSERVE the
PASSOVER and FEAST OF TABERNACLES festivals.  He did observe the
feasts mentioned in Leviticus chapter twenty-three.
     It is written in the NT that Jesus DID NOT SIN!  Peter said
that Jesus set us an EXAMPLE that we should FOLLOW Him, who did
no sin - 1 Peter 2:21.  And the apostle John wrote that anyone
who claimed he was a Christian, anyone claiming he "knew the
Lord" should WALK - LIVE - as Jesus lived (1 John 2:6 and the
context).

     Now the question is:  DID THE EARLY CHURCH CONTINUE TO
OBSERVE THE SAME FESTIVALS THAT JESUS OBSERVED?

     Upon reading and studying the NT many eminent and well known
scholars of Christendom over the last two hundred years have
rendered their answer to this question we pose above.

     Here is the candid answer by CONYBEARE and HOWSON from their
famous work "The Life and Epistles of Paul." page 346.

     "The FESTIVALS observed by the Apostolic Church were at
first the SAME with those of the Jews; and the observance of
these was continued, especially by the Christians of Jewish
birth, for a considerable time.  A HIGHER and more SPIRITUAL
meaning however, was attached to their celebration; and
particularly the Paschal feast was kept, no longer as a shadow of
good things to come, but as the commemoration of blessings
actually bestowed in the death and resurrection of Christ"
(emphasis mine throughout).

     This is what these two eminent men of theology say on page
55 of their aforementioned book:

     " From the Hebrew point of view, the disciples of Christ
would be regarded as a Jewish sect or synogogue.......they were
by no means separated from the nations, they attended the
festivals, they worshipped in the Temple......"

     Professor STANLEY in his SERMON ON ST.PETER, page 92, says
this:

     "The worship of the Temple and the synogogue still went SIDE
BY SIDE with the prayers, and the breaking of bread from house to
house.....The Jewish FAMILY LIFE was the HIGHEST EXPRESSION of
Christian unity......The FULFILMENT of the ancient LAW was the
aspect of Christianity to which the attention of the Church was
most directed."

     In commenting on 1 Cor.5:7,8  CONYBEARE and HOWSON state
this:

     " In spite of the opinion of some eminent modern
commentators......we must adhere to the interpretation which
considers these words as written at the Paschal season and
suggested by it. The words leaven, Lump, Paschal Lamb, and feast
all agree most naturally with this view.  It has been objected,
that St.Paul would not address the Corinthians as engaged in a
feast which he, at Ephesus, was celebrating; because it would be
over before his letter could reach them. Anyone who has ever
written a birthday letter to a friend in India will see the
weakness of this objection.....If we take 'as you are unleavened'
in a metaphorical sense, it is scarcely consistent with the
previous 'cast out the old leaven' for the passage would then
amount to saying, 'Be free from leaven(metaphorically) as you are
free from leaven(metaphorically)';  whereas, on the other view,
St.Paul says, 'Be free from leaven (metaphorically) as you are
free from leaven (literally).'
     There seems NO DIFFICULTY if supposing that the Gentile
Christians JOINED with the Jewish Christians in CELEBRATING the
PASCHAL FEAST after the Jewish manner, at least to the extent of
abstaining from leaven in the love-feast.  And we see St.Paul
still observing the 'days of unleavened bread' at this period of
his life, from Acts 20:16......."

     In Acts 20:16 it is stated that Paul, ".....hasted, if it
were possible for him TO BE at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost." 
The words "to be" is the Greek 'genesthia' from 'ginomai.'  The
Analytical Greek Lexicon, published by Harper, on page 79 says
that the meaning of the word with respect to festival is:  "to be
kept, celebrate, solemnized as festival."
     The LIVING BIBLE renders this verse as: "Paul had decided
against stopping at Ephesus this time, as he was hurrying to get
to Jerusalem, if possible, for the celebration of Pentecost."

     Then turning to Acts 18:21 we find the clear statement that
Paul DID CELEBRATE festivals for we read that he, "....bade them
farewell, saying, I must BY ALL MEANS KEEP THIS FEAST that cometh
in Jerusalem; but I will return again unto you......"

     The Greek here for "keep" includes the meaning of "to do, to
perform, practice, keep, observe, obey, celebrate."  See the
Analytical Greek Lexicon page 79.

     James also wanted Paul to do certain things that would prove
to others who were zealous of the law that Paul also "walked
orderly and kept the law" - see Acts 21:17-26.
     
     We also have the record and the witness of the last chapters
of the book of Acts in which the Jewish Sanhedrin had the open
forum in front of the Roman officials to nail Paul, with some
outstanding offense of their religion such as FESTIVAL disrespect
and none observance, BUT THEY DID NOT AND COULD NOT!  When Festus
explained the situation to king Agrippa, his basic summation to
him was, "....when the accusers stood up, they brought none
accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain
questions against him of their own superstition, and of one
Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive" (Acts
25:18-19).
     Paul said he was a follower of Christ, and wanted others to
follow him AS he followed Christ (1 Cor.11:1).
     Jesus observed the festivals of Lev.23, so also did Paul and
the whole NT church of God.

         QUOTATIONS FROM SAMUELE BACCHIOCCHI'S BOOK

     The following quotations are taken from Dr.Sam(as he likes
to be called). They are found in his book "GOD'S FESTIVALS - In
Scripture and History" pages 197-199.

     " The many thousands of Jews (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 9:42;
12:24; 13:43; 14:1; 17:12; 21:20) who accepted Jesus as their
expected Messiah did not desert their Jewish religion; they
became believing Jews. Luke described them as 'zealous for the
law' (Acts 21:20). their zeal was undoubtedly manifested in the
observance of the feasts, since they are the most enduring aspect
of the religious life. Obviously they observed the OT
festivals with a new meaning derived from the redemptive
accomplishment of Jesus Christ........(those were the words of
Sam himself - KH).

     In his commentary on The First Epistle to the Corinthians,
Gordon D. Fee points out: 'Such a casual mention of it
(Pentecost) in this way (cf.Acts 20:16) may suggest that
the church very early saw Christian significance to this feast,
probably as a result of the birth of the church on the Day of
Pentecost'(page 820)......

     Acts 20:16.......The Interpreter's Bible says: ' Paul was
hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible on the day of
Pentecost, probably because he wished to vindicate his loyalty in
the eyes of Jewish Christians who would attend the feast.'  
     Similarly, William Neil writes: ' His (Paul's) attendance at
the festival would demonstrate to the Jerusalem Christians his
loyalty to Jewish traditions' (The Acts of the Apostles, page
212).........

     In The Life of Paul, Benjamin Robinson observes: ' This day
(Pentecost) was not only a Jewish celebration, but an anniversary
of the outpouring of the Spirit described in Acts, chapter 2. It
would be a particularly opportune and appropriate occasion for
presenting the contribution of the Gentile churches to the Jewish
Christians' (page 183).
     In a similar vein, G.T. Purves writes: ' Among the early
Jewish Christians observance of the Hebrew feasts continued,
doubtless with fresh significance derived from the new
revelation. So it is noteworthy that Paul earnestly desired to
present the gifts of the Gentile Churches to the saints in Judea
at Pentecost (Acts 20:16)'  (Pentecost, A Dictionary of the
Bible, ed., James Hasting, NY, 1900, vol.3,p.742)........"

End quotes from Dr.Sam's book.

     
                       GREAT DECEPTION

     As SHOCKING as it may sound, this WHOLE world has been
DECEIVED into a FALSE Christianity!  I am not just saying it
friend, the God of your Bible says it!  Notice what is written in
Revelation chapter 12 and verse 9.
     " And the great DRAGON was cast out, that old SERPENT,
called the DEVIL, and SATAN, WHICH DECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD: he
was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with
him."

     Satan and those he can use do not always appear as obvious
DECEIVERS and FALSE ministers. They do not come to you saying:
"Now do not believe me and what I teach you about God, Christ,
and the Bible, because what I teach and preach is FALSE, WRONG,
SIN AND EVIL."  No, they come to you saying that what they teach
and preach is CORRECT and that they REPRESENT God, they are one
of His servants.  Satan and his ministers OFTEN come as ANGELS OF
LIGHT (see 2 Cor.11:13-15). 
     Jesus Himself said that MANY would come in HIS NAME, saying
they were servants of Christ, saying Jesus was the Christ, the
Messiah, the Savior, BUT would DECEIVE MANY (Mat.24:5,11,24).
     Deception in the last days, just before Jesus would return,
was to get so bad that only the VERY ELECT would not be able to
be deceived (Mat,24:24).

     The book of Revelation makes it clear that Satan the devil
has used ONE MAIN ORGANIZATION ON THIS EARTH in the last 2,000
years to make the inhabitants of the world DRUNK ON HER SPIRITUAL
FORNICATION.  This instrument of deception is liked unto a GREAT
WHORE WOMAN in Revelation 17.  She sits on MANY WATERS (which
is interpreted for us as many peoples, multitudes, nations, and
tongues, in verse 15).  This woman is pictured as very outwardly
RICH and SPLENDID, decked in fine clothes and jewels. She is
represented with using and holding in her hand a CUP (something
she can be noted for, an organization that likes to often use a
cup in claiming to serve people), YET God says the cup is FULL of
ABOMINATIONS and FILTHINESS of her FORNICATIONS(Spiritual sins,
and false doctrines).  On her forehead, within her mind,
she cannot be any different, seared into her attitude is MYSTERY
and BABYLON THE GREAT (Babylon meaning "confusion").  Many of her
forms, ceremonies, dress, attire, practices and teachings, come
directly from the ancient Babylon Mystery Religion.  Note also
that she is a MOTHER, out of which came DAUGHTERS, who in one
form or another, few or many, have some of her characteristics. 
They are ALL of the same heritage and family.
     The MOTHER has been especially evil and cruel in her day by
persecuting and even KILLING many who stood up against her.  As
they preached the TRUTH of the Word of God, as they DENOUNCED her
for her sins and false teaching, they were often KILLED at her
command.  So much so, that God says she is DRUNK on the blood of
the martyrs of Jesus.

     If you have not done so already my friend, it is time for
you to find out WHO this WOMAN WHORE and her DAUGHTERS are!  It
is time to find out about her SINS, her false teachings and
doctrine, her false CUSTOMS AND PRACTICES, her FALSE FESTIVALS,
as opposed to the ETERNAL GOD'S TRUE FESTIVALS.  You have been
given a little insight into the truth of the matter in this
article.  You can discover MORE by READING YOUR BIBLE and
searching in the religious and secular Encyclopedias at
your public library under such titles as "Christmas," " Easter," 
"Sunday," "Halloween," "January 1st,  "Passover,"  "Quartodecamin
Controversy,"   "Pentecost."

     Here and there, as the SALT of the earth, as the LITTLE
flock, there are TRUE hungering and thirsting after
righteousness, Christians.  When they are found you will find
them observing the SAME festivals and weekly Sabbath day that
Jesus, Paul, James, Peter, John, and the NT church of God
observed, for they will not only say they "know the Lord" they
will also WALK as HE walked (1 John 2:1-6).

              .........................

First written in 1983. Re-written and revised in June 1997.


 
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