Christian Churches of God
God’s Holy Days
(Edition 3.5 20020512-20061223-20081217-20150904)
Most of the people of the world keep various religious holy days and national holidays that have not been commanded by God in the Bible. This paper will review what God tells us we really should be doing.
God’s Holy Days
Most of the people in the world keep holidays and days of celebration that are different from what God commands in the Bible. Some of the days people keep are national days in which something important happened in their country. Some people keep various days based on their particular religious beliefs. But we need to look at the Bible to see what days God commands us to keep holy.
True Christians worship the One True God (Deut. 6:4; Jn. 17:3; 1Tim. 6:16; 1Jn. 5:20) and keep His Laws and Commandments (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). God outlined His Plan of Salvation in the Holy Days. If we obey God and follow His Law we will please Him and He will protect us.
The Fourth Commandment clearly states: Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy (Ex. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15). The Sabbath is a sign between God and His people. It is to remind us that God is our Creator (Ex. 31:15-17). The Sabbath serves as a special agreement (covenant) between God and His people forever. The Sabbath is a pleasure to keep because it is a day we spend with our family and others who believe as we do. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. It is not the first day of the week, Sunday, as most churches would have us believe.
The Bible says we are to work six days of the week (Ex. 20:9,11), but the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) is a day of rest from our normal work (Ex. 20:8,11). We are to keep this day holy, and when possible, we gather together with others to learn to obey God more completely. When we keep the Sabbath correctly we will then learn to keep God’s other Holy Days. We would never buy, sell, or work on the New Moons or the annual Holy Days, as they are treated in the same way as the weekly Sabbath (Jer. 17:21-22; Amos 8:5; Neh. 10:28-31; 13:15-19). For more details on how to keep the Sabbath correctly and why it is important see the paper The Sabbath Day (No. CB21).
Just as every week we have special time with God on the Sabbath, so too there is a special day each month that we spend worshipping and learning about God. That day is called the New Moon. There are 12 New Moons in each year. However, seven times in 19 years there is a 13th New Moon, which is added to keep the Calendar in its season. Our God is a God of law and order and everything is perfectly organized. To be able to keep God’s Holy Days correctly, we need a Calendar. For the details on God’s Calendar see the paper God’s Sacred Calendar (No. CB20).
The New Moon is the First day of every month. It is a Sabbath day and we do not work on the New Moon (Amos 8:5). The New Moon can fall on any day in the month, but we have to watch the Calendar to know when this day comes, so we can prepare in advance. Christian Churches of God has a Calendar that shows these days for every month of the year.
In Old Testament times people went to talk to the prophets on the New Moon (1Sam. 20:5,18; 1Kgs. 4:23). The early Church kept the New Moons and Sabbaths for centuries (Col. 2:16). The New Moons are part of every restoration and will be kept by everybody when Christ comes back in the future to take over the rule of this planet (Isa. 66:23; Ezek. 45:17; 46:1,3,6). If people do not obey, then as a punishment they will not receive rain when they need it.
At various times in history some of God’s people stopped keeping His Calendar correctly and even began worshipping pagan gods, but the One True God always raised up a new prophet to bring the people back to His Laws. Thus, when they again read the Law everyone could see what they were doing wrong. Then they could start over and do things God’s way. So we could say a restoration involves re-introducing God’s Law. This would involve keeping the Sabbaths, New Moons, Feasts and Holy Days correctly and following God’s Calendar as He commands in the Bible.
There are two extra special New Moons in the lunar year. The first New Moon of the month of Abib (March/April) begins the New Year in God’s Calendar. This of course is a different date each year. Sometimes it is in March and sometimes it is in April. So we can see the New Year of 1 January as most of the world celebrates has nothing to do with God’s Calendar.
From the Bible we know that many important events happened on the First day of the month. There was the restoration of the Earth under Noah when the waters dried up after the Flood (Gen. 8:13). Then we see Moses setting up of the Tabernacle on the First day of the month (Ex. 40:2). Also Ezra restored the second Temple on the First day of the month (Ezra 7:9).
The other special New Moon is the Day of Trumpets. It is the seventh New Moon of the year and is a Holy Day. That day is explained further on in this paper.
Information about the annual Holy Days can be found in Leviticus 23:1-44, Numbers 28 and 29, and Deuteronomy 16:1-16. The Holy Days explain God’s Plan of Salvation to us on a yearly basis. See the paper God's Plan of Salvation (No. CB30). The Holy Days are grouped into three harvest periods. Three times a year all males are commanded to come before God and present an offering (Ex. 23:14-17; 34:23,24, and Deut. 16:16). At these three times we go to where God has placed His Name. That means the leaders of the Church decide where we will keep the Feasts. We cannot keep the Feasts at our homes (Deut. 16:2,15,16).
During the Third year the money we would normally use to go to the Feasts is given to the Church (or priesthood). This money is collected and held in a special account to be used to care for the poor over the next seven-year period (Deut. 14:28-29). People should set aside extra funds in the other years so they may attend Feasts in the third year.
The first harvest period is the Passover. Here we remember Messiah’s sacrifice and death on the stake. The second is Pentecost, which is the harvest of the Church and those called as ‘the elect’. The last harvest is the period covering the Feast of Tabernacles. This Feast represents the rest of mankind and the fallen Host turning from idolatry to obey the One True God. This means they are reconciled to God.
The Holy Days consist of:
1) Passover/1st day of Unleavened Bread (15th Abib, the first month)
2) Last day of Unleavened Bread (21st Abib)
3) Pentecost (count 50 days from Wave Sheaf)
4) The Day of Trumpets (1st Tishri, 7th month)
5) The Day of Atonement (10th Tishri)
6) 1st day of Feast of Tabernacles (15th Tishri)
7) The Last Great Day (22nd Tishri)
These days must be kept holy and are treated like a Sabbath day. They are signs between God and His people forever (Ex. 31:13,17; Ezek. 20:12, 20).
The story of Passover pictures the salvation of the nation of Israel. That really means it represents the salvation of the entire planet. God showed us that by taking Israel out of Egypt, He was taking us out of sin. He will take the entire world out of sin at a future time. The whole process is actually a 21-day sanctification process that starts on the First day of the First month (Abib). This is called “cleansing the Temple”. If we are baptized adults we are now that Temple.
The baptized adults of the Church fast on the 7th day of the First month for those who currently do not know God’s way (Ezek. 45:17-20). On the 10th day of the First month the lamb was selected and set aside to be the Passover Lamb (Ex. 12:3). Israel was instructed that the lamb should be a perfect male lamb of the first year (Ex. 12:5).
Through the Angel of Yahovah, Moses told the Israelites how to keep the Passover. The Israelites were told if their families were too small to eat the entire lamb, they should share it with another family (Ex. 12:4). During late afternoon of the 14th of Abib the Israelites started killing the lambs for Passover (Ex.12:6). They were instructed to collect some of the blood and make a mark on each side of the door and above the door of the house where they were eating the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:7). The people were to stay within the house where they ate the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:7-13).
The blood on the doorposts was put there as a sign that the house and all the people inside would be “passed over”, when the death plague hit Egypt that night (Ex. 12:13). They were told to roast the lamb whole and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Ex. 12:8,9). None of the lamb was to remain till the morning; anything that was left was to be burnt in the fire (Ex. 12:10). The night of the 15th at about midnight the Lord struck the first-born of Egypt. There was not a house where someone was not dead of man or beast (Ex. 12:29). From that point on Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt and worship God as they were instructed to do. We are told to keep this night as a memorial forever (Ex. 12:24). See the paper Moses and the Exodus (No. CB16).
The things that happened in times past serve as an example and help explain things yet to happen in the future. The lamb that was sacrificed on the night of Passover was an example of how Jesus Christ would come and be our sacrificial Lamb (Jn. 1:29-30; 1Pet. 1:19). He would become the perfect sacrifice (Heb. 7:27; 9:12; 10:10-14; 1Pet. 3:18) and grant us reconciliation with God the Father. This was Christ’s first visit to Earth as a man and he came to fulfil the role of our High Priest.
During his life, Jesus Christ kept the Chagigoh meal on the 14th day of the First month (Mat. 26:20-25; Mk. 14:12-26; Jn. 13:26). This was the meal that was the night before the actual Passover meal, when the lamb was sacrificed. On Christ’s last night on Earth he introduced new symbols for the baptized members of the Church (Mat. 26:26-30; Mk. 14:22-26; Lk. 22:15-20; Jn. 6:53-58). This included foot washing (Jn. 13:1-5) and eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ. This is referred to as the Lord’s Supper. It is a service that only the baptized adults attend. The Lord’s Supper is the yearly renewal of our baptismal agreement with God. It is one of only two sacraments of the Church.
So, only once a year we are to take the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. It is not something we can do every week or every day, as many other churches believe when they take “holy communion”.
Currently, on the daylight portion of the 14th of Abib people prepare the meal for the Night of Watching. At 3 p.m. on the 14th of Abib we also have a service as a memorial to Christ’s sacrifice and death. When the first Passover lamb was killed in 30CE Christ died on the stake. A few of Christ’s close friends asked to bury him in a tomb close to where he died (Mat. 27:57-66). They buried him prior to dark (see the paper Who is Jesus? (No. CB2)).
At dark of the 15th of the First month we have the Night of Watching. This is the night the Destroyer went through the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:12, 29-30). It is very important that we are gathered with those who believe like us and have a meal with lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. It is a night for prayers and study; it is a very important night because the children ask, “What does this rite mean?” (Ex. 12:26). Then the people there explain the meaning of the Night and its symbols for all to hear and learn to fear God (Deut. 4:10; 10:12, 20; 14:23; 17:19; 31:12,13).
The 15th of Abib is an annual Holy Day and we are commanded to assemble together (Ex. 12:16). The 15th is also the beginning of the days of Unleavened Bread. God tells us to put all leaven out of our houses before we go away to keep the Passover (Ex. 12:15). So we need to remove all things like self-raising flour, yeast, baking powder/soda and bread from our cupboards, ovens and refrigerators, etc. We should clean our toasters and cupboards and places where these things were stored, cooked and eaten. This is a physical exercise and we should not be so busy doing this that we forget the real reason for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread.
We are told to eat unleavened bread for seven days (Ex. 12:17-20). Therefore, we don’t eat bread, or cakes and biscuits, because they contain leaven or yeast. Leaven is a substance the makes things rise. Once leaven is put into something else it makes itself a part of that whole thing.
Christ died on a Wednesday afternoon in 30CE. He was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights just like the Sign of Jonah tells us. See the paper Who is Jesus? (No. CB2). Christ rose from the dead late on the weekly Sabbath. He ascended, or went into heaven at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. Jesus Christ was accepted as the perfect sacrifice. Every year during the Feast of Unleavened Bread we keep the Wave Sheaf Offering at 9 a.m. on Sunday, in memory of this event (Lev. 23:10-14). See the paper Wave Sheaf and the Count to Pentecost (No. CB137).
The Wave Sheaf is not a Holy Day. We are to continue to meet with other believers for the remaining days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. From the Wave Sheaf we begin to count the 50 days till Pentecost (Lev. 23:15,16). On the Calendar we can start to number the days from Wave Sheaf to count these 50 days till Pentecost.
There are services on each of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 7th day of the Feast is also a Holy Day. This is the 21st of Abib and it is treated like a Sabbath (Ex. 12:15-18; Lev. 23:8; Deut. 16:8).
If a person is unable to take the Passover due to having a baby, travelling or for some other valid reason, he or she can take the 2nd Passover, which occurs one month after the 1st Passover (Num. 9:6-13).
Around the time we keep the Passover we find many other churches are keeping Easter. We will talk more about Easter in another paper where we will learn that it is a pagan festival to the god Ishtar. Passover was changed to Easter during the second century when there was a dispute in the Church over the date of the Lord’s Supper. This came to be known as the Quartodeciman Controversy.
Quartodeciman means the fourteenth. However, we do know that not all Christians agreed with this and some continued to keep the correct date for the Lord’s Supper, as we observe it today.
Pentecost pictures the second harvest. It represents the elect. These are the ones God is calling now and those who were called during their lives, but have already died. They understand God’s Plan and obey all He tells them to do. As stated above, Pentecost is on the 50th day counting from the Wave Sheaf. Therefore, it is also on a Sunday. It shows us how God gives us one Jubilee period of 50 years during our life to fully understand His Plan. It is also made up of 7 complete or perfect Sabbaths (Lev. 23:15,16; Deut. 16:9).
In the year 30 CE it was the day the apostles were all gathered together as Christ had told them to do. At 9 a.m. that morning the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 2:14). The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk to the crowds. Each person heard them in their native language. That day 3,000 people were baptized (Acts 2:41).
Today, we too go to the place were God places His Name to keep Pentecost (Deut. 16:6; Mat. 26:17-19). It is one of the three times in the year we are told to take up an offering (Deut. 16:10). At this time we keep the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Pentecost with God’s people. Both days are kept as Sabbaths (Num. 28:26). So we have two Sabbath days together and we should prepare for them on the Friday before. All our shopping and cleaning should be done on Friday. Just like the Wave Sheaf was offered at 9 a.m., so too the morning service (or sacrifice) of Pentecost starts at 9 a.m.
The first New Moon of the 7th month is also the Day of Trumpets. It is kept as a Sabbath and we gather together with those who believe like us (Lev. 23:24,25; Num. 29:1). It pictures the 7th trumpet being sounded and Messiah returning to the planet to replace Satan as the Day Star, or ruler of the planet. This time Christ will return to the Earth in the function of a King, and he will enforce God’s system of Law and order. There is a period of time from when Jesus Christ returns to the Earth till Satan is put in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3).
When Christ returns to the planet there will be a reunion with the elect. This is called the Marriage Supper (Rev. 19:7-10). The gospels tell us about the people referred to as the elect. Some of the elect are those termed as being “asleep” (1Cor. 15:6,18; 1Thes. 4:13-16; 2Pet. 3:4). These people died after knowing and worshipping the One True God and having obeyed God’s Laws during their lives. With them will be those of the Church who are still alive when Messiah returns. These people will be changed from physical humans to spirit beings (1Cor. 15:51-52). It is still like a death but it will happen in a moment. All of these people will go to be with Messiah at Jerusalem at his return to help him rule the planet (see also Rev. 20:4-6). This event is referred to as the First Resurrection. The Bible says it is a better resurrection (Heb. 11.35).
On the 10th day of the 7th month we keep the Day of Atonement as a Sabbath (Lev. 23:27,28; Num. 29:7). It pictures the binding or putting away of Satan (Rev. 20:1-3). This is another day that the adult baptized members of the Church fast from dark of the 9th to dark of the 10th of the 7th month (Lev. 23:27-32). Anyone who does not fast is cut off from God (Lev. 23:29).
Once Satan is put away, there is a period of time when Messiah and the saints get the planet ready to begin the new Millennium, or 1,000 years. The people will need to be organized in their tribes; the Temple will need to be set up in Jerusalem and some of the children and young adults, who are not yet spirit beings, will need to be organized as kings and priests in the millennial system.
On the 15th day of the 7th month (Tishri) we begin to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. It is a Sabbath day and we again gather with God’s people (Lev. 34-35; Num. 29:12). It is the third time we are commanded to be where God places His Name and we take up an offering. This is taken up before daylight of the 15th (Deut. 16:16-17). The Feast of Booths pictures the time when Jesus Christ, with the saints, will restore God’s system of Law on the planet. For about 1,000 years the planet will be free of Satan’s influence. People will receive blessings if they obey God’s Law, but curses if they disobey His Law.
At the end of the one thousand years, Satan will be released for the same amount of time that was cut short before the Millennium (Rev. 20:7). Satan will once again try and influence people against the One True God (Rev. 20:8). Then people will rebel against God’s Law and Messiah’s rule of the planet. Messiah and the saints will put the rebellion down for the final time. All the bad concepts like lying, stealing, murder etc. will be cast into the lake of fire. It will burn and serve as a memorial to everyone (Rev. 20:10). It will remind people that all these bad things are now destroyed.
Some people think this is hell fire and the souls of people who do not obey God will burn in there forever. But that is not true, and our God is a merciful God and He would not allow anyone to suffer forever.
Since God created all things, He can also destroy beings. Just like Jesus Christ was a spirit being and then was born a human, Satan and the fallen Host will also be made human (Isa. 14:16; Ezek. 28:16-19). Like all the people who ever lived and did not know God’s way, Satan and the fallen Host will have a chance to qualify to be spirit beings again. However, they will not hold the same position that they once held before the rebellion.
The Last Great Day is kept as a Sabbath (Lev. 23:36; Num. 29:35). It pictures the Second Resurrection. It occurs after the 1,000 years is completed (Rev. 20:5). It is a resurrection to correction or teaching (Jn. 5:19). All the dead people will be resurrected or made alive at 20 years of age. Imagine that! Even those who died as babies, or old people, will be 20 years old when they are resurrected. They will have two Jubilee periods, or 100 years, to learn God’s ways and live by them (Isa. 65:20). God does not want anyone to perish (1Pet. 3:9; 1Tim. 2:4; Titus 2:11) or die the second death. There will be no resurrection from the second death. Since God created all things, it would appear all humans from Adam and Eve on, as well as the fallen Host will qualify for some position in God’s Government.
There will be a new Heaven and Earth, but there will no longer be any sea (Rev. 21:1). The New Jerusalem is coming down out of Heaven from God (Rev. 21:10). There will be no sun or moon, because the glory of God will give us light, and the Lamb (Christ) will be the lamp of the city. The Temple has 12 gates and all the people of the Earth come into the Temple through one of gates of each of the 12 tribes and 12 apostles. God will be all in all (1Cor. 15:28; Eph. 4:6); man and Host will be working together in God’s Plan. The Bible is unclear in regard to the next phase of the Plan; however, God will make that clear when it is time for us to know.
Many people believe that the Feasts and Holy Days as mentioned in the Bible have been done away with. They are sometimes called Jewish Holy Days, but they were given to Israel, and Judah is only one of the tribes of Israel. Some people believe that God’s Plan for mankind stopped when Jesus Christ was crucified. But his death was the first event in the Plan to bring man back to God after the sin of Adam and Eve. So we know that by his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ was the First of the First-fruits to go back to God.
Each Feast represents a part of the Plan of God that is still going on, so we must keep them. God gave the Feasts to Christ and Christ gave them to us. Christ and the apostles kept all the Sabbaths, New Moons and the Feasts (Col. 2:16). The Church has kept the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts for over two thousand years. In the Millennium the nations will keep these Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts also (Isa. 66:23; Zech. 14:16-19).
The Feasts are a time for rejoicing. We can look forward to the time when Christ returns and the planet will be restored to the One True God. Then everyone will keep the same Feasts and Holy Days as our Father commands.