To understand more about the three feasts of the year, it is prudent that we consult the scriptures to get to the bottom of the matter. In the second book of Moses, Exodus, chapter 23 verses 14-17, the Lord our God spoke via Moses, “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me.
sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI
You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the feast of harvest, of the first fruits of your labour of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the feast of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labour. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God”.
The feast of the unleavened bread is the Passover day, in remembrance to the day when the Lord passed over the land of Egypt, in his final act to free the children of Israel from slavery. It was God’s final plan of execution to free the people from bondage. Prior to that, the Lord had commanded Moses, in the company of Aaron, to approach the ruler of Egypt to set free the enslaved people. Time and time again, the Pharaoh had refused to comply. Plague after plague, the Pharaoh stood firm. As a final decisive act to show His power and to punish the Egyptians for their disobedience, the Lord our God then gave detailed instructions to be followed in the final push to subdue the Egyptians. He was personally going to lead and take charge of the final battle, to pass over the land of Egypt in person with a master plan to ensure victory.
These were God’s instructions for the final execution of the freedom for the people, the Passover. (Exodus 12 verse 1-20); The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb according to their father’s houses, a lamb for a household; and if the house-hold is too small for a lamb, then a man and his neighbour next to his house shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; and you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; and you shall keep it until the fourteen day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two door posts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning, anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it; your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and the beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt”.
The Lord our God then proceeded to proclaim the Passover as a memorial day in honour of this event, saying, “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance forever. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses, for if any one eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from the people. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly; no work shall be done on those days; but what everyone must eat, that only may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as an ordinance forever”.
If you read further, it is evidence that God meant this law to apply to everyone and not just the people of Israel. A big number of the Christian churches now seem to ignore, this statute. Furthermore there is now the tendency to replace this festivity with the Christian Easter festivals in recognition of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. These two festivals should be kept apart as they have different meanings and purposes.
The feast of the Harvest is also known as the Feast of Weeks. In the fifth book of Moses, Deuteronomy, chapter 16 verse 9-12, the Lord our God fully explained the significance of this feast, saying, “You shall count seven seeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the feast of weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you; and shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, the priest who is within your towns, the sojourners, the fatherless and the widows who are among you, at the place which the Lord your God will choose to make his name dwell there. You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes”. God is calling on everyone to make offerings from the first fruits of the harvests. There should be rejoicing in the form of festivities by the whole family, friends and the poor, including the priests who should bless the occasion.
The feast of Ingathering is also referred to as the feast of Booths. In Deuteronomy 16 verse 13-15, God proceeded to explain its significance, saying; “You shall keep the feast of booths seven days, when you make your ingathering from your threshing floor and your wine press; you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your maidservant and your manservant, the priest, the sojourner, the fatherless and the widows who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place which the Lord your God will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.” The Lord does not necessarily require offerings from the ingatherings of the threshing floors. What He requires is a seven-day feast where everyone, including all the poor people in the area, can come and enjoy themselves by eating of the fruits of the harvests.
We Christians seem to have replaced these holy feasts with others we have created in honour to the Lord Jesus Christ, at the expense of the statutes commanded by the Lord our God. The Lord Jesus Christ himself said that He did not come to change the laws, but to fulfil them (read Matthew 5 verses 17-20). Jesus followed and practised in full these three feasts, according to records of the scriptures as written in the books of the New Testament. Mankind should follow suit.
Prosper Tingini is a religious writer. He compiled a book titled, God’s Constitution For Mankind: The laws and commandments. His contact details are: 0771 260 195 or email: email@example.com