What if someone were to ask you to name all of the religious feasts/holidays that the Christ instructs His disciples to keep? Which ones could you name?
Jesus Himself lived under the law of Moses, meaning that during His earthly life, He kept the instructions of that law. That included keeping its religious feasts, and there were several of them.
In the message of the old law, God gave Israel instructions about specific feasts, and He gave them specific names. You and I can read about them in the Bible in Exodus 23, Leviticus 23, and Deuteronomy 16. The message of Leviticus 23 is prefaced with this statement from Jehovah: “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2). What special religious occasions were listed in that context? The Sabbath (23:3), Passover (23:5), Unleavened Bread (23:6-8), Feast of Weeks/Pentecost (23:9-22), Trumpets (23:24- 25), Day of Atonement (23:26-32), and Feast of Tabernacles (23:33-43). So, for the feasts that God wanted Israel to observe, He gave those feasts specific designations. He called them “holy” occasions and said they are “My” feasts (23:2). There is no mistaking the origin of those old covenant religious celebrations: they came from the Lord God Himself.
What else? For those old covenant religious feasts, the Lord also specified the time when they were to be observed. For instance, the Sabbath was a weekly observance on the seventh day of the week (23:3), the Passover was on the fourteenth day of the first month (23:5), and the Feast of Tabernacles began on month seven, day fifteen (23:34). Again, who was it that established those times? God did.
For the feasts observed by the Israelites, God also instructed them to take specific actions in connection with them. For the Passover, a specific type of lamb was to be selected on the tenth day, then killed and eaten four days later (Exodus 12:3,5,6). On the Day of Atonement, only the high priest was allowed to enter the most holy place of the tabernacle or temple (Leviticus 16).
Furthermore, in the case of some of those feasts, God gave Israel a message about the specific purpose of the feast. The Passover was more than a time for family members to come together and share a meal. It was supposed to be a memorial of God’s sparing Israel’s firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12:14,25-27). The Tabernacles Feast was kept as a memorial of the Israelites living in tents during their time in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:34,41-43).
In summary, for the religious feasts that God made a part of the old covenant, there were specific names, specific times, specific actions, and specific purposes. Why did the Jews observe such religious occasions? Because God instructed them to do so. Those feasts came from God’s mind, not man’s.
Now, back to our inquiry about special religious feasts/days/holidays under the new covenant. Other than the observance of the communion on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Acts 20:7), in the Scriptures there is no other “special religious day” designated for Christians. Maybe you disagree with that conclusion. If so, why not do what we did (earlier in this article) with the old covenant feasts observed by Israel? Name those religious days/feasts that God tells Christians to observe. Point out the New Testament verses which set forth such occasions’ specific names, their specific times of observance, the specific actions to be carried out, and their specific purpose.
Friend, you will not find them in the Bible. In the Bible, there is no mention of a late December or March-April religious holiday for Christians to keep. I know that many religious people participate in such celebrations enthusiastically. The bottom line, though, is that we are obligated to be guided by the Lord’s commands (Matthew 28:18-20), not the traditions of men. We want to follow and do that which comes from heaven, not from men, right? (Matthew 21:25). Why would we be devoted to or support something that is not even in the Bible?
— Roger D. Campbell