0

By Feast Days / Appointed Festivals / Holy Convocations I mean:

  1. The weekly Sabbath (Lev 23:3)
  2. The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:4-8)
  3. Offering the Firstfruits (Lev 23:9-14)
  4. The Festival of Weeks (Lev 23:15-22)
  5. The Festival of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25)
  6. The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32)
  7. The Festival of Tabernacles (Lev 23:33-44)

A parallel list is also found in Numbers 28 & 29:

  1. Daily Offerings (Num 28:1-8)
  2. Sabbath Offerings (Num 28:9-10)
  3. Monthly Offerings (a.k.a. New Moons) (Num 28:11-15)
  4. The Passover (Num 28:16-25)
  5. The Festival of Weeks (Num 28:26-31)
  6. The Festival of Trumpets (Num 29:1-6)
  7. The Day of Atonement (Num 29:7-11)
  8. The Festival of Tabernacles (Num 29:12-40)

What is the biblical basis for believing that all (or most) of the holy convocations listed above are NOT morally binding for Christians today?

Note: the counterpart question is available at What is the biblical basis for believing that the Feast Days / Appointed Festivals / Holy Convocations are still morally binding for Christians today?


Similar questions:

9
  • Historical context.
    – Lucian
    Aug 22 at 4:20
  • 2
    But this one, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Hebrews 10:12. I don't think any more need be said, so this is just a comment, not an answer. The rest of the book of Hebrews explains in detail.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 22 at 8:58
  • I can see the value in questions asking for the Basis for a particular part of the Jewish Law still being binding on Christians. I don't see much value in questions like this when most Christians say the Jewish Law as a whole does not apply. We just need one question for the whole Law.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 23 at 2:30
  • 1
    @KorvinStarmast Asking to prove a negative would be, “prove there are no verses implying such and such”. Asking for anything saying is morally binding or saying is not.. isnt asking to prove a negative. People make the claim it’s not binding. The question is merely “what is their basis for the claim?”. And it would be acceptable if part of their basis was “I havent seen anything saying it’s binding.” (It would be fine: I dont know if it is part of the case.. I know little about this and dont even have an opinion. Im commenting about logic and proof). Apparently this is a charged subject
    – Al Brown
    Sep 3 at 11:00
  • 1
    Obviously if we have a clear question and answer for the basis used saying is binding, we will have it for the opposite claim. As we have with every other major question of less than perfect agreement.
    – Al Brown
    Sep 3 at 11:11
5
+50

The answer is at Acts 15:28,29, but the context is important in order to understand why it answers your question.

The book of Acts chronicles the development of the early Christian congregations following the death of Jesus. The first-century Christian congregations comprised of some Jewish Christians (Jewish persons who had responded to Jesus' teaching and become Christian) as well as those from many other nationalities and backgrounds, those whom Jews at the time would have called 'gentiles'.

Paul's letter to the Galatian congregation mentions 'Judaizers' - Christians who were still adhering to aspects of the Jewish law and, evidently, trying to force other non-Jewish Christians to follow it, too. In particular, the Jewish law on circumcision was being taught as still necessary, but Paul made it clear that it was no longer a requirement of God (see Galatians chapter 5).

It was in response to this matter of what, if any, aspects of the Jewish law should still apply to Christians that prompted the apostles to write at Acts 15:28,29:

The Holy Spirit has shown us that we should not place any extra burden on you. But you should not eat anything offered to idols. You should not eat any meat that still has the blood in it or any meat of any animal that has been strangled. You must also not commit any terrible sexual sins. If you follow these instructions, you will do well. (Contemporary English Version)

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they determined that the Jewish law should no longer "burden" anyone, except the points that they went on to list which were all found in the law: (i) eating food offered to idols, (ii) eating blood, or strangled animals, which would contain blood as a consequence of that, (iii) sexual immorality. They showed that was an exhaustive list by concluding "if you follow these instructions, you will do well".

So those three aspects of the Jewish law are the only requirements for Christians today (in addition to Christ's teaching, of course), and that would mean that the festivals were not a requirement either. There is no historical evidence that the early Christians continued to celebrate those things.

As further evidence, remember also that the last night of Jesus life was the Passover. At the 'last Passover', Jesus instituted a new ceremony involving the Passover bread and wine, which he then instructed his apostles to "keep doing". So the Passover was clearly replaced by something new for Christians, giving further evidence that the festivals in the Jewish law are no longer a requirement for them.

12
  • In your last paragraph, you'd do well (IMO) to identify the new ceremony regardless of whether you call it "eucharistic celebration" or "eucharistic rite" or "eucharistic ceremony" and reference scripture, for example, Luke 22. FWIW, Scott Hahn's The Fourth Cup is one (of many) treatments of that origination that may provide some useful touch points. A good answer in any case. Welcome to ChristianitySE. The tour, help center, How to Ask and How to Answer provide some guidance on how to get the most out of as SE site like this one. Sep 3 at 12:22
  • I mentioned the Luke 22 reference since it points to the blood of the new covenant but that's hardly the only scriptural reference that supports your last point. Sep 3 at 12:31
  • "those three aspects of the Jewish law are the only requirements for Christians today". No, these Noahide laws were the minimum requirements for gentiles to be accepted by Jews (e.g. for Christian converts to be allowed access to the synagogues for biblical study). Read my answer to exegesis - Were there implicit laws not referenced in the Acts 15 letter to gentile believers? - Christianity Stack Exchange. Sep 3 at 12:37
  • 4
    @user47952 None of the scriptures you cited refer to Paul celebrating a feast. The first mentions him trying to travel to a place before the feast day. The second doesn't mention it at all (error?) and the last sees him using the festival as an illustration - in fact, if you look at the previous verse (1 Cor 5:7) you'll see that he refers to Christ as the 'lamb' and that he has already been sacrficed, so logically the unleavened bread mentioned in verse 8 is figurative too. He even says that the unlevened bread represents "sincerity and truth". Sep 4 at 11:47
  • 1
    @AlBrown Good question. The law detailed how animals should be slaughtered for food. Basically, their throats were cut and their blood was completely drained. Today, nearly all meat is still killed in similar ways and is free of blood anyway, so don't worry. Your rare steak isn't really 'bloody' - blood runs through the veins, not through the meat. That is just meat juices. Modern-day Jews insist on 'kosher' meat, but the only differences are ritualistic. Sep 6 at 20:34
1

Therefore, no one is to act as your judge in regard to food and drink, or in respect to a festival or a new moon, or a Sabbath day— things which are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

-Colossians 2:16

3
0

Romans 14 answers the questions about eating, drinking, and days.

For indeed one judges a day to be above another day, but one judges every day alike. Let each be fully assured in their own mind. The one regarding the day regards it to the Lord, the one eating, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and the one not eating, does not eat to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

So then, we should pursue the things of peace, and the things for edification among each other. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but it is wrong to the man eating through a stumbling block. It is good neither to eat meat, nor to drink wine, nor anything in which your brother stumbles.d The faith that you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one not judging himself in what he approves. But the one doubting has been condemned if he eats, because it is not of faith; and anything that is not of faith is sin.

The Apostle Paul was a good example of how he did some things to not offend his Jewish brothers even though he was free from the law, In fact, he had died to the law.

God has given everyone different measures of faith and that's why we're not to judge one another. Whatever you do, do on to the Lord and you are good to go.

2
  • "to not offend his Jewish brothers". But "Romans" is not a letter written to Jews, but to Roman gentiles that have converted to Christianity. His admonition here is about forcing new converts to follow God's ways before they are ready. See my answer to What was Paul trying to teach in Romans 14:5-6 when he talked about "special days" and "considering one day more sacred than another"? - Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. Sep 5 at 2:20
  • Ray, Hi read your article and certainly don't see things that way at all. A converted Gentile, who rightly understands his Christian liberty, is firmly persuaded that he may eat any kind of food indifferently, though forbidden by the ceremonial law, (blood excepted, of which see on Acts 15:20,) without sin. Another, who is weak — A believing Jew, not thoroughly informed of his Christian liberty; eateth herbs — Namely, for fear lest he should offend by eating any meat forbidden by the law, or which was not killed in a legal manner. Benson commentary.
    – Sherrie
    Sep 5 at 22:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.