By Buel Hallpike
(Note: All Scripture quotations are shown in blue italics. Unless otherwise indicated, they are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Substitution of words, phrases, Hebrew names and titles in Biblical quotations has been made at the discretion of the author and are inserted within square brackets […] for identification. Parts of some quotations are shown in bold or capitals or in red for author’s emphasis. Non-Biblical quotations are indicated in brown.
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Yahweh spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of [Yahweh], which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are MY feasts (Leviticus 23:2).
Since they are Yahweh’s feasts, man has no right to tamper with them.
If you were invited to someone’s home, it would not give you the right when you were there to reconstruct that house in the way you pleased, or to lay down the house rules you think fit, since you are only a guest and not the house owner. Yet this is exactly what feast keepers are doing. They accept Yahweh’s invitation to keep His Feasts as their authorisation to keep it where and when they please, completely oblivious of the fact, that the Feast days are not theirs but Yahweh’s.
You would only honour Yahweh in keeping His Feasts if you did so according to His rules. As soon as you start making your own rules, you are no longer celebrating His Feasts but yours, and there is no Biblical directive for you to do so. So we end up having a variety of man’s ‘unholy’ days that they purport to be ‘Holy’, and the celebration of these unholy feast days take place at a diversity of unbiblical feast sites all over the world. Yahweh is no more pleased with this than the house owner in the above analogy would be if as a guest you behaved as though you owned his/her house.
This writer acknowledges having been guilty of the same felony but having repented, is compelled to write this article to warn others of the error they are making in substituting the unambiguous instructions in the Bible with their own.
Yahweh’s instructions to Israel
Long before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, Yahweh gave to Moses many instructions detailing what they should do when they arrived at their destination. Indeed most of the Torah consists of these instructions.
There are certain phrases we find being continually repeated from Exodus through to Deuteronomy that would have given to Moses no doubt as to whom Yahweh’s instructions were directed, and where and when the commands were to be applied.
These phrases are:
Speak to the children of Israel – repeated thirty two times between Exodus and Deuteronomy, and
When you come/have come into the land - repeated nine times
The following are two examples from many we could give:
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to [Yahweh] (Leviticus 25:2).
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving to you, and you make an offering by fire to [Yahweh], a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or in your appointed feasts, to make a sweet aroma to [Yahweh], from the herd or the flock … (Numbers 15:2-3).
But in addition to these phrases there were far many more other expressions used, too numerous to count, throughout these four books of the Torah signifying when and/or where the instructions would be applicable. For example
“Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which [Yahweh] your [Elohim] has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess (Deuteronomy 6:1).
“So it shall be, when [Yahweh] your [Elohim] brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,
“houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant--when you have eaten and are full--
“then beware, lest you forget [Yahweh] who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).
With such preponderance of emphasis on to whom Yahweh’s messages were directed and where and when they would come into effect, there can be absolutely no doubt of the specific people and place Yahweh had in mind.
Unless you clearly understand and are willing to accept these basic facts, and bear them constantly in mind, you will misunderstand the instructions Yahweh gave pertaining to His Feast Days and you will continue to apply Yahweh’s commands where and in ways they were never intended.
There are even more unquestionable evidences Yahweh gave that we will quote later in the article.
What are Yahweh’s Feasts?
These feasts of Yahweh are special days He had chosen and set aside, sanctified and made Holy, when the children of Israel must assemble to worship Him in the ways He described. They were His unalterable days of Appointment. Like your day of birth it could not be changed.
The Promised Land was mainly agricultural. So in this agrarian society, Yahweh’s main times of celebratory worship each year were centred around the two harvest seasons in Israel – at spring and in the autumn or fall. In calendar order these were Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering).
How did the Israelites know the dates of these Feasts? On the day of their exodus from Egypt Moses said, “On this day you are going out, in the month Abib" (Exodus 13:4).
Later on Yahweh said, “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty) (Exodus 23:15).
Yahweh again repeated this to Moses at Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:18).
In Deuteronomy 16:1 He said, “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to [Yahweh your Elohim], for in the month of Abib [Yahweh] your [Elohim] brought you out of Egypt by night”.
But what does Abib have to do with knowing when were the Feast dates?
The month of Abib or Aviv is the month in Israel when the barley has attained a certain level of maturity, so that in two to three weeks it would be harvestable and usable in the wave-sheaf offering of first fruits during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (See Leviticus 23:10-12). So in Deuteronomy 16:1, Yahweh was telling them to watch out, or be on the lookout for the month when the barley was in its Abib state. Obviously this would have required a searching in Israel to watch for the development of barley throughout the time of its expected growth.
But the Abib barley by itself does not determine the start of the new month. Finding the barley merely indicates that the time for knowing when is the new month and new year was imminent. Yahweh had another sign that would indicate exactly when was the first day of the month.
As the children of Israel prepared for their exodus from Egypt, [Yahweh] spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you (Exodus 12:1-2).
According to Strong’s Concordance and Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, the Hebrew word for month, ‘Chodesh’, means ‘new moon’. Thus Exodus 12:2 could read, “This month [new moon] shall be your beginning of months [new moons]; it shall be the first month [new moon] of the year to you.
Psalm 104:19 states He appointed the moon for seasons.
On the fourth day of creation, Yahweh made lights in the firmament of the heavens … for signs and seasons, and for days and years (Genesis 1:14). Both of these verses use the word ‘seasons’, that in Hebrew is the word ‘mo’adim’ which means ‘sacred or appointed season, appointed times, set feast and appointed meeting or festival’. This same Hebrew word is used in Leviticus 23:2 when Yahweh said, “these are My feasts”. So Psalms 104:19 could be rendered as He appointed the moon for [festivals].
Hence Psalm 81:3 says Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
The first day of the month and of the new Biblical year is the date of the first sighting of the New Moon after Abib barley has been found. From this date, the dates of other Feasts can be determined according to the instructions in the Bible. Determining the first month of the year is pivotal for getting the other Feast dates correct.
But bear in mind that in all of Yahweh’s instructions regarding the New Moon and Abib, He never made mention of using these signs in any country other than in the land to which they were going – Canaan. But that is exactly what many Feast keepers have been doing. They watch out for the new moon in their own countries (generally without considering the barley), then on the basis of their observations decide when the first month and therefore the spring feast would begin. But Yahweh never mentioned or hinted that this was to be the method used in countries other than the land of Israel. So quite naturally there are divergences of dates that each assembly throughout the world claims is the ‘Holy’ day.
Others do not even use such methods but rely instead on astronomical procedures, calculations or adjusted dates such as those used on the Jewish calendar, in order to decide well in advance when would be the Feast dates. All these techniques are blatant violations of Yahweh’s commands.
By using Yahweh’s method exclusively for the land of Israel, as He had stated, we can avoid such errors and the wide variations in Feast dates that occur throughout the world each year. [Yahweh] is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
There can only be consistency where there is an authentic and dependable benchmark. Remove that and confusion such as occurs annually worldwide, will always occur. There is no way round this – except by doing things Yahweh’s way. For this reason, Moses said to the children of Israel, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 12:32).
More evidences that Yahweh intended for His Feasts to be held only in Israel
Yahweh said in Deuteronomy chapter 12,
5 “But you shall seek the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.
6 “There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.
7 “And there you shall eat before [Yahweh] your [Elohim], and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which [Yahweh] your [Elohim] has blessed you.
8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today--every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes--
9 “for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which [Yahweh] your [Elohim] is giving you.
10 “But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which [Yahweh] your [Elohim] is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety,
11 “then there will be the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to [Yahweh].
12 “And you shall rejoice before [Yahweh] your [Elohim], you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.
13 “Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
14 “but in the place which [Yahweh] chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
Take note especially of verses 8, 10,11,13, and 14. In verse 8 He said that it was not for every man to do what was right in his own eyes. In other words man must not take it upon himself to make up his own rules. It is only in doing things the way Yahweh says that we are obedient. Any deviation is disobedience.
Next, observe verses 10 and 11 “But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which [Yahweh] your [Elohim] is giving you to inherit, … then there will be the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you". These verses are very important in telling us that the place will definitely be in Israel, and that it will be available from some time when the nation has rest from all their enemies. We will return to this later when this promise is fulfilled.
Yahweh repeated His directive in verses 13 and 14, where He said, “Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; but in the place which [Yahweh] chooses… there you shall do all that I command you. This is very relevant to what is happening today. Yahweh told the children of Israel that they were not allowed to choose just any place. But that is exactly what Feast keepers are doing. They select any place they deem suitable for holding a celebratory meeting, and call it their Feast site, without considering that Yahweh has only ONE Feast site. Once again, we only truly carry out Yahweh’s commands, when we do so strictly as He said. Since He said in the place which [He] chooses, we do not have the liberty to change that to “the place, which we choose”. In the Bible Yahweh uses repetition to emphasise what He means. So when as we have seen thus far, He repeatedly states that His Feast days must be celebrated at a place of His choice, He means exactly that, and His instructions cannot possibly be stretched to mean, “where ever an Assembly chooses”.
Only in the right place were they permitted to do all that He commanded them. If the children of Israel did what Yahweh commanded in the place He had not commanded, they would have been disobedient just as if they had not offered the burnt offerings at all. Partial obedience mixed with disobedience equals disobedience.
If they were restricted to a precise place in Israel, would Yahweh accept Feast observances in other parts of the world?
Yahweh allowed only one departure from this. He said, “If the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which [Yahweh] has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires" (Deuteronomy 12:21). But this exception was only where the journey was too far to take the livestock. It was not a blanket get-out clause, for having His celebrations in some place other than the location he had chosen. Yahweh continued, “Only the holy things which you have, and your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the place which [Yahweh] chooses (verse 26). So there was still the requirement to go to the Yahweh’s selected meeting site.
The following verses from Deuteronomy 16 give indisputable evidence of Yahweh’s insistence that His Feast must be celebrated at a particular place, which He had in mind:
10 “Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to [Yahweh] your [Elohim] with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as [Yahweh] your [Elohim] blesses you.
11 “You shall rejoice before [Yahweh] your [Elohim], you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to make His name abide.
13 “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.
14 “And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.
15 “Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to [Yahweh] your [Elohim] in the place which [Yahweh] chooses, because [Yahweh] your [Elohim] will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.
16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before [Yahweh] your [Elohim] in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before [Yahweh] empty-handed.
Where in Israel is the place Yahweh had chosen?
Thus far we have shown that there was a particular place in Israel where Yahweh wanted His Feast Days and sacrifices to be observed.
But we still need to find out where is that special place Yahweh has chosen.
The following verses provide the exact answer we require:
And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king. He reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which [Yahweh] had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there (1 Kings 14:21).
He also built altars in the house of [Yahweh], of which [Yahweh] had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name” (2 Kings 21:4).
Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there (2 Chronicles 6:6).
The following verses recall some instances when Yahweh’s Feasts were/will be held in Jerusalem.
Feasts in King Hezekiah’s day
Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (2 Chronicles 30:13).
The importance of Jerusalem as Yahweh’s Feast site is substantiated further in the New Testaments.
Yahshua’s parents went to the Feast in Jerusalem
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover
And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast (Luke 2:41-42).
Yahshua went to the Feast in Jerusalem
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did (John 2:23).
So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast (John 4:45).
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and [Yahshua] went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1).
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that [Yahshua] was coming to Jerusalem … (John 12:12).
The disciples gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. …But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words (Acts 2:5,14).
Paul was determined to attend Feast in Jerusalem
I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, [Yahweh] willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus (Acts 18:21).
For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16).
The final feast of all times will be in Jerusalem
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, [Yahweh] of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, [Yahweh] of hosts, on them there will be no rain.
If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which [Yahweh] strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19).
Yes, Jerusalem is unarguably the city which [Yahweh] had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. It was the place in the days of the Old Testament. It was the place where Yahshua’s parents went to attend the Feast. It was the place Yahshua Himself attended the Feast. It was the place the disciples gathered for the Feast of Pentecost. It was where Paul desired to go to the Feast. And finally it will be the place where all nations will be compelled to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.
The place is not in New York, London, Toronto, Kingston, Lisbon, Mexico City, Berlin or any other place in the whole world outside of Israel or even in Israel. No it is exclusively in Jerusalem the city of Shalom, where Yahweh chose to put His name - the City of David and of the Great King to come. To suggest any other place is to attempt to diminish the importance Yahweh attaches to this special city.
Where in Jerusalem did Yahweh choose to place His name?
Yahweh continually reminded them that once they were at rest in the Promised Land, then His Feast days must be celebrated ONLY in the special place He had chosen.
Yahweh had said when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which [Yahweh] your [Elohim] is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, then there will be the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to make His name abide (Deuteronomy 12:10-11). But peace was a very long time coming since there could be no rest until Israel’s foes were conquered. Many battles were fought during the times of Joshua, Saul and David. This was followed by a lull during David’s reign, when he thought the time had come to erect Yahweh’s special meeting place, where His name would abide.
Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and [Yahweh] had given him rest from all his enemies all around,
that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of [Yahweh] dwells inside tent curtains.”
Then Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for [Yahweh] is with you.”
But it happened that night that the word of [Yahweh] came to Nathan, saying,
“Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says [Yahweh]: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?
“For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle.
“Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’
“Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says [Yahweh] of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel.
“And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth.
“Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously,
“since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also [Yahweh] tells you that He will make you a house.
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
“He shall build a house for My name (2 Samuel 7:1-13).
David accordingly started storing up vast quantities of building materials for his son to build Yahweh’s house. As David neared his end, he said to his son, Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of [Yahweh] my [Elohim];
“but the word of [Yahweh] came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.
‘Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.
‘He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
“Now, my son, may [Yahweh] be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of [Yahweh] your [Elohim], as He has said to you (1 Chronicles 22:7-11).
Following Solomon’s ascension to the throne and with continued peace in the land, the time that Yahweh had promised came at last (See Deuteronomy 12:10-11). Solomon built the First Temple. After its dedication, Yahweh said to Solomon, I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually (1 Kings 9:3).
This was a pivotal time in the history of Israel. Now at last they could carry out completely Yahweh’s instructions in Deuteronomy 16:10-16, (which we have already quoted), and keep the Feasts at the precise permanent site where Yahweh had chosen to make His name abide.
Thus Yahweh having singled out Israel from all the nations of the world, and chosen Jerusalem from all the cities of Israel, had now taken His Feast directives to their ultimate conclusion, namely the exact site where His Feasts would henceforth be kept - not in some Assembly building or meeting hall of man’s choice in any part of the world.
Temple History continued
After the dedication of the Temple, Solomon with the people of Israel celebrated many of Yahweh’s Feasts there (see 2 Chronicles 5:1,3; 7:8; 8:12-13).
Some time after Solomon’s death, king Hezekiah continued to observe the annual Feasts in the Temple (see 2 Chronicles 30:13,15,21). With the one exception of king Josiah, idolatrous rulers came to the throne after the death of Hezekiah. They ignored the messages Yahweh had sent through His prophets such as Jeremiah and in 586 B.C, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and many persons were taken into captivity.
Following the success of Cyrus King of Persia in defeating the Babylonians, the captives came under the jurisdiction of Cyrus who ordered the return of some of them to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Over forty two thousand men returned beside their servants and singers to the site of the former temple to rebuild (Ezra 2:64-65).
And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem.
Then the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of [Elohim] of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of [Yahweh].
Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to [Yahweh], both the morning and evening burnt offerings.
They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day.
Afterwards they offered the regular burnt offering, and those for New Moons and for all the appointed feasts of [Yahweh] that were consecrated, and those of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to [Yahweh].
From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to [Yahweh], although the foundation of the temple of [Yahweh] had not been laid (Ezra 3:1-6).
Notice the enthusiasm to start celebrations on the site even before the foundation of the temple had been laid. Just the erection of the altar on this consecrated place provided a focal point for resuming the celebrations of Yahweh’s Feasts.
The construction of this Temple was delayed for a while because of the pressure applied by opponents who lived in the vicinity.
Then the word of [Yahweh] came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” (Haggai 1:3-4).
Yahweh was obviously zealous to have the place where He had chosen to put His name rebuilt.
So [Yahweh] stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of [Yahweh] of hosts, their [Elohim] (Haggai 1:14).
This work was completed in about 516 B.C. and was immediately followed with the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of [Yahweh], … And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy (Ezra 6:17, 22).
The Temple was not as extravagant as the first, which Solomon had built, but it continued to be the place of Yahweh’s choice. It withstood many attempts to destroy and dishonour it. But in 20 BC it was expanded and renovated by Herod the Great and became known as Herod’s temple.
This is the same temple that featured greatly in many landmark events recorded in the New Testament.
• At the age of twelve Yahshua visited the temple and amazed all who heard Him with His understanding and answers.
• It was at the highest point of the temple that He was tempted by the devil.
• In the temple He drove out traders who did business there and said to them, “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16) He thus admitted as we have already found, that the temple was His Father’s house.
• No wonder He was in the temple daily (Matthew 26:55) and taught there regularly (Mark 12:35; Luke 20:1 John 7:14,28; 8:2; 18:20).
• He attended the Feast in the temple, (John 7:10,14) and later
• Prophesied of the destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24:1-2), which actually occurred in AD 70.
• At His death the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).
• After His ascension, the disciples were continually in the temple praising and blessing [Yahweh] (Luke 24:53).
• Following Peter’s sermon we are told that those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them (Acts 2:41).
It is unlikely that this large number could have heard Peter’s sermon in the upper room of one’s house. The narrative then adds that they continued daily with one accord in the temple (Acts 2:46). These verses combined with the fact that historically the temple was the place for celebrating the Feast, have caused some scholars to consider that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred in a large upper room of the temple.
This is very likely the case, since the apostles were devout Jews and obedient followers of Yahshua and of the Torah. They carried out Yahweh’s instructions to keep the Feast in Jerusalem and Yahshua’s instructions to wait in Jerusalem. They would have known that the Temple was the place where Yahweh had chosen for His Feasts to be held and that He had said, you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to [Yahweh] your [Elohim] at the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to make His name abide (Deuteronomy 16:10,11). They would have been very much aware that Yahshua had customarily attended the Feasts in the Temple. So it would have been uncharacteristic of them to be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost in a room of a house instead of the Temple where Jews would have congregated on this Holy day. Furthermore there is no Biblical record of Yahweh’s Feast days being celebrated in any part of Jerusalem other than the temple, since the first temple was erected.
Biblical excuse for keeping Feast outside of Jerusalem
Some persons quote Yahshua’s comments about worship as their basis for celebrating Yahweh’s Feast days outside of Jerusalem. Yahshua said, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.
“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
“[Yahweh] is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24).
Strong’s Concordance defines worship in the Hebrew or Greek as ‘prostrating oneself in homage or to do reverence, or to adore’. Worshipping is not restricted to time or place, and that is the point Yahshua was making. He was not speaking to the woman about the location of Yahweh’s Feasts, for which Yahweh has consistently given specific instructions that have not changed. Furthermore as we have already seen Yahshua Himself attended the Feasts in the Temple. So His comments here are no proof that He was suggesting the Feast can be held anywhere.
Another argument is that the Passover was celebrated in the Wilderness before they arrived in the Promised Land. This is quite true for that preceded the time when they would have had access to the place (the Temple) where Yahweh had chosen to put His name, Moses told the children of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight, in the Wilderness of Sinai; according to all that [Yahweh] commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did (Numbers 9:4-5).
However the Passover is not one of Yahweh’s annual Holy Days in respect of which He gave instructions for abstaining from work. Please see Yahweh’s Passover instructions in Leviticus 23:5 and contrast this with His commands for other Feast days in that chapter where He said you shall do no customary work on it. But even then, Yahweh had specified that when they arrived in the Promised Land, with only one exception (see Numbers 9:10) the Passover was to be held at the Temple in Jerusalem in the place where Yahweh chooses to put His name (Deuteronomy 16:2,6). The Passover was an evening meal celebration for commemorating, the Israelites’ memorable last night in Egypt. It was not a full day’s event. Later Biblical history shows that the Feast was held in the Temple (2 Chronicles 30:1,15; 35:16).
Without extending this article much further we will state here briefly four main reasons why Yahshua’s Last Supper with His disciples was not the Passover.
1. The Gospels all state that He broke a leavened loaf. Check the Greek word for yourself in Matthew 26:26 for example. The Greek word ‘artos’ is used, which means a raised or leavened loaf and not ‘azumos artos’ which is unleavened bread, as in the Feast of 'Unleavened Bread’. These Greek words are confirmed in Strong's, NAS95 and in the Interlinear of the New Testament in Greek and English by Alfred Marshall. ('Unleavened' in Hebrew is ‘matstsah’ and in Greek ‘azumos’). Yahshua, more than anyone else would have known that the Passover meal was to be with unleavened bread and He would not have celebrated that meal with leavened instead of unleavened bread.
2. He would have known that the Passover meal was to be celebrated in the Temple and not in a guest room.
3. The Last Supper was held before the Passover (John 13:1-2)
4. Yahshua the Passover Lamb would have been slain at the prescribed time for slaying the Passover lamb. He could not have eaten the Passover with His disciples at the same time when He was to be put to death.
In this article our focus is simply on Yahweh’s rules for celebrating His Feast Days. We have had to digress in the previous paragraph in order to address questions that have been/might be raised by our readers. We will now return to the main thrust of the article, in order to give clarity on what Yahweh requires of us today.
Can we keep the Feast today according to Yahweh’s instructions?
The place where Yahweh has chosen to put His name, which is the temple in Jerusalem, was destroyed in A.D. 70, just as Yahshua had prophesied. As in the case of the destruction of the first temple in 586 B.C, not only was the sacred House for celebrating the Feast demolished, but His people were also scattered and could no longer observe His Feast.
In 691 A.D, the possibility of Jews rebuilding the Temple and celebrating the Feasts there, suffered a long-term setback when the Muslims erected the Dome of the Rock, over the site of the Hebrew Temple, which is there to this day. Although Jews began to return to Israel in greater numbers following the rebirth of the nation in 1948, they have been denied the right of access to the Temple site. Some persons believe that the Dome of the Rock is the Abomination of Desolation … standing in the Holy Place (Matthew 24:15) or where it ought not (Mark 13:14).
If the Muslims’ buildings had not been erected on the temple site, there is no doubt that the Jews would have already built the third Temple, for it is part of their prayer, which according to the ‘Jewish Prayer Book’, reads as follows:
'Because of our sins we were exiled from our country and banished from our land. We cannot go up as pilgrims to worship Thee, to perform our duties in Thy chosen house, the great and Holy Temple which was called by Thy name, on account of the hand that was let loose on Thy sanctuary. May it be Thy will, [Yahweh] our [Elohim] and [Elohim] of our fathers, merciful King, in Thy abundant love again to have mercy on us and on Thy sanctuary; rebuild it speedily and magnify its glory.' (The Jewish Prayer Book)
While there is this restriction Jews cannot perform [their] duties in [Yahweh’s] chosen house, the great and Holy Temple which was called by [His] name, so they cannot truly keep Yahweh’s Feast days in the manner He had commanded.
Yahweh had said of the Temple, “I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3).
He also said,
“Three times a year all your males shall appear before [Yahweh] your [Elohim] in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles" (Deuteronomy 16:16). So there can be no doubt that Yahweh’s Feasts were to be celebrated at the Temple.
We have repeatedly stated that there is only one way to obey Yahweh, and that is totally. Celebrating His Feasts in some place other than in the Jerusalem Temple, where He has chosen to put His name, is not Biblically correct. Therefore until access to the Temple is restored, as all friends of Israel hope, Yahweh’s Feasts cannot be held at the only place He has chosen, and He has made no provision for an alternative site in cases where entry to the Temple is no longer possible.
This is a recurrence of the situation experienced by the Jews in the interval between 586 B.C at the destruction of the first temple and approximately 535 B.C when the altar of the second temple was laid.
Prophecies in the Bible indicate that the Third Temple will be in existence at some point during the Great Tribulation. Daniel says that the prince who is to come (the anti messiah) shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering (Daniel 9:26 -27).
This Temple is also referred to in the Book of Revelation: Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of [Yahweh], the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months (Revelation 11:1-2).
The afore-mentioned sacrifice and offering in Daniel 9:27 is only possible when the temple or at least the altar of the Third Temple has been rebuilt. When this occurs it would be possible for the celebrations of Yahweh’s annual Feast days to be resumed.
We know from Zechariah that when Yahshua returns, the keeping of Yahweh’s Feast days in Jerusalem will be mandatory in what may well be the Fourth Temple.
Meanwhile we have no right to invent rules for keeping Yahweh’s Feast Days in places other than where He has chosen to put His name.
Yahweh said, “Three times a year all your males shall appear before [Yahweh] your [Elohim] in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16). We have shown beyond any doubt that that place is ONLY at the temple in Jerusalem. Nowhere else. The place he has chosen is inseparable from His command to keep His Feast. The one is just as important as the other.
Now that you have read this article, the fundamental question you must answer with regard to your observance of Yahweh’s Feast days is whether or not you prefer to obey Yahweh or to stick with man’s unbiblical ways. At the end of your life’s journey, it is not man or your assembly who will be your judge but Yahshua.
Yahshua said, "that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes … For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:47-48).
You now know the Master’s will. The choice is yours!
"Our beliefs must fit in with the Scriptures especially when the Scriptures do not support our beliefs". Buel Hallpike