The Big Picture

What is a Feast or High Day?

A feast is a time set aside by God for us to worship Him. Answers to a reader’s questions.

A while ago, one of the readers of this website emailed a bunch of questions to me. Here are just a sample of them…

What is a feast? Can you explain a “High Day”?

Is Pentecost a feast for praying?

I don’t have a trumpet, how do I celebrate the Feast of Trumpets?

What is a Tabernacles celebration like?

Where do you go to church?

How do you handle celebrations that the world celebrates?

My response was to send her a long email. As I write this post the Feast of Tabernacles is right around the corner, so it seemed fitting to share this response for anyone else who might have similar questions. The name has been changed for anonymity sake and I’ve added a few clarifying details. Admittedly, I don’t have all the answers. I’m on a journey just like the rest of you. But God does! When we keep looking to the Word of God, the Bible, He will continue to reveal His will to us. Praise God!

Dear Cassandra, Sorry for taking so long to reply. I appreciate all your questions and know God will bless you as you keep searching out His will. 
While I don’t have all the answers, I’m happy to share some of what I’ve learned and additional resources.


First, the word for feasts in the Hebrew is “Moedim” (moe-eh-DEEM – “Appointed Times”). So it’s not just a feast as we would think of – as in eating a large meal. It is more completely, an appointed time, set aside by God for us to worship Him. The full list of God’s appointed times, also called “Feasts of the Lord”, are outlined in Leviticus, chapter 23.


Here’s a summary of the Feasts of the Lord and what we typically do in our family. Keep in mind there can be some variation in how people honor these days.

The Sabbath

Weekly Sabbath – This is the first of God’s feasts. It is a weekly time to come apart and worship the Lord from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. We rest from our daily chores and work – like laundry, house cleaning, jobs, etc. We go to church on Sabbath (Saturday) at a Seventh day Adventist church (Even though most members don’t keep all the feasts, more of them are beginning to). We enjoying fellowshipping together with other believers resting on the Sabbath.

Annual Feasts

There are three main annual Feasts of the Lord – Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles.


Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread – Passover begins on the evening of the 14th day of the 1st month of the biblical year. This is usually in March or April. Unleavened Bread starts the 15th day and goes for 7 days. The first and last days are high days. This is like a sabbath where no regular work is done. I usually take the day off on high days. One year we went to my cousin’s home for a special passover meal. We read the story of the exodus and compared it with how Jesus is the Passover lamb and delivers us from the plague of sin and death. We eat unleavened bread, drink unfermented wine (aka grape juice), and have a special meal. We eat no leaven that whole week. We do not eat lamb as some Messianic groups do, because Jesus is the lamb and he said at the last supper that his body is now symbolized by the unleavened bread. During the days in between we do our regular work. One of these years, I’d like to go to a camp meeting where others are celebrating and take the whole week off.


The Feast of Weeks: We count seven Sabbaths (50 days) starting at the Sunday after Passover. The day after the seventh Sabbath is Pentecost. This is when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples. It is a time to rejoice and ask God to continue to send his Spirit to guide you. It also commemorates when the law was given on Mount Sinai. Sometimes we review the ten commandments.


The Feast of Trumpets: The Feast of Trumpets is on the first day of the 7th biblical month, usually in September. This is a time of warning. It’s a reminder that Jesus is coming soon and we need to be ready. Trumpets were used as ways to communicate in Bible times. While it can be fun to blow a trumpet, even toy trumpets with kids – you don’t have to blow a trumpet to keep the feast. Take the day off and focus on preparing your hearts for Jesus’ soon return. The 10 days in between Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are a solemn time to ask forgiveness for sins and ask Jesus to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.


The Day of Atonement: The Day of Atonement falls on the 10th day (from evening of 9th to evening of 10th) of the 7th month. This is the most solemn day of the Biblical year. It is the one day to fast. This may or may not mean literal fasting from food. Remember – a “feast” day is really an appointed time set aside by God. The Hebrew word used for fast is “anah” which really means to humble yourself and afflict your soul. This is a time to pray earnestly for our sins to be forgiven and that God would search our hearts and reveal to us anything we need to surrender to him. 


The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths: The Feast of Tabernacles is an 8-day feast starting on the 15th day of the 7th month. This is a great time of rejoicing. The 1st and 8th days are high days – or sabbath rest days. They can fall on any day of the week. This celebration looks forward to the time when God will tabernacle with men in the new earth. It is a time for thanking God for all his provisions and blessings. It really is a time of feasting – both with special meals and on the word of God. The Bible says to build a temporary booth and dwell in it. Sometimes we have built a booth and decorated it. Then we eat our meals in it. Sometimes my kids just build forts in the house (if it’s really cold out). They put up lights and get to sleep in them. They love this. I just learned that Moses directed the people to read through Deuteronomy every 5 years on the Feast of Tabernacles. This would remind the children of the blessings and curses for obedience and disobedience – and remind them of God’s instructions for us.  Sometimes I get my kids a special present during tabernacles, to make it memorable. 

It has been a challenge at times to follow God’s ways when those around us (extended family, church members) don’t believe the same way. Christmas time is especially difficult. We try to be patient and kind, just as God is patient with us. But we have also taken a stand, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The more I’ve learned about the history of the sea beast in Revelation 13, the more convicted I am of the need to “come out of Babylon” and the ways of the world. It can be lonely at times and it gets harder for kids as they get older and see their friends doing things differently. I always tell them about Noah and Daniel, the disciples and other Bible characters who were in the minority because they followed God’s ways. Also, I tell them that we are not the judge. God knows each heart. We must follow our conscience and what God has shown us and yet not be critical or judgmental of others. They will have to make their own decisions as they grow up, but hopefully we’ve provided a solid foundation. I encourage them and tell them if they want to follow God to read the Bible and see what He says. Don’t rely on what other people say, even me. 


Resources

Here are some resources that might be helpful as you study more about the Feasts of the Lord. Keep in mind that they are all written by people, who may have differing interpretations and ideas. What is similar among all these resources is that they are studying history and the Bible to learn more about God’s plan and how we fit into it. The best reference is ALWAYS the Holy Bible. 🙂

Books that have been informative:

A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

God’s Festivals in Scripture and Holy History – Part 1 and 2

Restoration of God’s Festivals by Tom Stapleton

Too Long in the Sun (History of Christmas and Easter)

Various calendars are available online for the biblical year. Note, they may vary slightly from ministry to ministry. It has been a great blessing for my family to celebrate and worship God on the days he has appointed for us to meet with Him.


Keep studying God’s word and continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you and your family into all truth. He is always faithful!
Blessings,
Shama