Acts 18:21 But bade them, I [Paul] must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. (KJV)
This “feast that cometh in Jerusalem” is one of the three Feasts of the LORD, where the men of the Commonwealth of Israel are commanded to appear in Jerusalem; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Booths ~
Exodus 34:18, 22-23 18You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt… 22You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. 23Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.
Deuteronomy 16:16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.
The apostle Paul and his associates are acknowledging, observing, and keeping the High Sabbath Feast of God that mainstream theology calls a “ceremonial” Law; (in the time line of the ‘Book of Acts’, it is logically the Feast of Booths). If Paul really taught the Law of Moses was abolished why would he care about the Feast Laws; it’s not a “so-called-moral Law”? If he was teaching the nations/gentiles, that the Law of Moses was done away with, why did he openly proclaim that he intended to keep this Law? He had “supposedly” been telling others to denounce this Law as obsolete and abolished.?.?
The Law of God given through Moses is either abolished or it’s valid; it can’t be both at the same time…
The only logical reason that Paul was going to Jerusalem for the Feast is because it is not ‘done away with or abolished’, and he was “by all means” going to keep it!
Now, since the apostle Paul observed this Feast of the LORD…
1 Corinthians 4:16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Philippians 3:17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
2 Thessalonians 3:9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
Act 20:5-6 5These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
Again, Paul and his associates are acknowledging the observance of the LORD’s Feasts as being current and valid!
The Feast of Unleavened Bread takes place at the time of the Passover ~
Leviticus 23:5-6 5In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
By the way, what does Paul say about celebrating the Passover?
What does the text say?
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Does Paul say “hey, Jesus, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, so now the Feast is abolished and done away with”? No, he doesn’t. Paul implores us to celebrate the Passover, especially because Jesus is our Passover Lamb.
Back to Acts 20:5-6 above; if Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, and “if” he preached that the Law of Moses was done away with, why, oh, why would the LORD’s Holy Spirit through Luke need to mention an abolished, “so-called-ceremonial” Law being observed?
Weren’t Paul and Luke both filled with the same Holy Spirit?
Think about it; Luke who was from Antioch and almost certainly not a Jew, wrote this letter to Theophilus who was also not of Jewish origins. Why would two non-Jewish guys be conversing about, much less interested in, a Feast of the LORD that had supposedly been abolished? The fact that Luke mentions to Theophilus that the Feast of Unleavened Bread took place as a normal current event is “documented proof” that it was a valid Feast and not abolished!
Luke, who was a follower and companion of Paul and a non-Jew, mentioning a Feast of the LORD from the Law of Moses to Theophilus, another non-Jew, decades after the ascension of Jesus.?.?.
Didn’t Paul and Luke have the same doctrinal beliefs?
Acts 20:16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost (Feast of Weeks).
What Feast in Jerusalem comes after the Feast of Unleavened Bread? It’s the Feast of Weeks, or “Pentecost” in Greek. The Feast of Weeks is the ‘Counting of the Omer’, the counting of the 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits which culminates with another Feast on the 50th day called ‘Shavuot’. On this “50th day”, or “Pentecost” we have the second Festival of the LORD that requires all of the men of Israel to appear in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16 above), which is why Paul is hurrying to get to Jerusalem.
So, I ask again, why in the world would Paul be “hastening to be at Jerusalem” for an abolished “so-called-ceremonial” Law observance, especially if he had “supposedly” been preaching throughout all of the Near East that the Law of Moses was abolished? What a hypocrite!!!
Either Paul is a hypocrite, and therefore not worthy of listening to, or he is actually keeping and guarding the Law of God given through Moses in these verses and has been greatly misunderstood, and misrepresented; (Please click this link and read ‘Hypocrite or Hard to Understand‘). Peter warned us that Paul can be hard to understand ~
2 Peter 3:15-17 15“And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16as he (Paul) does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability”.
Acts 27:9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them;
“The Fast” is a centuries old idiom for “Yom Kippur”, “the Day of Atonement”.
Do we see a pattern yet?
Why would Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, write about an observed High Sabbath Day from the Law of Moses, decades after Jesus died and ascended “if” it was abolished‘?
The only logical reason that the Holy Spirit had Luke write it down is because they’re not abolished, and Luke knew that this was a current and valid Instruction of the LORD to observe. He knew those that read this letter (non-Jew Theophilus) would understand exactly when this took place because they also had observed and kept this Feast of the LORD.
Just like the Sabbaths, that I mentioned in “The Sabbath: Forever Means Forever”, these Feasts are the LORD’s not the Jew’s. These Feasts are His “Appointed Times” that He has set-apart to ‘meet with His people’, to celebrate with Him; and they are forever, unless the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a liar ~
What does the text say?
Leviticus 23:1-2 1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, these are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are MY appointed feasts.
Leviticus 23:26-32 26And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”
Which part of “forever” has been done away with or abolished?
Is God a liar?
Maybe the LORD doesn’t understand what “forever” means… Or maybe He only said “forever” to be melodramatic, and He didn’t really mean what He said…
What does the text say?
Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
God Almighty, the Creator of all things, knew exactly what He said, and said exactly what He meant.
Forever means forever!
The apostle Paul and his fellow believers acknowledged, observed, and kept the Appointed Times of God as current, valid ‘Feasts Days’. The LORD’s Holy Spirit had Luke write that these Feasts took place as regularly observed events decades after the cross. None of the disciples or the apostles or anyone else in the New Covenant Scriptures ever complained or exclaimed that these Feasts were abolished, done away with or not to be observed.
Let’s review the facts:
- Paul acknowledged and observed the LORD’s Feasts.
- Non-Jewish Luke writing to non-Jewish Theophilus recounts the Feasts of the LORD as normal occurring events.
- The Creator of Heaven and Earth Himself stated in His inerrant-Word that these Feasts, these Appointed Times, are forever.
- This 4th critical fact is actually a Scriptural truth that is little known to the mainstream Christian community; The GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel will require all the people of all the nations on earth to observe the Feast of Booths during the millennial Reign of Jesus the King…
What does the text say?
Zechariah 14:16-19 14Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.
I wonder, who among us is going to be so self-sovereign, so as to disobey the King of Kings and not keep His Feast?
The Feasts of the LORD were not, are not and will not be abolished. Period.
Lastly, we just read in the Holy Scriptures that God states that these are His Feasts for all of His chosen people Israel to celebrate with Him forever. However, if you are one of the few who still believe in the incorrect dogma that these “forever” Feasts are “only for the Jews” then you’ve just inadvertently admitted that they are not abolished… And if the Feasts of the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob aren’t abolished then they are to be observed by the all the citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel.
Final thought: Are you grafted in as a citizen of the Commonwealth of Israel? Or are you still of the gentiles/nations, separated from Christ and without God in the world? | Romans 11:17-24 | Ephesians 2:11-12 | Jeremiah 11:16
- For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, please see the ‘Page Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be a Berean, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!