Find out how God wants us to keep His sanctified days on today’s episode of BT Daily .
[Darris McNeely] A frequently asked question here on Beyond Today is a question about, “How do I keep God’s Sabbath day and the annual festivals?” Longtime viewers, and even those who come across our website understand that we keep God’s Sabbath day, the seventh-day Sabbath, and we keep the annual festivals of God that are referenced in the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. But there’s one chapter in Leviticus, chapter 23, where all are listed and described in a very succinct manner. In Leviticus chapter 23, God says, “Speak to the children of Israel,” in verse 2, “‘The Feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’” They’re God’s feasts. They were given to Israel. They’re not just Israelite or Jewish festivals – they’re God’s feasts. That’s an important point to remember. Then he goes on in verse 3, and He talks about the Sabbath. “‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest,’” again He says, “‘a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is a Sabbath of the Lord in all of your dwellings.’”
Verse 4 He says then, “‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.’” And the chapter goes on to list all of the festivals of God. Now, the New International Version puts this “holy convocation” and calls it a “sacred assembly”. And I like that because I think that helps to put it in terminology that we can understand. People ask, “How do I keep this? What do I do?” People are used to going to church, but it’s an assembly. The Sabbath day, the weekly Sabbath, is a time for God’s people to assemble. The holy days, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Passover, Pentecost, others that are mentioned in Leviticus 23, they also are times where people come together in an assembly (Leviticus 23:1-44 Leviticus 23:1-44 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD.
13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.
14 And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
15 And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.
17 You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD.
18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering to the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet smell to the LORD.
19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
21 And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation to you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
22 And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
33 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
34 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.
35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
36 Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein.
37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day:
38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.
39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
41 And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
44 And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
American King James Version×)
Now in Leviticus chapter 23, there are sacrifices that are mentioned there – we don’t do those sacrifices, that’s not part of how we do it today. In the new covenant, in the New Testament, the Bible teaches us that we are to be living sacrifices and we are to worship God. And we see throughout the New Testament that Christ, His church, the apostles, kept and taught to keep the Sabbath day and the festivals – again, all mentioned here in this chapter. When we come together, when we assemble, it is a church service. We have hymns, we have instruction or teaching, we have short messages and also longer messages. There’s fellowship. There is a time of God’s people coming together to worship God. Worship is a critical part of what it means to keep the Sabbath and the festivals, and we keep each of them with the intended meaning. When we keep the Holy Days, we speak from the Bible on each of those days exactly what the Bible teaches about Pentecost, about the Feast of Trumpets. And we come to the Day of Atonement, one of the fall festivals – it’s a day of fasting. We go without food and water on that day, according to the scriptural teaching. We keep the Feast of Tabernacles. We assemble in regional locations and we have services for all of the families on a regular, daily basis during the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles.
Again, how do we keep them? For people who are already churchgoers and used to assembling with others, this is not a new concept, but it should be understood that this assembly, this sacred assembly, is something commanded of God to do with people who feel the same way, who share the same belief, the common values, and want to obey God, want to worship God, and want to learn what these days and the weekly Sabbath all mean in regard to the plan of God and the purpose of salvation.
We can go into a lot more detail about the meanings of the days, but again, to just get to the point of the question of “How do we keep them?”, we keep them by assembling. We keep them by fellowship, by singing hymns, by prayer, and by instruction that is given on each of these days regarding the meaning and the purpose of the days, and all of the meaning that locks into God’s purpose for all of our lives. It may be a step beyond what people are comfortable with, and it may be something new for you, even in your view of religion or life, but it’s not difficult and it can be easily accomplished. Our website – Beyond Today , United Church of God – offers further information about this and our booklets, but also you can find a local congregation of United Church of God near you, where people are doing this on the Sabbath and on the festivals, and can help you then begin to keep them as God commands. I encourage you to do so. It’s a way to find the answer to that question that you have.
That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.