When YHWH begins something in this present age of mankind, He nearly always starts small. In Matthew 13:33 Yahushua compared YHWH’s Kingdom to both a mustard seed and leaven. Both analogies start with something small that expands into something much larger. Similarly, YHWH called only a relatively few people in Old Testament times who were willing to follow His ways.
The biblical record shows that, early in the account spoken of in the Bible, only a few people decided to obey God. However, early patriarchs including Abel, Enoch and Noah did respond to the revelation of YHWH’s plan of salvation (Matthew 23:35). After the great flood of Noah’s time, God found He could work with Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Of God’s obedient people of those times, Hebrews 11:13 says they “all died in faith” with the sure knowledge that they would gain eternal life (verse 40).
We should note that the plan for providing eternal life was already at work in the lives of these early people of YHWH. The plan did not start with a covenant God made with ancient Israel; nor did it start with Yahushuas’ earthly ministry.
God loved the world so much “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love in giving His Son continued His plan of salvation from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34; Revelation 13:8). The blueprint of the Holy Days would reveal in due time the plan YHWH had designed from the very beginning. These festival observances were not just a cosmic afterthought.
With Abraham’s family we see YHWH beginning to reveal the good news about His plan of salvation . Genesis 26:3-4 identifies specific blessings God promised to Abraham and Abraham’s descendants. The Creator pledged to bestow them “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (verse 5). Perhaps this is why the Bible calls Abraham “the friend of God” and “the father of all those who believe” (James 2:23; Genesis 18:17-19).
A nation singled out
Abraham’s descendants grew into a mighty nation (Genesis 18:18). They were named after Jacob, the grandson of Abraham whose name was changed to Israel (Genesis 32:28). After settling in Egypt, before long they became slaves (Exodus 1). The story of God’s deliverance from their bondage and His delivering of people today is part of the intricately woven fabric of God’s festivals.
In due time the Creator set in motion a series of events that illustrated for the Israelites His plan as depicted in the Holy Day observances and led to their freedom from slavery in Egypt. When Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh, they told the Egyptian ruler that the God of Israel commanded him to “let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1).
Moses and Aaron had earlier called for the elders of Israel to assemble and had explained to them God’s plan to deliver them (Exodus 3:16-18). Then Moses and his brother, Aaron, performed a series of God-directed miracles in sight of the people (Exodus 4:29-30). As a result, the Israelites (although they later faltered) believed YHWH would deliver them and fulfill His covenant with Abraham, as He had promised (Exodus 4:31; 6:4-8).
What followed was ancient Israel’s first Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Much later the New Testament Church kept these same days as a reminder of believers’ deliverance through Yahushua . For instance, Paul told members of the Church at Corinth-both Jews and gentiles-that they should be “unleavened,” or without sin, because “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). In the next verse Paul said, “Therefore let us keep the feast,” referring to the same festival God had instituted in ancient Israel many centuries before.
The Holy Days in the New Testament
From Yahushuas’ earliest childhood years, He observed the Holy Days with His parents. “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover,” Luke 2:41 tells us. The following verses describe Jesus, at age 12, engaging the theologians of His day in a spirited discussion during this festival season (verses 42-48). Clearly, He astonished these religious leaders with His understanding and insight. John writes of Jesus continuing to observe the annual Holy Days as an adult during His ministry (John 2:23; 4:45).
In one of the most instructive examples, Yahushua risked His personal safety to attend two of the festivals, the annual Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day (John 7:1-2, 7-10, 14). “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, [which] those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Yahushua was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).
Many churches believe that the apostle Paul fundamentally changed the way Christians are to worship. This notion assumes Paul taught gentiles that observance of the Holy Days was unnecessary. Although some of his writings were difficult to understand, even by his contemporaries (2 Peter 3:15-16), Paul’s explicit statements and actions contradict any notion that he annulled or abolished Holy Day observance.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, for example, Paul told his followers to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” and “keep the traditions as I delivered them to you.” A few verses later he explained: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me'” (verses 23-24).
If Paul’s practice had not been to observe the Holy Days, his comments to the Jews and gentiles in Corinth would have been meaningless. Clearly, evidence is lacking that Paul ever discouraged anyone from keeping the annual festivals; such a notion would have been for him unthinkable (Acts 24:12-14; 25:7-8; 28:17).
Jewish believers continued to uphold the Holy Days, as did gentile Christians . From all these references we can conclude only that the practice of the early Church was to continue the observance of these God-given festivals, the first of which is the Passover.
Why today’s church has abandoned the practices of the early church may very well have something to do with the beginnings of the Catholic church through Constantine in 325 AD. Mainstream Christianity does not observe YHWH’s Holy days and they should!! let each one of us not be followers of what is popular among the churches of today but be followers of our Saviour Yahsuhua who kept the Holy Days of the Israelites as commanded by His Father – and our heavenly Father – the Most High God YHWH!
The Gospels show Jesus keeping the same festivals (Matthew 26:17-19; John 7:10-14, 37-38). Both the book of Acts and Paul’s letters show the apostles observing these festivals long after Christ’s crucifixion (Acts 2:1-4; 18:21; 20:6, 16; 27:9). This is the example they set for us.
Today, however, most churches teach that these festivals were somehow annulled by Christ’s death. Yet the unmistakable record of the Bible is that the early Church continued to observe them long after His death—but with a greater grasp of their spiritual significance.
Speaking of one of these God-given feasts, the apostle Paul urged the Church congregation in Corinth—a mixed group of gentile and Jewish believers—to “keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).
Paul was obviously referring to keeping the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread (see Leviticus 23:6; Deuteronomy 16:16). Paul similarly explained the Christian significance of the biblical Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7; Leviticus 23:5) and gave instructions on how to properly observe this ceremony in the Church (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).
Such passages prompt an obvious question: Since Yahushua (Jesus), the apostles and the early Church kept these days, why don’t churches teach and observe them today? After all, Paul directly tied the feasts to Yahushua, His purpose and His sacrifice for mankind (1 Corinthians 5:7).
The Gospels and Acts are equally clear that Christ, the disciples and the early Church kept the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day of the week as their day of rest and worship (Mark 6:2; Luke 4:16, 31-32; 13:10; Acts 13:14-44; 18:4). It was Jesus’ custom to go to the synagogue on Sabbath days to worship (Luke 4:16). Contrary to the teaching of those who say that Paul abandoned the Sabbath, it was his custom, too, to go to the synagogue every Sabbath (Acts 17:1-3), using this God-ordained assembly to teach others about Yahushua as Savior and Messiah.
Of course, most people and churches ignore the biblical seventh-day Sabbath. But why? Shouldn’t we observe a weekly day of rest and worship as God commands (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15), and shouldn’t it be the same day that Yahushua and His apostles kept?
A closer examination of the Scriptures reveals many other differences between the teachings and practices of Yahushua and His apostles and what is commonly taught. For example, the belief that obedience to God’s law is unnecessary is directly contrary to Yahushuas’ own words (Matthew 4:4; 5:17-19) and the teachings and examples of His apostles (Acts 24:14; 25:8; Romans 7:12, 22; 1 Corinthians 7:19; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Yahushua and the apostles never taught that the righteous ascend to heaven at death (John 3:13; Acts 2:29, 34), and they understood that man does not possess an immortal soul that would spend eternity in either heaven or hell (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Matthew 10:28). Rather, they followed earlier Scripture passages in referring to death as like an unconscious sleep in which the dead await a future resurrection (compare Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Daniel 12:2-3; John 11:11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:6, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).
Nowhere in the Bible do we find any mention of or hint of approval for today’s popular religious holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Though the Greek word pascha is once incorrectly translated “Easter” (Acts 12:4, KJV)—and that only in one Bible translation—this is a flagrant mistranslation. Pascha always means “Passover,” never Easter!
Instead of approving such celebrations rooted in paganism, God condemns them even when they are used in attempts to worship Him (compare Deuteronomy 12:29-32; 1 Corinthians 10:19-21).
These are some of the major differences between the Christianity of Jesus and the apostles and the Christianity commonly practiced today. But don’t simply take our word for it. We encourage you to follow the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and look into your Bible to see whether today’s popular beliefs and practices agree with what Jesus and His apostles practiced and taught.