Can You Keep the Festivals Outside of Jerusalem and the Temple?

What is going to be presented is not meant to offend anyone trying to keep the festivals now, but it is given to inform you of some concepts that you may not have been presented with for consideration from God’s word. If the Lord has spoken to you to keep the festivals, then do it. But, we are going to look at the evidence from Scripture. The first thing we need to do is define the phrase “keep and observe.”

This phrase means “to guard and to incorporate the Torah (Word of God) into our lives, and to stay in line with the “tavnit” (meaning blueprint/pattern) that God has laid down in the Torah by doing certain things, at certain times, at certain places, by certain people.”

In Lev 10.1-5, Nadab and Abihu found out the hard way that they could not change the services from the blueprint God had commanded. It was the eighth day of their consecration as a priest and offered “strange fire” before the Lord. They tried to offer incense at an unauthorized time that was not part of the service God gave, and God never said two people could do it, either. Did they consult their teachers, Moses and Aaron? Independent thought and inspiration must be channeled through the Word of God. The ordinances of God, like the services in the Mishkan and Temple and the festivals, cannot be changed by any human authority, not even the sons of the High Priest.

They did what was right in their own eyes and they died. What should have been a happy occasion became a day of grief. Aaron had lost two of his sons in one day because they did not “keep and observe” what the Lord commanded them to do. What makes people think they can “keep and observe” the festivals outside of the Temple, a functioning priesthood and Jerusalem today!  It is “ground zero” for all of the festivals.

Deut 12.13-14 says they were not to bring their offerings to just any place they “see” but to where God has put his name. In King Solomon’s prayer of dedication in 1 Kings 8.22-53, he said that place was the Temple, the covenantal center, and Jerusalem.  Isa 33.20 says, “Look upon Zion (Jerusalem), the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes shall see Jerusalem an undisturbed habitation.”

In another example, we know the Philistines returned the Ark to Israel by placing the Ark on a “new cart” in 1 Sam 6.7. In 2 Sam 6.3, David is bringing the Ark into the city and the Ark is put on a “new cart” following the example of the Philistines. But the Ark is to be carried by Levites with poles on their shoulder (Num 7.9; 1 Chr 15.2). What is strange about this is there were priests and Levites around who knew better and did nothing about it. They were not “keeping and observing” the Torah but followed what the non-Jews did, or they thought that because other items were carried on carts this could be applied to the Ark as well (Num 7.1-8). Who really knows why they did what they did, but it was not what God had told them to do. The Lord was very specific on how this was to be done.

When the Ark returned from the Philistines it was eventually brought to the house of Abinadab, which was on a hill, and his eldest son Eleazar was set apart to care for the Ark (1 Sam 7.1). We learn later that Abinadab had two other sons named Uzzah and Ahio (2 Sam 6.3). The Scriptures are silent about where Abinadab and Eleazar were, perhaps they were dead, but it was up to his remaining two sons to bring the Ark to David. They drew the cart along with oxen, with Ahio leading the oxen (2 Sam 6.4). When they reached the threshing floor of Nachon, Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark because the oxen nearly upset it (the road was rough) and he touched the Ark, killing him instantly (2 Sam 6.7).

The lesson is clear. If they had followed and “kept” the Torah (the tavnit, pattern, blueprint) this would have never happened. But they may have followed what the Philistines did and Uzzah died. David finally realized what they did wrong and corrected it, following what the Lord said to do by doing certain things at certain places at certain times by certain people.

In 1 Sam 15.22 it says, “And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams.'” Sadly, this is the problem today with people who think that they can keep the biblical festivals and to ignore what the Lord has said about them. Israel still refuses to listen to the Lord and keeps certain festivals, like Passover, while ignoring the fact that there is no Temple, holy vessels or functioning priesthood. But Israel hasn’t followed Moses for over two thousand years.

The Book of Deuteronomy will refer to the Temple as the place that God will select to establish his name. When the Torah refers to the Temple as the place where God’s name will be established, it is a telling statement of the Temple’s purpose: the Temple is a house for God’s name and symbolizes a public declaration of God’s sovereignty (“The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now” by Joshua Berman, p. 63).

Deut 12.26-27 says, “Only your holy things which you may have and your votive offerings you shall take and go to the place which the Lord chooses and you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the flesh.” This verse clearly states that the offerings can only be brought to the place where the Lord chooses to place his name, and that became the Temple in Jerusalem.

Deut 12.5-8 says, “But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God shall choose from all of your tribes, to establish his name there for his dwelling, and there you shall come. And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.” Again, that became the Temple in Jerusalem.

Every festival involved these offerings (Lev 23) and if you can’t have the offerings because there is no Temple, altar, and priesthood, then there is no festival as the Lord prescribed. For example, why don’t people kill a lamb for Passover today or offer any of the korbanot? They will say, “Because there is no Temple.” Exactly! So if you can’t have a lamb because there is no Temple, how can you keep any of it? The lamb WAS Passover, and even called “the Passover.”

In Psa 43.3-4 it says the psalmist will go to “thy holy hill” (Temple Mount) and to “thy dwelling places” (the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies) and then he would go to the altar (mizbeach) of God.  The word “mizbeach” is related to the word “Zevachim” meaning sacrifices or offerings (Gen 46.1).  The Zevachim are ongoing celebratory feasts of rededication back to your partner in the covenant (Yehovah) at the covenantal center which was the Temple and the Temple only.

Where is this place that God has chosen? 2 Chr 6.6 says “but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” Then in 2 Chr 7.16 it says, “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house (the Temple in Jerusalem) that my name may be there forever, and my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually.”

Deut 16.1-7 says that the Passover lamb can only be slain “where the Lord chooses to establish his name” and they could not keep the Passover in any of their towns.  We know his name was at the Mishkan once they entered the land (Lev 23.10; Josh 4.19 through 5.11), and eventually in Jerusalem at the Temple. Deut 16.16 says that all males were to appear before the Lord “in the place which he chooses” three times a year, at the festivals of Hag Ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread), Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Booths). When a person could not keep the Passover at the time prescribed by the Torah, you could do it a month later (Num 9.10-11). But they still had to come to Jerusalem and the Temple, and this included the believers in the first century.

One of the reasons given for being able to do this a month later was that you were “on a distant journey” and could not be in Jerusalem. However, if you could keep the festival in some other place like people do today, there would have been no reason to give this commandment, they could just keep it wherever they were. But the Lord said they could not do that. Why do people think they can do it today? Because they are doing what is right in their own eyes. They spiritualize everything and say “Things are different in the New Testament. Yeshua is our lamb and we can keep it anywhere.”

If that was true, why wasn’t it true for the people who wrote the Gospels and Epistles? They were believers but came to Jerusalem and the Temple for the festivals. We can only speculate, but we can only assume that believers today know more about this than they did, or they are twisting the Scriptures into saying something it doesn’t. There is no biblical evidence that Israel ever kept any festival outside of the land, in Babylon, or anywhere else without a Mishkan/Temple, a functioning priesthood, holy vessels, or korbanot.

This not only applied to Passover, but the three pilgrim festivals (three “foot” festivals called the Shelosh Regalim because you walked to Jerusalem to keep them) of Unleavened Bread, Shavuot (Weeks), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) as well (Exo 23.14-17; Deut 16.16).  If you could keep the festivals anywhere, why would the Lord tell them to walk to Jerusalem and the Temple?  But you can’t keep them outside of Jerusalem and the Temple so they walked to get there.  Why do people think they can keep them anywhere today?  The Torah observant in the Scriptures didn’t think so.

In Zeph 3.18 it says that Yehovah will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts.  They are grieved because they cannot participate in keeping the festivals because they are in exile, outside of the land.  They cannot keep the festivals outside of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Lam 1.4 says the roads were abandoned after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple because nobody was coming to the festivals.  Lam 2.6-7 says that Yehovah will cause the festivals to be forgotten after the Temple was destroyed.  Hos 9.5 says, “What will you do on the day of the appointed festival and on the day of the feast of the Lord ?”  The answer is nothing, because they will be out of the land.  If you can keep the festivals anywhere like people think today, why would the roads be abandoned and the festivals forgotten?  Zeph 3.18 says, “I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts-they came from you, the reproach  (of exile) is a burden on them.”  Those that are troubled for the moedim are those that grieve because they are not in the land and cannot keep the festivals because they are outside of Jerusalem and the Temple

When Hezekiah wanted to keep the Passover, he sent a message to all the tribes that they should come to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem and celebrate (2 Chr 30.1). Again, if you could celebrate it anywhere, there would have been no reason to do this. But, Jerusalem and the Temple was where the Lord chose to put his name and that is the only place a festival could be kept. Josiah did the same thing when he gathered the people to Jerusalem for his Passover (2 Chr 35.1).

The book of Ezra tells the story of the second aliyah of exiles back to Jerusalem. In Ezra 8.31-32 the delegation departed on “the twelfth day of the first month” or Aviv/Nisan 12. Passover is on Nisan 14. There is no indication in the scriptures that they kept Passover on the road to Jerusalem and it would have been highly unlikely that they did, in fact, it would have been impossible. Why? Because they did not keep the festivals outside of the land!

In the Book of Esther, Esther calls for a three-day fast. The fast went from Nisan 13 through Nisan 16. Her first banquet was on the 16th, and the second one was on the 17th. Now, that means they fasted through Passover (Nisan 14) and the first day of Hag Ha Matzah because they were not keeping Passover or Unleavened Bread outside the land, Jerusalem, or the Temple. Daniel fasted for 21 days, beginning on Nisan 3, and that meant he fasted through Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Bikurim (Dan 10.2-4,13). There is not one verse that says Daniel or captive Israel kept the festivals in Babylon.

Now to Nehemiah. In Neh 8.1-18, the people have returned from captivity and they were gathered as one man in Jerusalem, in front of the Water Gate, to hear Ezra the scribe read from the Torah on Tishri 1, or Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shannah). After he was done the people wept when they heard the words of the Torah because they had not been doing what was commanded while in Babylon. Then Ezra and Nehemiah calmed all the people and told them that “this day is holy to the Lord” (Lev 23.23-25) and told them not to grieve. They had not been keeping the festivals in captivity and they thought they may be in trouble again. But the Levites calmed the people, and they went away to eat, to send portions to others, and to celebrate a great festival because “they understood the words which had been made known to them.”

The next day (Neh 8.13), or Tishri 2, the “heads of the father’s households of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe that they might gain insight into the words of the law.” They found that it was written in the Torah that the Lord had commanded through Moses that the people should live in booths during the feast of the seventh month (Sukkot-Lev 23.39-44). Here is another festival that they had not been doing and they had to be instructed about what to do. They did not know they were supposed to make booths, which means they weren’t doing it during the Babylonian Captivity because they were not in Jerusalem and there were no Temple, priesthood, or holy things.

But now they were back in the land, and in Jerusalem with a Temple, so they proclaimed and circulated a proclamation in all the cities (outside of Jerusalem) and in Jerusalem that the people were to go out into the hills and make booths, and come to Jerusalem to keep the festival because that was the only place the festival could be kept (John 7.2-14). So, they obeyed and did so, and it says the entire assembly that had returned from the captivity made “sukkot” (booths) and lived in them. Ezra also read from the book of the law daily, from the first day (Tishri 15) to the last day (Tishri 21) and they celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day (Shemini Atzeret or the “concluding eighth day) they had a solemn assembly according to the Torah (Lev 23.33-36).

In Acts 18.21, Paul said “I must by all means keep the feast that comes in Jerusalem” and we know that feast was Shavuot (Pentecost) because it says in Acts 20.16 that “he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.” So, even Paul understood that he could not keep the festivals outside of the Temple in Jerusalem. Why didn’t he just stay where he was and keep it like people do today? He was a “temple” like people say they are today wasn’t he? Why the big hurry to get to Jerusalem for the festival? Can you keep the festivals outside the land? Can you keep the festivals with no Temple, altar, or priesthood? Paul didn’t think so because it is impossible to fulfill, and it was contrary to the Tanak so he came to the place God had chosen.

The Torah requires that the people go to the place where the Lord chose to place his name (Deut 16.16). Not only must there be a place where he put his name (Jerusalem), but there must be a functioning Temple, altar, and priesthood there (Lev 23.1-44; Ex 12.24-25; Deut 12.5-9; 14.22-23; 16.2-6; 2 Chr 30.1-27). If you were in Jerusalem and there was no Temple, altar, or priesthood, you still couldn’t keep the festivals. If that is true, why do people think they can keep the festivals outside of the land (Lev 23.10)! If there was a functioning Temple, altar, and priesthood and you were outside of the land, you still could not keep the festivals where you were, like in the case of Paul. You would still need to come to Jerusalem where the Temple was.

Gathering together in far-off places to keep any festival was never allowed, and if you did, you were not fulfilling the commandment. A “memorial” is acceptable as long as it is not an attempt to keep the festival, so don’t dress them up in those terms. People can begin to think they are doing the right thing when in fact they are disobeying the Lord, as Saul did. We would try and “keep the festivals” in the past and after a while, the Lord began to show us this was right in our own eyes, but not right in the eyes of the Yehovah.  By going to other places to “keep the festivals” we realized that it profaned Jerusalem and the Temple as the place where God dwelt and put his name (Deut 12.11; 2 Chr 6.6, 7.16) and it was not what Israel did in the past.

There were high places in the Scriptures called “Bamot.” There were two types of high places, one was for the worship of Yehovah and the other for pagan worship. The Bamot to Yehovah was allowed for a while under certain circumstances. In the Mishnah, Zevachim 14.4-8, it gives the times when the high places to Yehovah were allowed or not allowed in history. After the Temple was built, the Bamot to Yehovah was disallowed. You could not offer korbanot on them ever again. The Bamot to pagan deities were never allowed. The point being, that the Temple in Jerusalem was the only place where you were allowed to go to keep the festivals and offer korbanot.

During the war between the Jews and the Greeks with Antiochus Epiphanes IV (where Chanukah came from), the Temple was defiled and controlled by the Greeks. The Jews came to a town called Mizpeh where they could see the Temple but could go no further, bringing their offerings, tithes, those coming out of a Nazarite vow, and so on. They asked Yehovah what they were supposed to do with these, and where they should take them since they could no longer go to the Temple.  They knew that certain services, offerings, and ceremonies could only be done in the Temple and not anywhere else according to the Torah, so why do people think they can do it today?

In a classic example of Replacement Theology, Jeroboam was in the north over the ten tribes and he feared that if the people went up to Jerusalem to the house of the Lord for the festivals, their hearts would return to Rehoboam, Solomon’s son who ruled over the two southern tribes in Jerusalem, and they would begin to serve him. So, he did three things. He set up a substitute place of worship, a substitute priesthood, and a substitute time for festivals (1 Kings 12. 25-33). This is exactly what the problem is today. People have Sukkot celebrations in Oklahoma or other places, a substitute place, thinking they are keeping that festival, but they really aren’t. They have substitute “priests” coming in to teach and many groups go by the rabbinical calendar, so they have a substitute time. But if they stop doing that many ministries would lose money or contact with people who can donate to their various ministries, especially the people organizing them. So, just like Jereboam, they make a substitute to keep control.

Another example of this can be found in the book called, “Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations”, pages 175-176, where it says, “First-century Judaism was thus very varied, but one assumption shared by all types of Jew was that Jerusalem was the ideal sanctuary for the worship of God. It was the denial of this one tenet that ensured that the Samaritans were not Jews, either in their own eyes, or in the eyes of other Jews. On the Samaritan side, the issue was simple. They never called themselves Jews (“ioudaioi” in Greek, “Yehudim” in Hebrew). They were the ‘Israelites who worship God on Mount Gerizim.’ For them, Yehudi meant ‘Judean’, and denoted someone from the province of Judea, or “Yehud”, which was distinct in the Persian and Hellenistic periods from Samaria to the north. But for Jews, it was their devotion to their rival sanctuary on Mount Gerizim in Samaria that put the Samaritans beyond the pale. The issue seems to have been that the Samaritans were believed to be breaking biblical commands by preferring to offer sacrifices to God in places other than Jerusalem.”

In other words, the Samaritans believed that their temple was a “legitimate replacement” and “Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem, was the place where God had chosen to be worshiped.” Now, if you can keep the festivals anywhere, like many Jewish, Messianic, Jewish Roots, and Sacred Name people do, then you are making the same mistake the Samaritans did!

Many believers in Yeshua follow man-made rabbinical traditions and they are making the same mistake Jeroboam and the Samaritans did. You cannot celebrate and keep the festivals outside of the land, outside of Jerusalem, and outside of the Temple with a functioning priesthood. The Temple, an altar, and a functioning priesthood does not exist today, so one cannot keep the festivals. End of story. We have seen some rationalize that they can, but that is how men think, not God.

Some will say, “We are the Temple now so we can do the festivals anywhere!” based on their interpretation of 1 Cor 6.19 which says, “Or do you not know that your (“your” is Greek second person plural meaning the collective body of Messiah-Eph 1.22, 2.19-20; 1 Cor 12.27; Jer 7.4; Mal 3.1; 1 Cor 3.16; this means the body of believers collectively is the temple of the Ruach Ha Kodesh, not as individuals) body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you (collectively as the Temple), whom you have from God, and that you are not your own (individually; we must value what we have in the Temple of God with other believers)?”  But, here is another problem with that interpretation. If they are the “temple”, why don’t they do animal sacrifices then? They will say, “Because there is no Temple!”  Yes, exactly the point here. Now they are contradicting themselves. And if they are the Temple, then why does Yeshua build another Temple when he comes back in the messianic kingdom for everyone in the world to come to (Ezek 40 through 48)? And if you don’t come to Jerusalem he sends a plague on that country (Zech 14.18). Doesn’t sound like they can keep it in their home countries, does it?

In another objection, they will say, “Lev 23 says these festivals are forever.”  So let’s look at the word “forever.”  In Hebrew, it is the word “olam” and it means “indefinitely” with reference to the nature of the thing being talked about.  If the nature of God is being discussed, then “olam” truly means eternally.  If it is referring to a human, it means as long as he lives.  If it is a relationship, it means as long as certain conditions exist upon which the relationship was based still holds true.  For instance, Samuel was taken to the Mishkan by his mother so that he may appear before the Lord and stay there “forever” (1 Sam 1.22).  But Samuel did not live at the Mishkan forever, but lived in Ramah, because conditions in his life changed and he became a prophet and he lived there later in life.

In another example, the ages in Jewish eschatology are called the Olam Ha Zeh (this present age of 6000 years) and the Olam Haba (the world to come).  They are long periods of time.  The Olam Ha Zeh will end when certain conditions change when 6000 years from creation are over, and we enter into a one thousand year period call the Atid Lavo, or future coming.  This is also called the day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day; the Sabbath of God; the Millenium and the Messianic Kingdom.  When the conditions in the Atid Lavo change and end, we enter into the Olam Haba, or the world to come.  Other uses of “olam” can be seen in Deut 32.7, 33.15; Hab 3.6; Exo 14.13; Jer 17.4, 25.9, 31.4; 1 Sam 2.30 for example.  In other words, “olam” does not necessarily mean “continuously in force throughout infinite time, no matter what happens.”  It also does not mean “irreversible” or something God cannot end if he wants to if certain conditions change.  In the case of the festivals and “forever”, there is no Temple, priesthood or holy vessels, so these certain conditions have changed and we cannot keep the festivals right now.

Yeshua himself said he was a “temple” and yet he will build another physical temple with a priesthood and an altar for people to come to. He doesn’t think that being a “temple” meant you can keep the festivals anywhere like people try and do today. If anyone had a right to keep a festival anywhere he wanted to it was Yeshua, but it was his practice to go to the Temple in Jerusalem in obedience to the Torah.

Some will say that Israel kept the Passover in the wilderness, but that was one time and they had Moses who talked with the Lord face to face and a priest with the Urim v’ Thummim. The Lord told them to do it and guided them in Num 9.10-11. They also had the Mishkan, the altar and a functioning priesthood, and holy vessels. They kept Passover one time because the festival ceremony had changed and the Lord was giving them new instructions about how to keep it once they entered the land, and they did this at the command of the Lord, but they did not do it again for nearly 40 years, until they crossed the Jordan and entered the land with Joshua.

Some will argue that Paul kept Yom Kippur in Crete in Acts 27.9.  However, the “fast” mentioned is Yom Kippur, but Paul mentions this to illustrate what time of year it was, and it would be too dangerous to attempt to continue on with their journey because the sea would be too dangerous.  There is no mention of Paul keeping Yom Kippur in these verses because he could not keep it outside of Jerusalem.

The Mishkan was where the Lord chose to put his name at the time. This would be true for Shiloh and any other place where the Mishkan stood before Jerusalem became the final resting place for the Ark and the Temple was built. But later, when Israel disobeyed the Lord he said in Hos 2.11 that “I will put an end to all her gaiety, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her festive assemblies (festivals).” If you can keep the festivals anywhere, how could the Lord “put an end” to them? This eventually came true because Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed and the people went into the Babylonian Captivity. There is no scriptural evidence anywhere that says the people kept the festivals in Babylon or any other place.

Eventually, the city was rebuilt and a new Temple was erected, and new priests were consecrated and the festivals and Temple worship were reinstituted. That was the context in our passage in Nehemiah mentioned earlier. In 70 A.D. however, the city and Temple were once again destroyed and all of this stopped again (Dan 9.26) because you can’t keep the festivals without a Temple, holy vessels, or functioning priesthood.

There was a time when sacrifices began in Jerusalem with an altar but no Temple yet because it was being built (Ezra 3.1-6), but they were being guided by true prophets of God and were in Jerusalem at the site of the Temple. We have none of that today and to think one can keep the festivals without these conditions is to be guilty of Replacement Theology and the sin of Jeroboam and the Samaritans, to name a few.

We know that there is a Temple, an altar, holy vessels, and a priesthood coming, and the festivals and sacrifices will begin again, but these will be stopped by the False Messiah (Dan 9.27), but that will only be for the last three and a half years of the Birth-pains. When Yeshua returns, Ezekiel’s Temple will be built and the Lord will put his name on that place and the festivals will be reinstituted again in their fullness (Ezek 40-48). Zech 14.16-18 says that any nation that does not come to Jerusalem to worship at Sukkot will be judged. Again, these nations will need to come to the Temple in Jerusalem, not anywhere else.

Today, you cannot keep the festivals outside of Jerusalem because there is no Temple, functioning priesthood, or holy things. The environment that is needed for man to meet with God has to have a certain level of kedusha (we will define what that is coming up). The land of Israel did not have the kedusha by itself for God to be in their midst, why do people think their city or campground in America (or wherever) has that kedusha? It has even less kedusha than the land of Israel. That is why God made a place of kedusha called the Mishkan, and eventually, the Beit Ha Mikdash, meaning “the house of kedusha” or what we call “the Temple.”

But, that is not to say that we can’t be aware of each festival and what day of the year each one falls on according to the biblical religious calendar. We are to be watchful and aware of the times and seasons so that the Day of the Lord does not come upon us like a thief in the night (1 Thes 5.1-5). We should know the phrases, themes, concepts, and, idioms of each festival and how they fit into the Scripture and the plan of God. We should know and understand the Temple services associated with each festival and what was done. It would be right and appropriate to gather at each festival to study these things, but it should be emphasized that we are not “keeping” the festival nor should we judge others who don’t wish to do so.

The key issue here is obedience to what the Lord has said concerning these festivals and how to keep them. Can we keep and observe these things according to the pattern God has laid down in the Torah by doing certain things, at certain times, by certain people, at certain places that God has commanded? No, but the heart of the matter is this. People not only can’t keep the festivals today, it is impossible, and it has everything to do with a concept called “Kedusha.” The definition of kedusha is “to designate or set apart for the service of God by formal, legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of periods of time are marked by limits on man’s activities of work and construction” (see the book, “The Temple” by Joshua Berman). People think they can keep the festivals today because they have been taught incorrectly about this, or follow Jewish tradition, or these concepts are just unknown to them.

We have only touched on the festivals, but what about the Shemitah and the Yovel (Jubilee)? Those are centered around the fall festivals. If you are keeping the festivals inside the land or outside the land, are you keeping the Yovel and returning your houses and land to the original owner after seven shemitahs or every fifty years? We don’t think so because you can’t keep them today, and it is the same with the festivals.  Orthodox Jews have said if the Temple, its services, the altar, along with a functioning priesthood, started again in Jerusalem they would have to reexamine Judaism because what they are doing now is not according to the teachings of Moses, and they would have to make massive changes.

Hopefully, we have presented some new things for you to consider on this issue, and how you can apply them in your life.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, Questions, The Festivals of the Lord, The Temple, Tying into the New Testament

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