The Lord required many feasts of Israel. He lists them in this chapter. The appointed feasts are the Sabbath, The Passover, The Feast of the Firstfruits, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths. The Sabbath is described in verse 3,
“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.”
God describes each of the feasts as a holy convocation, a holy gathering of the people before the Lord. While the feasts are each considered important, and described as serious, they are also festivals, a coming together of people to worship the Lord. They are important and joyful. Even the feasts which made the people look into themselves and feel the regret of sin resolved in joy of the greatness and goodness of God.
Under the New Covenant the feasts are no longer appointed days. We don’t have to have rituals that shadow the Kingdom of Heaven, we live in the Kingdom of Heaven through the grace of Christ. There is no longer just one appointed day of rest, today is the day to enter God’s rest. Hebrews 4:4-10 reads,
“For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”
Each of the appointed feasts is a hint of the Kingdom of God. Since we have Jesus we don’t have to imagine His Kingdom, we live in it, we are a part of it. It is no longer a requirement to go through the rituals of the feasts. As we read in Hebrews, we live in God’s rest so we don’t have to take one day a week to rest.
The Passover was lived out for us in Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Feast of the First Fruits is demonstrated in our gratitude to God as we live as living sacrifices. We honor the Word of God every day as we live under Jesus’ grace rather than the law of the Torah instead of celebrating the Torah once a year. The feast of trumpets marks a time of repentance and contemplation before The Day of Atonement. Under the New Covenant, we repented and accepted Christ for the atonement of our sins. The Festival of the Booths reminded Israel of the tents they lived in in the wilderness, it reminds us that we live in the temporary dwellings of our bodies, that our eternal home is spiritual and in the Kingdom of God.
The Old Covenant was an invitation to a relationship with God, it was a glimpse of the kingdom of Heaven. In the New Covenant we live in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are not merely subjects of His Kingdom, we are royalty in the kingdom, children of the King and priests in His service. Verses 37-38 read,
“These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, 38 besides the Lord's Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord”
There are no longer appointed days for being called together to assemble before God. We don’t wait for Saturday, we don’t wait for Passover. When do we worship? When do we enter His rest? When do we repent, atone, thank Him, and remember Him? When do we turn to Him and accept His grace and mercy? Today is the day. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says,
“For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
The special days are good to remind us of who God is. They are wonderful to remember all The Lord has done for us. But we remember every day. We celebrate every day. We live in the Kingdom of Heaven now and forever, not someday.