The Seven Major
Festivals of the New Covenant
Introducing Yahweh's Sacred Appointments
There are seven major annual festivals which are observed by the New Covenant Church of God. They are:
These festivals were originally held by the Israelites in the Old Covenant annually. With the filling up of the Law of Moses, they have come to take new and added meaning in the New Covenant.
(1) The Festival of the Passover of the Lord;
(2) The Festival of Unleavened Bread;
(3) The Festival of Firstfruits;
(4) The Festival of Pentecost;
(5) The Festival of Trumpets;
(6) The Festival of the Day of Atonement;
(7) The Festival of Tabernacles.
1. The Festival of the Passover of Yahweh
This feast was a type of the death of Christ, His sacrifice, and His precious blood. As the children of Israel were delivered from the destroying angel in Egypt by having the blood of the paschal lamb sprinkled on their doorposts, so are the saints delivered from spiritual death and ushered into eternal life by the spilt blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary.
2. The Festival of Unleavened Bread
When Jesus provided deliverance from sin by His blood, God immediately provided a covering for our sins, enabling us to be accepted by Him.
Leaven in the Old Covenant was a type of sin (not to be confused with the leaven of the New Covenant which Jesus likens to the Kingdom of Heaven). The eating of unleavened bread therefore represented pardon from sin. Under the New Covenant, leavened bread is used because God has provided justification. Instead of sin, fault and failure God sees, through the covering He provided, holiness, blamelessness and perfection. Those who choose rebellion and idolatry voluntarily move out from under His covering whereas those who choose obedience voluntarily stay under His covering because they choose to love and serve the Lord above self and above the desire to sin:
3. The Festival of Firstfruits
"With one sacrifice, then, He has made perfect for ever those who are purified from sin. And the Holy Spirit also gives us his witness. First he says: 'This covenant I will make with them in the days to come,' says the Lord: 'I will put my laws in their hearts and write them on their minds.' And then He says: 'I will not remember their sins and evil deeds any longer.'" (Heb.10:14-17, TEV).
The Festival of Firstfruits represents the resurrection of the Saviour and His life and marks the passage of the children of Israel across the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) in one of the major steps toward the Promised Land. It also represents baptism.
4. The Festival of Pentecost
The coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was not just a coincidence but was ordained before the foundation of the world. The word "pentecost" literally means "50" and took place 50 days after Passover. It was also the day that Israel was given the Ten Commandments.
Something special occurred on this day. Whereas previous to this time the first disciples were individuals with independent ideas and goals, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in fire they were bound together as a true spiritual family or Church. Without an anointing of the Holy Spirit the Church is not one Body but lots of different individuals with different agendas. Therefore New Covenant Christians celebrate the Spirit that first bound them together and seek for its continual renewal. Without that renewal, the carnal man grows in power, the Church is weakened, and is sometimes overwhelmed.
Though we are free from sin in God's eyes if we accept the blood of Christ and truly seek to do His will in all things, yet under the covering sin still lurks, like leaven. The Body is not, therefore, perfect, and at Pentecost we remember that there is always an enemy within seeking our destruction.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the only way that sinful nature can be contained and eventually purged out through the process of sanctification.
Therefore at Pentecost we remember the necessity of constantly seeking the Holy Spirit. "Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the (Holy) Spirit" (1 Thess.5:19, Amp.V).
5. The Festival of Trumpets
After the Festival of Pentecost was the Festival of Trumpets where the people met to herald the sound. These trumpets announce the second coming of the Messiah. For New Covenant Christians this is also a call to missionary work, to tell the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ before He comes back! It is the time of the year that the New Covenant Church spends alot of time praying for and organizing missions so that missionaries can be sent out at home and "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
6. The Day of Atonement
The Festival of Atonement was a reminder that Israel's probation had expired and that their covering must be renewed. It was the time for the annual sacrifice for sin. It was the time when God reviewed all the charges against man each year and he stood hopeless and helpless before the all-seeing eye of God.
For this reason, man was given certain guidelines based on complete obedience so that he would earn a reprieve during this time of exposure. This annual offering of sin could never make people perfect, but would give them another year of probation (Lev.23:27; Luke 1:8-12).
This festival is also known as the Day of Judgment in the New Covenant Church. Once a year every member of the Church is weighed in the temple for his or her stewardship to the covenants he or she has taken. It is also called the Day of Repentance. Jesus, our propriation for sin, gives us an eternal covering, which is not just renewed but is an everlasting covering. Those who sin remove themselves from this covering; and just as under the Old Covenant there was a path of repentance, so there is under the New. "But if we confess our sins to Him; he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. (And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.)" (1 John 1:9, TLB). Therefore on this day every New Covenant Christian critically examines himself in the light of the covenants. If a fault is found with him, and he repents, then he is cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and his covenants are renewed.
Afterwards a celebration is held thanking God for the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. This festival normally takes place at the end of the temple year, which is often in late June or early July.
7. The Festival of Tabernacles
The desire of God is that we live with Him for ever and ever. This festival was a totally joyous celebration. On the first day, the people were to build shelters of boughs of fruit trees laden with fruit, palm fronds, and the boughs of leafy trees, whilst rejoicing before the Lord their God. These were to be the shelters where God would dwell with them.
We have the assurance that we are covered through God's grace and that He doesn't see our sin, our faults or failures, but sees us exactly as Jesus is -- holy, faultless and unreproveable (Col.1:22). We can rest in His finished work. Our confidence in the completeness of His perfect plan will get us ready for that great day when He returns to receive us to Himself. It is our hope of the New Jerusalem -- Zion.
This is sometimes called the Festival of Zion by New Covenant Christians. Members of the whole Church are called to a week of celebrations in the various Firstborn or Zionic Communities established around the world or to other gathering places.
These, then, are the seven major festivals of the New Covenant Church of God. They are not observed legalistically -- as a condition of being made right before God as they were in the Old Covenant -- but in obedience and as an expression of thanksgiving and to mark the changing seasons with rehearsals of the great eternal truths of the Gospel. Getting into the rhythm of these festivals has been a great challenge to the saints who are continually surrounded by the world's traditions.
May you be blessed by the spirit of these occasions and come to enjoy and better understand the great doctrinal truths they are meant to convey.
This page was created on 17 April 1998
Last updated on 12 November 2007
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