Christian observances of Jewish holidays

Christian observance of Jewish holidays (referred to as "God's holy days" or the "Feasts of the Lord" in the Book of Leviticus, chapter 23) is a practice evidenced since the time of Christ. Specific practices vary among denominations: these holidays may be honored in their original form in recognition of Christianity's Jewish roots, or altered to suit Christian theology. Symbolic and thematic features of Jewish services are commonly interpreted in a Christian light: for example, the Paschal Lamb of the Passover Seder being viewed as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice. As a group these Christians form non-denominational alliances such as Christians for Israel and Christians United for Israel; they also form a global, cross-denominational movement called Hebrew Roots or Messianic Judaism.

A small number of Christian denominations — including the Assemblies of Yahweh, Messianic Jews, some congregations of the Church of God (Seventh Day), the World Mission Society Church of God, Hebrew Roots, as well as a variety of Church of God groups instruct their members to observe the religious holidays described in the Tanakh, but interpreted, they believe, in the light of the New Testament. Most of these denominations also eschew the observance of Christmas and Easter, believing them to be later, pagan corruptions.

Most point to the tradition that Jesus' parents kept God's holy days,[1] that Jesus himself kept the God's holy days during his ministry,[2] and that the Apostles observed the same feasts after they were called "Christians".[3] The Book of Acts chapter 2 records that the start of the Christian Church began on a biblical feast day: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."

Many of these Christians believe that the intended purpose of all of the biblical holy days is to foreshadow or point to the identity of the Messiah, citing that Paul the Apostle confirms this view by linking Jesus' sacrifice to the fulfilment of the Jewish feast of Passover.[4] Jesus was not only declared the "Lamb of God" by John the Baptist,[5] a reference to the Passover lamb, but was also presented as the Lamb in Jerusalem on 10 Nisan, then four days later crucified on precisely the day Jews brought the Passover sacrifice, 14 Nisan.

Christian communion was instituted on the night of the Passover Seder which Jesus and the apostles were celebrating. The transfiguration occurred while Jesus, Peter, James and John were celebrating the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles or Booths).[6] Prominent Protestant leaders such as Chuck Missler, Sid Roth, and John Hagee advocate the return to the 1st-century walk of faith and Christianity's connection to its Hebrew roots.

Most Christians traditionally do not celebrate Passover, regarding it as superseded by Easter and the Passover lamb as supplanted by the Eucharist. But there are Christian groups, the Assemblies of Yahweh, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Roots, and some congregations of the Church of God (Seventh Day), that celebrate some parts of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The main Christian view seems to present the Passover meal, which was held on the night before Jesus died, also named Last Supper, as the Evening of New Covenant, and Christians generally agree that was on Thursday being observed at Church.[clarification needed] The Christian view also seems to present the Day of First Fruit, which was held according to Jewish law on the day after Saturday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as Resurrection Sunday (also known as Easter). Christian Passover is a religious observance celebrated by a small number of 1st century believers instead of, or alongside, the more common Christian holy day and festival of Easter. The redemption from the bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Christ is celebrated, a parallel of the Jewish Passover's celebration of redemption from bondage in the land of Egypt.[7]

Among congregations of the "Churches of God", Passover (also referred to as "New Testament Passover") is considered a time of deep spiritual introspection, observed by an annual Eucharist, followed by ceremonial foot washing, based on Christ's example in John 13. It is held that work is permissible on Passover day following the memorial service. This is followed by a seven-day observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread, prior to which all leavening agents are removed from one's house and property, including bread products made with yeast, sodium bicarbonate or baking powder. These are believed to symbolize sin during this time period. Members also eat unleavened bread, which is believed to be a spiritual picture of living a Christlike life by partaking of the "true Bread of life" and avoiding sin. The first and last days are observed as holy days, with a congregational meeting and meal of unleavened food. Traditionally, there is also the observance of a special meal the evening before the first day, referred to as the "Night To Be Much Observed", or the "Night To Be Much Remembered" held as a special memorial of the Exodus from Egypt and believed to picture deliverance from one's past sinful lives.[8]

This page was last edited on 24 June 2018, at 22:01 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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