Continued from Part One …

But God didn’t just institute three main festivals—Passover/Unleavened Bread, Weeks and Tabernacles—he gave Moses instructions for two others: The Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.

Now there is no biblical record stating the purpose of the Feast of Trumpets. Despite that, it has been linked with the beginning of the civil year. The Day of Atonement, however, was instituted to resolve deficiencies in the sacrificial system. Because a priest could hardly offer a perfect sacrifice on behalf of someone else, if he himself was a sinner.

The Day of Atonement, then, would make a very fitting festival to celebrate the Second Coming of Christ. Because even though we don’t know when the Second Coming will be, the theme of the festival would be about the culmination of everything that God has done to absolve the people from their sins, and to celebrate God’s people being made worthy to live in his presence.

Then, if the Feast of Tabernacles, with the Birth of Jesus, was used to mark the beginning of the Christian calendar, the Day of Atonement would be the appropriate festival to end it.

The church’s calendar would then look something this:

The Feast of Tabernacles, with the Birth of Jesus
The Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread, with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus
The Feast of Pentecost, with the Gift of the Holy Spirit
The Day of Atonement, with the Second Coming of Christ

Now having said all that, the question remains, “How do we fix the dates?” After all, the Old Testament Hebrew calendar was based on a lunar year, that is not even used in Israel today. Tabernacles was to begin on the 15th day of the seventh month; Passover/Unleavened Bread on the 14th day of the first month; Pentecost seven weeks later; and Atonement on the 10th day of the seventh month.

Furthermore, most of the feasts were intended to begin and end with a Sabbath feast, and even the early Christian changed their weekly celebrations from the Sabbath to a Sunday.

Of course, the simplest way would be to use the current, and almost universally used (Gregorian) calendar. This would allow the festivals to be fixed in time and not to float all over the place, as is the current practice. So, for example, if Passover was fixed as the last Sunday in March (and there was a slight adjustment for the nearest Sundays), then the church’s calendar could look something like this:

2nd Sunday in September
The Feast of Tabernacles, with the Birth of Jesus

Last Sunday in March
The Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread, with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus

2nd Sunday in May
The Feast of Weeks, with the Giving of the Holy Spirit

1st Sunday in September
The Day of Atonement, with the Second Coming of Christ

Now the advantages of adopting a calendar like this are numerous. If accepted by the church, it would regularise the Christian calendar. It would also distance the church from the current inappropriate meanings and celebrations that have become attached to both Christmas and Easter. It would put the church’s year into perspective, with its logical movement from birth to second coming. It would also raise the profile of the giving of the Holy Spirit and the Second Coming of Christ.

Now, obviously a radical concept like this is not likely to get instant (or even universal) approval. Despite that, at some stage, the church does need to address the problems associated with the current calendar.

The advantage of my suggestion, however, is that it reinstates the festivals that God was so keen for his people to celebrate. And, at the same time, it takes seriously the need to celebrate the birth, death, resurrection, and Second Coming of Christ, with the giving of the Holy Spirit. And in that sense, I hope. people will see it as a more biblical solution to the current dilemma.

Posted: 7th January 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis