Scripture reveals in many ways that feasts to the Lord were an important part of Israel’s worship and service to the Lord. Moreover, it also teaches that their importance will extend far beyond just Israel in the future.
This article presents some biblical aspects of the importance of feasts to the Lord.
An Explicitly Stated Purpose for the Exodus
Prior to the Exodus, God directed Moses and Aaron repeatedly to confront Pharaoh with His demand that he let His people go to hold a feast to Him in the wilderness:
Exodus 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
Exodus 10:9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.
The First Occasion of Idolatrous Corruption of Corporate Worship in a Feast
Exodus 32 records at length that the people engaged in idolatrous corporate worship on the first occasion that purportedly was supposed to have been corporate worship in a feast to the Lord. A careful treatment of the dark record of this corruption of what should have been a feast to the Lord points to the importance of the proper observance of feasts that were to the Lord.
Commanded Occasions of National Worship with Music
God commanded Israel to observe three yearly feasts to Him as special occasions of worshiping Him corporately as a nation:
Exodus 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Nahum 1:15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
Divinely Inspired Songs for Ascending to Jerusalem for the Feasts
God gave Israel a special collection of Psalms that they were to use when they ascended to Jerusalem to celebrate their feasts to the Lord: Psalms 120-134. His doing so testifies to the special importance of these feasts to the Lord.
An Element of Continuity in Israel’s Worship Throughout Much of Its History
By recording that the Israelites will come to the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate solemn feasts to the Lord, Scripture reveals that feasts to the Lord will in that day have been one element of continuity in Israel’s worship of Him throughout much of its history:
Ezekiel 46:9 But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.
Worldwide Obligation to Observe Feasts in the Millennium
In the Millennium, God will require all the nations of the world to come up to Jerusalem yearly to worship Him by celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles:
Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.