Christian Pilgrim


7. Sabbaths and Holy Days

Old Testament Festival Days:

From Leviticus 23 we see that:

v.2 - all these festivals are "holy convocations," i.e. ordinarily, no work is to be done on them. This not working is of two distinct types" "NO WORK," and the less strict "NO SERVILE WORK":

(1.) v.3 - Sabbath - this is a "Sabbath of rest," NO WORK shall be done, it is a "holy convocation." In Old Testament times, this was the seventh day of the week, but now after Christ has come, it is the first day of the week. However, the injunction to do "NO WORK" still continues, as the fourth Commandment is still in existence, only the day has changed.

(2.) vv.4-8 - Passover - This starts at even between 14th and 15th Nisan (the first month of the Jewish year), for seven days. 15th Nisan is the first day of the "Feast of Unleavened Bread." The first and last days are "holy convocations" and NO SERVILE WORK is to be done.

(3.) vv.9-22 - Firstfruits - After the first sheaf is waved before the Lord, we must then count seven weeks to the festival of Firstfruits ("Pentecost"). This is a "holy convocation" and NO SERVILE WORK is to be done. This is equivalent to the feast of "Harvest" in Exodus 23:16.

(4.) vv.23-25 - Day of Trumpets - This is the first day of the seventh month. A "holy convocation," NO SERVILE WORK is to be done.

(5.) vv.26-32 - Day of Atonement - This is the tenth day of the seventh month. A "holy convocation," NO WORK is to be done, it shall be a "Sabbath of rest" (cf. "Sabbath"). It is held from even on the ninth day of the month to even on the tenth.

(6.) vv.33-36 - Feast of Tabernacles - This is on the 15th day of the seventh month for seven days. This is equivalent to the "Feast of Ingathering" in Exodus 23:16. The first and eighth days are "holy convocations," NO SERVILE WORK is to be done.

Note in all this that the only extra Sabbath (over and above the weekly Sabbath) on which NO WORK at all was to be done,  was the Day of Atonement. This has now been done away with since Christ has come, as He is the true atonement for His people before God the Father in heaven. Also see Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7. 

All other holy days in the Old Testament require doing NO SERVILE WORK, which had a less strict application, c.f. Numbers 8:25,26 - When the Levites reached the age of 50, they continued to "minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge," but they "did no service," i.e. "no servile work." Note that Deuteronomy 16:8 refers to the last day of Passover as one in which "no work" was to be done, but this can be interpreted by clearer passages in Scripture (i.e. Leviticus 23:8) as "no servile work".

Today's Festival days condemned:

Jeremiah 10:1-4 - "Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not."

Proverbs 15:27 - "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live."