The Apostle Paul and the Festivals of God

Some biblical scholars have tried to argue that the Apostle Paul (Sha’ul) only attended Pentecost (Shavuot) because that was where the crowd was so he could preach the Good News, and that this was the ONLY festival he attended! (This would also imply a degree of duplicity in his actions as well).

In other words some Christian theologians try to argue that after his Damascus Road experience, the Apostle Paul no longer observed the Jewish festivals and the ‘trio’ listed in Colossians 2:16-17.

I have listed many of the ways in which the Apostle Paul demonstrated that he remained a practicing orthodox Jew after his Damascus road experience in my articles ‘Siblings of the King: Living in the Will of the Father’ and ‘Living the Way: The Path of the Circumcised Heart’. For the details read these articles at www.circumcisedheart.info

However, as I have just stated, some scholars continue to read Col 2:16-17 back to front and believe that Paul was exhorting the Gentile followers of Yeshua NOT to keep the ‘trio’!

So here is a short, non-exhaustive list of Paul’s keeping the ‘trio’ (as recorded in the NT):

Paul observed and/or supported many of the Feasts, New Moons such as Yom Teruah (- only a few days away! – writing on the 13th Sept 2012) and the Sabbath(s), either by a direct reference to it; or by attending the festival or making some supportive implication or reference to it:

For some examples see:
Shabbat: Acts 13:14-16; Acts 18:4; 4:16 – Paul imitated Yeshua (1 Cor 11:1)
Pesach (Passover) – 1 Cor 5:7; Acts 27:9
Festival of Unleavened Bread – Acts 20:6
Shavuot (Pentecost) – 1 Cor 16:8; Acts 20:16
Yom Teruah – 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16 (New Moon Day, Rosh HaShannah)
Yom Kippur – Acts 27:9 (the Fast Day)
Sukkot – Acts 18:21

While this list does not include all 7 ‘Feast’ days, as they are grouped into 3 (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot), with the first and last being week long and including the others, attendance at Sukkot would by inference assume attendance at Simchat Torah (the Joy of Torah celebration) for example.

As Shaul/Paul said we should be imitators of him, as he was of Yeshua – 1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thess 1:6; 1 Thess 2:4; I would suggest we should consider the blessings of these Festivals of YHVH.

If the Apostle Paul only attended these festivals to to evangelize, should we do the same, should we also engage in such duplicitous and dishonest expediency? No! I don’t believe Paul/Shaul was a hypocrite. Rather he was a Torah observant Jew!

Thus, I think the evidence most strongly indicates that, as he himself declared, he observed the ‘trio’ and hoped Gentile followers would do likewise and imitate him, and not allow the ‘judgment’ and ridicule of their pagan neighbours to stop them embracing these great indicators of even greater feasts in the Coming Age!

For details see my Colossians 2 and the Sabbath’ article at www.circumcisedheart.info

Our next Podcast will touch on this topic – click follow to receive it automatically.

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6 thoughts on “The Apostle Paul and the Festivals of God

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