Home » Bible Interpretation » Jesus, John, Philip, Polycarp, and others Celebrated Passover and the Feasts: Why Don’t We?
Jesus, John, Philip, Polycarp, and others Celebrated Passover and the Feasts: Why Don’t We?

Jesus, John, Philip, Polycarp, and others Celebrated Passover and the Feasts: Why Don’t We?

Jesus, John, Philip, Polycarp, and others celebrated Passover and the feasts. So, should I, a gentile, also celebrate them? After all, if Jesus said, that settles it,  and I believe it!”  The funny thing is that even though Yeshua said that he did not come to do away with the Torah and the Prophets (A.K.A. the Old Testament) and that heaven and earth would have to pass away before the tiniest part of the Torah would pass  (Mat 5:17) away many people in the church some how still explain it away. Even when Yeshua gave a warning that those who teach men to not observe the Torah would be the least in the kingdom we so often explain it away. The excuses are generally that Yeshua fulfilled the Torah, which people assume means that he did away with it and hence gentiles, supposedly, are not expected to keep the Torah.

What baffles me is that keeping the Torah is actually very liberating [“And I will walk at liberty, ​For I seek Your precepts.” (Ps 119:45)] because it is predictable. Paul clarifies that by stating that God is not mocked, what a sows, that he shall also reap (Gal 6:7). The law of sowing and reaping is what is taught throughout the Torah; there is always a consequence for our actions whether good or evil. If we so to righteousness, then we will reap righteousness. If we sow to wickedness, then that is what we will reap. The whole concept is in the Torah.

Concerning the feasts – Yahweh calls them “my feasts” – they aren’t Jewish feasts as so many Christians state; they are God’s feasts!

“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. ​(Lev 23:2)

Strangely enough, this still isn’t enough for many people. I was just speaking with a good friend who argued that the New Testament never tells us to keep them and there is no evidence in the early church of people keeping the feasts. However, the New Testament does give us evidence (emphasis mine).

Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.  And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. ​(Luke 22:7-13)

The celebration of Passover was not done away with after the resurrection either. John, Philip and many others continued to celebrate it on the 14th of the month, accordance with the teachings of Yeshua and the Torah. We read from from Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus (130-196 A.D.) in a letter to Victor and the Roman Church Concerning the Day of Keeping the Passover. (I have highlighted below the important parts).

“As for us, then, we scrupulously observe the exact day, neither adding nor taking away. For in Asia great luminaries have gone to their rest, who shall rise again in the day of the coming of the Lord, when He cometh with glory from heaven and shall raise again all the saints. I speak of Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who is laid to rest at Hierapolis; and his two daughters, who arrived at old age unmarried; his other daughter also, who passed her life under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and reposes at Ephesus; John, moreover, who reclined on the Lord’s bosom, and who became a priest wearing the mitre, and a witness and a teacher-he rests at Ephesus. Then there is Polycarp, both bishop and martyr at Smyrna; and Thraseas from Eumenia, both bishop and martyr, who rests at Smyrna. Why should I speak of Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who rests at Laodicea? of the blessed Papirius, moreover? and of Melito the eunuch, who performed all his actions under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and lies at Sardis, awaiting the visitation from heaven, when he shall rise again from the dead?

These all kept the passover on the fourteenth. day of the month, in accordance with the Gospel, without ever deviating from it, but keeping to the rule of faith.

Moreover I also, Polycrates, who am the least of you all, in accordance with the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have succeeded-seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth, and my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven-I myself, brethren, I say, who am sixty-five years old in the Lord, and have fallen in with the brethren in all parts of the world, and have read through all Holy Scripture, am not frightened at the things which are said to terrify us. For those who are greater than I have said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

For those who are interested in discovering what really happened I suggest you check out this great article from www.cogwriter.com The bottom line is that Yeshua and the disciples, and the early church did in fact keep the Passover. However, “keep” isn’t the right word – they celebrated the day just as God desired them to do and when they did so every year, they remembered Yeshua’s death.


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  1. In the first centuries of the Church, some Christians celebrated the Resurrection of Christ on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. Others celebrated it on the Sunday following that date. Regardless of which date they chose, they usually settled on the date by asking their Jewish neighbors when the 14th of Nisan would be. But in the fourth century, the Jews changed the way they calculated the date of Passover. The change made it possible for the 14th of Nisan to come before the spring equinox. That was a bit of a problem. Christians knew that the Resurrection of Christ had happened after the equinox. Many believed that, to properly honor the date, Pascha should be celebrated after the equinox as well. More important, though, the changes just made the old problem worse. Some Christians celebrated their most important feast on one day, and some on another. Everyone wanted to celebrate together.

  2. http://www.catherinespascha.com/pascha/how-easter-got-its-name/

    Easter is not named for a Mesopotamian goddess named Ishtar. That idea was made up out of whole cloth by one Alexander Hislop, a virulently anti-Catholic minister of the Free Church of Scotland from the early 19th century. He wrote a book in which he sought to prove that the Roman Catholic Church had been a secret pagan society since the time of Constantine.

  3. Yes Douglas, those feasts were not called Jewish feasts but they were feasts that were there so that there would be no mistake as to who the Jewish Messiah was. Jesus Christ met ever single one of those four Spring Feasts in every detail in His first advent. There is no reason to believe that he will not meet every single detail of the three remaining Fall Feast in His second advent.

    I don’t see how anyone can deny that there was a huge dispensation change in God’s program with the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Folks should begin their study of that particular time in Biblical history by asking themselves WHY PAUL. In their pursuit of answering that question through a thorough Bible study they will discover how important it is to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Christians will remain in a state of confusion concerning many doctrines they have been taught by shepherds who bring doctrines taught them in various Christian seminaries. Paul was a unique apostle with a revelation given to him via multiple revelations from the Lord Jesus Christ – revelations hidden from the 12 and the saints of that “kingdom church.” Paul was preaching the “gospel according to the revelation of the mystery” “kept secret” in God’s bosom until it was revealed to Paul. Until Christians grasp that truth they will be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. You cannot deny that Christians are terribly divided on many doctrines and much of that is the result of not recognizing the “right divisions” in the Scriptures. All of the Scriptures are FOR US but not all of the Scriptures are written TOO US.

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  5. Excellent work Doug,I live near Akron ohio and would love to celebrate Sabbath and the Feasts of the Lord.Any suggestions of where and with whom to celebrate with in our area?


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