Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
"Your Feast Days My Soul Hates!" says YEHOVAH GOD Almighty!
But why would YEHOVAH God say such a thing? Why would He tell His people Israel that He abhors and abominates the way that they observe His own holy days? Is there more to this enigmatic prophecy than meets the eye at first glance? And why does YEHOVAH God say He hates the sacrifices of His Israelite people? Could YOU be observing YEHOVAH's holy days in a way that He loathes and detests?
by HOIM Staff
The prophet Isaiah quotes YEHOVAH God as saying, "Stop bringing meaningless offerings! New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations -- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moons, festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen" (Isaiah 1:13-115, NIV).
There is something about the way most of YEHOVAH's people, who claim to celebrate His holy days, do it that is not pleasing in the sight of YEHOVAH God. What is it? YEHOVAH calls them "evil assemblies," and says that they are a "burden" to Him, and He is weary of bearing them. He says that His very "SOUL" HATES THEM!
The rest of this chapter points out that there is something hypocritical and wicked about the way many of YEHOVAH's people Israel conduct their lives, and then celebrate His holy festivals. YEHOVAH thunders,
"Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.' For the mouth of the LORD has spoken" (Isaiah 1:15-20).
Does YEHOVAH God Hate His Own Holy Days?
Just what it is that YEHOVAH God abhors about the way His people Israel celebrate His holy days? Their lives are filled with evil deeds. Their hands are bloody with crimes. They don't care about the needs of the innocent, the poor, the downtrodden, the fatherless and widows. YEHOVAH says their sins are like scarlet -- deep red and obvious. It seems so strange -- people just take for granted that they are righteous in YEHOVAH's sight, and assume that they are observing His holy days properly.
Many people just assume they have a good relationship with YEHOVAH God, but all the time they are living in a dreamland -- a spiritual fantasy-land of make-believe.
In the last chapter of Isaiah's prophecy, YEHOVAH explains further about what He hates concerning the offerings and celebrations of His people -- notice!
"But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig's blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have CHOSEN THEIR OWN WAYS, and their souls delight in their ABOMINATIONS" (Isaiah 66:3).
What is YEHOVAH God saying here? It is simple. His Israelite people have PERVERTED HIS TRUTH, and corrupted His laws, and their religious practices are closely akin to PAGANISM -- whether they know or realize it or not! Their worship practices are related to idolatry. They have chosen their OWN ways -- instead of YEHOVAH's clear commandments. And the result is that they delight in pagan "ABOMINATIONS," and do things that YEHOVAH hates and detests!
This is very serious in YEHOVAH's sight -- not something to take lightly, or to brush off with nary a thought. YEHOVAH God says: "So I also will choose HARSH treatment for them and will bring upon them WHAT THEY DREAD" (v. 4). What most religious people of the Israelite nations dread is suffering the pangs and sorrows and anguish of the YEHOVAH's punishments -- and unless they repent, that is exactly what they are going to have to experience with unmitigated horror and undiminished pain and agony -- the results of their callous disregard of His divine laws and commandments!
"But how have we disobeyed God?" many wonder, and, "How is it that the way we observe the annual holy days is wrong and displeasing to God?"
The Introduction of Pagan Customs
In chapter 65 of Isaiah, YEHOVAH God thunders,
"All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations --- a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick [in other words, following PAGAN customs, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and various "masses" which are pagan in origin!]; who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil [staying up lake to wait for "Santa Claus to come down the chimney!]; who eat the flesh of pigs [in case you didn't know it, eating the meat of pork is an abomination in YEHOVAH's sight -- it is unclean, unhealthful, and polluted -- see Leviticus 11], and whose pots hold broth of unclean meat; who say, 'Keep away; don't come near me, for I am too sacred for you!' Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day" (Isaiah 65:2-5).
Many Israelite people think they can observe the festivals of Christmas and Easter, and that doing so glorifies YEHOVAH God. They think they can have an "Easter ham" dinner, and YEHOVAH doesn't care one way or the other. But such is not the case. History shows that these festivals stem from ancient pagan religions, and were incorporated into an apostate Church centuries after the days of the apostles. The Word of YEHOVAH God nowhere sanctions the observance of these pagan holidays, and instead condemns everything to do with paganism! Yeshua the Messiah was born nowhere near December 25, but that day is the "birthday" of invictus sol, the "unconquerable sun" god! It was widely observed by the pagan Romans in the centuries after the Messiah as the birthday of "Mithra," the sun god.
A pagan festival was also held at that time called the Saturnalia, a time of feasting and partying, drinking, mistletoe, eggnog, exchanging of gifts, and decorating of trees -- a drunken pagan debauch! But search as you may, you will find no mention of "Christmas" in the Bible, and no command or example of its observance by early true Israelite Christians!
It should be clear to everyone that YEHOVAH God hates paganism, and pagan practices. But why does YEHOVAH even say He hates the way many of His people Israel observe His own holy days?
The Holy Days of YEHOVAH God Established
Let's be honest. The journey from error to truth is not an easy one -- it is arduous, beset by pitfalls and dangers. To leave the ways of paganism and to embrace the truths of YEHOVAH God, including observance of His holy days as they are outlined in the Bible, is not easy. Yet, YEHOVAH God Almighty commands, "These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim AT THEIR APPOINTED TIMES. The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work...And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work" (Leviticus 23:4-8).
For thousands of years, the Jews have celebrated the Passover, keeping a family feast after sunset, on the fifteenth of Nisan or Abib -- called the Passover seder. It is a highly ritualistic meal, commemorating the deliverance of YEHOVAH's people out of Egypt and spiritual bondage. Yeshua the Messiah observed this holy day all his life, from childhood, setting us an example (Luke 2:41-48; I Peter 2:21; I John 2:6). Yeshua added two new elements of understanding to the traditional Passover meal, when he took the unleavened bread, broke it, and said it represented his body, and the wine and said it represented his blood shed for our sins (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20). These new symbols were to become part of the traditional Passover seder. They add tremendous meaning to the whole evening, pointing to the supreme sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah for our sins, as he was typified by the slain Passover lambs for thousands of years.
The apostle Paul plainly says true Israelite Christians are to celebrate this holy festival, the Passover. He wrote to the Church at Corinth, saying, "For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us KEEP THE FESTIVAL, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth" (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
The Passover, held at the night portion of Nisan 15, is a sacred, holy dinner -- a commanded observation. It is the "night to be much observed" (Exodus 12:42), "that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations" (same verse). Originally, this was the very night when YEHOVAH God "passed over" the Israelite dwellings, where the blood of the lambs was placed on the door posts, and executed judgments upon the Egyptians, who were not protected by the blood, and who suffered the death of every firstborn in their homes (Exodus 12:6-13). This day was to be a "memorial," and it was to be observed as a "feast by an ordinance for ever" (Exodus 12:14).
All this seems so perfectly clear and straightforward.
A Corrupted and Perverted Passover
Why, then, do some churches in these End-times who claim to observe YEHOVAH's annual holy days NEGLECT THE PASSOVER COMPLETELY? Some put in its place a strange dinner which they call "the night to be much observed," but which has nothing whatever to do with the Passover! Some claim to observe the Passover a NIGHT EARLIER, at a time when YEHOVAH God NEVER commanded it to be kept -- twenty-four hours earlier, at the beginning of Nisan 14. But that is not and never was the true Passover! They have confused the final supper of the Messiah with his disciples with the true Passover, and thus have corrupted and perverted this holy, sacred Festival of YEHOVAH God!
Not only that, but they do not observe a traditional Passover seder or meal, with the recitation of the history of Israel and its highlights, including the great sacrifice of the Messiah himself. Rather, they observe a severe, austere, serious convocation which in no way resembles a meal, but is much more like a pagan Catholic "mass" -- complete with a tiny "wafer" or piece of unleavened bread, and a tiny vial or glass of wine! The whole event is to be extremely severe, with no smiling, no laughter, no rejoicing, but a solemn, almost excruciating reminder of sins and evil and penitence and remorse, guilt and sadness!
Is that kind of thing the Lord's "Passover"? Do you see how people, and even whole Churches today, have PERVERTED and TWISTED and CORRUPTED this sacred and wonderful Festival of YEHOVAH God, which is meant to be a time of JOY and REJOICING, celebrating DELIVERANCE and LIBERTY THROUGH THE MESSIAH?
No wonder YEHOVAH God Almighty thunders, "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; IT IS INIQUITY, EVEN THE SOLEMN MEETING. YOUR new moons and YOUR appointed feasts MY SOUL HATETH: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them" (Isaiah 1:13-14, KJV).
Notice! YEHOVAH God calls such "meetings" and "assemblies," as some Churches profess to observe the "Passover," by the term "INIQUITY" -- THE VERY MEETING ITSELF! He differentiates these "days" from His own holy days, but saying, pointedly, "YOUR appointed feasts my soul hateth"! Notice! He didn't say, "My feasts," but He said: "YOUR feasts"!
But the Passover isn't the only festival of YEHOVAH God that some modern Churches have perverted and corrupted in their ignorance and superstition. The same truth applies to the next great festival of YEHOVAH, also -- the feast of Pentecost!
The Establishment of Pentecost
Reading in the Jewish Scriptures, called the Tanakh, we find YEHOVAH's people are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, with the first day being an annual Sabbath, as well as the seventh day (Leviticus 23:4-8). During this festival, the priest was to take the first sheaf of the harvest
"...and he shall wave the sheaf before the EVER-LIVING to delight you. The priest shall wave it the day after the Sabbath [Nisan 16]...You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath [Nisan 16] that you bring the Wave-sheaf, SEVEN SABBATHS. They must be COMPLETE. Then AFTER the seventh Sabbath, you shall count [an additional] fifty days, when you shall present a new offering to the EVER-LIVING...Then there shall be made a holy proclamation to the public on that day; it shall be Holy of Holies to you. You shall not do any labouring work. This is an everlasting Institution, in all your dwellings, for your posterity..." (Leviticus 23:11-21, Ferrar Fenton Version).
This was the festival of Pentecost! It was to be observed exactly fifty days AFTER the seventh Sabbath following the First Holy Day; or Sabbath, of the days of Unleavened Bread. YEHOVAH God instructed His people to count fifty days beginning with the day following the seventh Sabbath AFTER the annual Sabbath, which of course, was Nisan 15. Therefore, the count was to begin with Nisan 16. This date could fall on various days of the week, even as Passover itself can fall on different days of the week in the Gregorian calendar we keep today. The Pharisees counted the feast of Pentecost this way, as history clearly shows. Yeshua himself said they did it right -- he acknowledged their authority over such matters (Matthew 23:23), saying that they indeed "sat in Moses' seat" (same verses).
The apostle Paul was a Pharisee since his youth, and he said that he had kept all YEHOVAH's law in a blameless and righteous manner, thus giving credence to the Pharisee's reckoning of Pentecost. Paul's exact words were: "If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; IN REGARD TO THE LAW, A PHARISEE; as for zeal, persecuting the church; AS FOR LEGALISTIC RIGHTEOUSNESS, FAULTLESS" (Philippians 3:4-6).
Unfortunately the Jews have since corrupted YEHOVAH God's true calendar and DO NOT keep Pentecost at the right time! For more information write for our articles entitled, Was the Law Given at Mount Sinai On the Traditional Shavuot?, PENTECOST -- The Untold Story, and The Omer Count and YEHOVAH God's Weekly Cycle,
A Pagan Pentecost, Too!
Why, then, I must ask pointedly -- why do so many modern day remnants of the Church of YEHOVAH God insist on counting Pentecost from the Saturday which falls within or nearest to the Feast of Unleavened Bread in our Gregorian calendar of today, and therefore always observe what they call "Pentecost" on a SUNDAY -- the pagan day of the Sun-god, invictus sol -- the same day as the Catholic "Whitsunday," which is directly counted from EASTER SUNDAY!?? While the gospel accounts clearly show that the Messiah arose from the dead on the first day of the week according to the Jewish reckoning, we cannot know for sure what day of the week, in our Gregorian calendar, that this fell on. However, the day of the resurrection is no where commanded to be observed by YEHOVAH God.
One must wonder -- are these modern "remnants" of the Church of YEHOVAH God stealthily creeping backwards into pagan Easter worship, by beginning with Whitsunday worship? Will they next embrace both Easter in celebration of the risen Messiah and Christmas as his "birthday," even though both of these days stem from ancient pagan mystery religions?
Easter is named for the pagan goddess Astarte, or Ashteroth, whose name Ishtar is pronounced just like the modern "Easter"! She was also known as Venus, Semiramis, and Aphrodite.
Again, let us remember that YEHOVAH God Almighty, the Author of the Holy Scriptures, CONDEMNS PAGAN WORSHIP IN ALL ITS GUISES AND DISGUISES!
To celebrate "Pentecost" by counting from the Sunday after the Saturday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread is nothing more than a PAGANIZED PENTECOST -- as is observing it on Sivan 6 like the Jews do! The Israelites actually arrived at Mount Sinai on Sivan 15 (Exodus 19:1) -- thereby blowing the Sivan 6 date for Shavuot/Pentecost right out of the water!
The Wicked and Pagan Samaritans
The ancient Saddducees, who were apostates and renegades from the truth, although many of them were priests during the time of the Messiah, counted Pentecost from a different day, apparently deriving this practice from the pagan example of the apostate Jeroboam, who led the northern kingdom of Israel into IDOLATRY (I Kings 12:25-33). He inaugurated a pagan feast in the "eighth month," about the time of our modern "Halloween" and "Thanksgiving." The Samaritans, who settled in the land of northern Israel after YEHOVAH God cast the northern kingdom out of His sight, because of their idolatry and sabbath-breaking, followed in the practices of Jeroboam's priests (II Kings 17:24-39).
These people "worshiped the LORD, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their OWN GODS in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the LORD nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the LAWS and commands that the LORD gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel" (II Kings 17:32-34). These people were known in history as the "Samaritans" -- and history shows they counted Pentecost FROM A DIFFERENT DAY! Yet this Scripture shows they did not adhere to the LAWS of YEHOVAH God, which proves conclusively that this counting was PAGAN in origin and CONTRARY to the laws of YEHOVAH God!
Do you follow the Samaritans? Do you follow the Pentecost observance of the Worldwide Church of God, or the Church of God, International, or other off-shoots of modern Babylon? Do you observe, in other words, a "PAGAN PENTECOST"?
Make no mistake about it, my friends! To observe a holy day of YEHOVAH God on the WRONG DAY is an ABOMINATION in the sight of YEHOVAH God! He says, "I cannot stand your New Moon Festivals, your Sabbaths, and your religious gatherings; they are ALL CORRUPTED BY YOUR SINS" (Isaiah 1:13-14, Good News Bible).
Yeshua said of these same Samaritans and their religious practices, "YOU SAMARITANS WORSHIP WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW; we [Judahites] worship what we do know, for SALVATION is from the Jews" (John 4:22). Did you get that? If you follow the SAMARITANS, in their incorrect Pentecost observance, then you are also guilty of worshipping what you do not know or understand!
You are following a "MYSTERY RELIGION" from ancient Babylon!
Believe it or not, you are actually worshipping Satan the devil, who is disguised as "YEHOVAH God," and who is the "god of THIS world" (II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2), and who has "deceived the WHOLE WORLD" (Revelation 12:9). You are following his teaching, his crafty perversion, instead of the truth of YEHOVAH God! Unwittingly, and unknowingly, then, you are WORSHIPPING SATAN and putting him ahead of the truth and the word of the Living GOD of heaven and earth!
The Renegade and Apostate Sadducees
The Sadducees, the apostate priests of Israel, reckoned Pentecost like the Samaritans did. But they were a perverse lot and none of the people of Israel followed them, as Josephus shows clearly in his history of the Jews. The Sadducees were so perverted in their theology that they did not believe in the resurrection, in an afterlife, or even in angels or spirit beings (see Acts 23:6-8). Yeshua was so unimpressed with their theology that he rebuked them severely, saying to them in front of all the people, publicly, "You are in ERROR because YOU DO NOT KNOW THE SCRIPTURES or the power of God" (Matthew 22:23-29).
Yes, my brethren, these things are SERIOUS business! Are you going to follow someone who "knows not the Scriptures nor the power of God"? That's exactly what you are doing, if you follow the PAGAN JEWISH PENTECOST! Are you going to observe this coming year a mass-like, depressing, austere PAGANIZED PASSOVER at a time and in a manner that YEHOVAH God never commanded? If you follow a Church which observes its so-called "Passover" at the beginning of Nisan 14, instead of the full-fledged Passover seder or meal of Nisan 15, then you are once again following someone who "knows not the Scriptures NOR the power of God"!
YEHOVAH God says His soul "HATES" the paganization of His appointed holy days and festivals! YEHOVAH hates the perversion of His wonderful Sabbaths and holy days, and the corrupting influence of paganism wherever it rears it ugly snake-like head!
It is a shame that so many of YEHOVAH's Israelite people are so deceived, and bewitched, and so ignorant -- so trusting of their religious leaders that they will follow them into the jaws of death and the gates of Hell, before they would think of ever questioning them or their teachings!
YEHOVAH God says, as a consequence,
"Bringing oblations is futile, incense is offensive to me. New moon and sabbath, proclaiming of solemnities, assemblies with iniquity, I cannot abide. YOUR new moons and fixed seasons fill me with LOATHING; they are become a burden to me. I cannot endure them. And when you lift up your hands, I will turn my eyes away from you; though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are stained with crime -- WASH YOURSELVES CLEAN; put your evil doings away from my sight. CEASE TO DO EVIL; learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow.
"'Come, let us reach an understanding,' -- says the LORD. Be your sins like crimson, they can turn snow-white; be they red as dyed wool, they can become like fleece.' If, then, you agree and give heed, you will eat the good things of the earth; but if you REFUSE and DISOBEY, you will be DEVOURED [by] the sword. -- For it was the LORD who spoke" (Isaiah 1:13-20, Tanakh).
Isn't It High Time We Clean Up Our Act?
It is high time that we cleanse our hands of all the filth of paganism, all the vile and evil wretchedness of pagan teachings, paganized customs, and pagan practices. It is high time that we turn to the LORD our God, in sincerity and in truth, and worship Him according to HIS WORD and His commandments, faithfully, loyally, and whole-heartedly.
These matters are indeed serious business. As Paul said to the Athenians, "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but NOW he commands all people everywhere to REPENT. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed" (Acts 17:30-31).
Paul also exhorted all of us descendants of Israel: "Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. DO NOT CONFORM ANY LONGER TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2).
As Paul also wrote, "The hour has come for you to WAKE UP FROM YOUR SLUMBER, because our [Israelite] salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:11-12).
"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" (Hebrews 2:1). This is not mere game-playing. This is not just a game of monopoly, or poker, or "trivial pursuit." This is for REAL! This is for ETERNITY in the balance! This is HIGH STAKES! This is for ETERNAL LIFE in YEHOVAH GOD'S KINGDOM!
As Yeshua the Messiah put it so eloquently: "Yet a time is coming and HAS NOW COME when the true [Israelite] worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and TRUTH, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in TRUTH" (John 4:23-24).
This is the truth of YEHOVAH God. And Yeshua himself told us just how important the TRUTH is, for he also said: "Your word is truth" (John 17:17); and: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
Are you "free" yet from the shackles of error and the bondage of sin? Are you "free" yet from false teaching, and corrupt practices and perverted and twisted "holy days"? Have you been "delivered" into the true liberty of the knowledge of the true holy days of YEHOVAH God?
If you value your salvation and eternal life, in the kingdom of YEHOVAH God, then please take these words to heart -- listen, and heed!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
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