Festivals In Biblical Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

The Meaning of Feasts In the Biblical Tradition

The feasts of Israelite and Jewish worship, like those in other religious traditions, were occasions on which worshipers might transcend the shortcomings of ordinary life. These three entries explain how festivals served as "windows" into a higher order of hope and positive values. In Israel the agricultural feasts took on added meaning as celebrations of the Lord's historic acts of blessing and deliverance and as tokens of the covenant.


  1. An Introduction to Jewish Feasts
  2. The Purpose of Jewish Feasts
  3. The Character of Jewish Feasts

Festivals of Israel

The following eight entries reveal how the observance of the sacred seasons and Jewish religious festivals constituted a significant aspect of the Hebrew religion. These holy days and sacred seasons were decreed by God as his gifts to Israel. God purposed to preserve by them a remembrance of such sacred events as their divine election and deliverance (the Passover celebration), their sojourn in the wilderness (Feast of Tabernacles), their constant dependence on him for all temporal blessings and prosperity (Pentecost), their preservation from Persia (Feast of Purim), and their need of cleansing and forgiveness (Day of Atonement). Many other spiritual lessons and blessings were also to be derived from the numerous festivals and holy days such as the Sabbath, new moons, Year of Jubilee, and the like. Hence, the sacred seasons were based in large measure on particular significant historical events related to the national or religious life of Israel. Furthermore, like the temple and the Scriptures, the national religious festivals were important bonds of spiritual and national unity for the Hebrew people.


  1. Sabbath and Sabbatical Seasons
  2. Feast of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread
  3. Feast of Pentecost
  4. Feast of Tabernacles
  5. Rosh Hashanah and the Feast of Trumpets
  6. Day of Atonement
  7. Postexilic Festivals
  8. Solemn Assembly

Biblical Foundations of Christian Festivals

Christians, like the Jews, have developed a calendar of feasts to celebrate God's great acts of salvation. As explained in the following nine entries, these feasts are organized especially around the birth of Christ (Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany) and around his death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost). Increasingly, churches are recovering these feasts as principal acts of worship in recognition of their relationship to the biblical events of salvation.


  1. Background to the Christian Festivals
  2. The Lord’s Day (Sunday) Biblical
  3. Advent (Biblical)
  4. Christmas (Biblical)
  5. Epiphany and After (Biblical)
  6. Lent (Biblical)
  7. Holy Week (Biblical)
  8. Easter (Pascha) to Pentecost (Biblical)
  9. Season After Pentecost (Biblical)