There is a time in everyone’s search for truth, when they must decide what to do with the following verses:

Matt 5:18 (KJS) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle [small detail] shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled [brought to perfection].
Matt 5:17 (KJS) Think not that I am come to destroy the law [Torah], or the prophets [what the prophets taught]: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill [bring to perfection].

There are many arguments about whether the Law (Torah) is "done away with" in the Bible believing community.  It is not my intent to review that issue here.  Rather, I address this writing to those who believe that Yahweh’s Torah (guidance, direction, and teaching) is still to be followed; but wonder how to do it in light of the New Covenant in Messiah’s blood which supersedes the animal sacrifices of Torah.

Many of us believe that Yahweh has prevented the rebuilding of his temple on the mount in Jerusalem for over 2000 years now. A temple with its priests and animal sacrifices would be a rejection of and an insult to the atoning sacrifice of Messiah Yahshua.  If the temple and the animal sacrifices in the temple were necessary for worship to Yahweh, would he have prevented all proper worship of him for 2000 years?  I really do not think so.  This, more than anything else, should convince people that Yahshua is the true Messiah.  Only Yahshua’s sacrifice is acceptable for atonement now; and Yahweh desires our faith in that atonement and obedience to his commandments.  And, not because we have to, but because we want to; the motivation of a pure heart to serve Yahweh, our Creator.

Superseding the animal sacrifices and the priestly system that performed and offered those sacrifices, also places the rituals and the ritual objects into disuse.  The Law (Torah) requires a sacrifice for atonement; and indeed, a sacrifice for atonement is available that is now better than having to kill animals and bring them to priests who had to bring them to the altar of the temple.  That covenant through animal blood is now overridden by what the Messiah called "The New Covenant in My Blood" (NIV - Luke 22:20; Heb.12:24).  This is in fact the current New Covenant, not the one in Jeremiah 31, which is yet to happen.  A covenant with no animals, no priestly system, no temple and temple utensils to be used; but direct communication with Yahweh in the name of Yahshua.  This is the better covenant as explained in Hebrews 10:19.

The question still remains: how do we follow the commandments in the Bible concerning the keeping of the appointed times (Leviticus 23), and leave out the animal sacrifices?  What is it that we actually do today?

Before answering the question, let us review Feasts or High Days.

FEAST / Appointed time: as used in Leviticus 23:2

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, [Concerning] the feasts of Yahweh, which ye shall proclaim [to be] holy{set apart} convocations…" (KJV)
"Feasts" here is from the Hebrew "moed" () 4150 - appointed time.

Appointed time:
An appointed time is a specific date, series of days, or counted day which Yahweh requires to be set apart from the ordinary.
As used in Leviticus 23:2 (see above).
The Hebrew word is "miqra" () - an assembly to read, call-out, proclaim.

FEAST / Festival: as used in Exodus 23:14

"Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year."
"Feast" here is from the Hebrew "chag" () 2282 - a festival.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary definition of a festival:
A festival is a time of celebration marked by special observances.
Note: "chag" () is from the Hebrew word "chagag" () 2287 which means to move, march, a procession (also people moving as in a pilgrimage).

The children of Israel were to have festivals (chag) which included  some appointed times (moed)  marked by special observances;  one of which was an assembly (miqra) to read, call-out, and proclaim the word of Yahweh.

Leviticus 23 describes Appointed Times with set-apart assemblies.  The Weekly Sabbath on the seventh day is stated first.  Others are within the three festivals a year (Exodus 23:14), and all are to be "days of ceasing," (no gainful working, occupation).

WEEKLY SABBATH (an Appointed time "Moed") seventh day of each week (Leviticus 23:3)

FESTIVAL ("chag") OF UNLEAVENED BREAD - seven days (Exodus 23:15)

1.) First day,15th Abib (an Appointed time - "Moed")
2.) Last day, 21st Abib (an Appointed time - "Moed")

FESTIVAL ("chag") OF HARVEST (Exodus 23:16) Also called "Weeks" due to the counting.

3.) 50th day (an Appointed time - "Moed") after the first fruits wave sheaf grain offering (Lev. 23: 9-14). Taken to be spring grain, because of Joshua 3:15.


4.) 1st day of seventh month, Ethanim (an Appointed time - "Moed") - TRUMPETS (Yom Teruah - day of sounding: of shofar, voices, etc.)
5.) 10th day of seventh month, Ethanim (an Appointed time - "Moed") - DAY OF ATONEMENT

FESTIVAL ("chag") OF INGATHERING (Exodus 23:16)

TABERNACLES or Booths  - seven days
6.) First day of Tabernacles, 15th day of the seventh month, Ethanim (an Appointed time - "Moed")

LAST GREAT DAY - also called "Closing Assembly"(NIV); "Solemn Assembly" (Hebrew translation).
7.) 22nd day of the seventh month, Ethanim (an Appointed time - "Moed")

Therefore, there are seven "High Days" (Annual Sabbaths - "days of ceasing") in addition to the Weekly seventh day Sabbaths.

Finally, an answer to what to do on these days.

The Sacred Assembly (Lev. 23: 3, 4, 7, 8, 21, 23, 27, 35, 36)
Each of the appointed times, which includes the weekly Sabbath, has a required set-apart assembly.  An assembly is two or more people gathered together for a purpose.  Set-apart means special, not common or average.  To most, this means an assembly of "Saints" (pure ones - from the Hebrew and Greek).  The purpose is to come before Yahweh in worship; to praise him, honor him, ask for forgiveness, and thank him.  Also, to study and receive from him through his Ruach HaKodesh (literally: set-apart breath;  figuratively: Spirit).

a) Praise - Praise in an assembly was through prayer which is responsive (in Hebrew culture).  Typically a leader prays and at times the assembly responds or prays with him at specified times.  Praise can be unique to the group or culture, but should always be with honor.
b.) Honor - Honor and respect are the guides for the formal part of the service; and each assembly should have at least a small opening portion of the service that is formal, and perhaps a small formal closing.  Blowing a shofar is a good way to get everyone’s attention, get them to quiet down, and be silent and respectful to the formal opening part of the service, no matter how small that formal part may be.  Even in a small family-type assembly, a written guide should be created for the formal part of the service.  That way everyone knows what to do or respond, if responsive prayer is used.
c.) Ask for forgiveness - This was done with the sacrificial offerings, but today is from our lips, with a humble heart.  This can be prayed for by the leader.
d.) Thanking Yahweh - This also was done with sacrificial offerings, but today is from our lips, with a humble heart.  This can also be prayed by the leader.
e.) Study - Scripture reading and study should be appropriate to the day on a Festival day; reviewing the meaning of that day, past and future.  On weekly Sabbaths, it could be progressive reading through Scripture with teaching and discussion.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy (kindness), not sacrifice, and acknowledgment (obedience) of [Elohim] rather than burnt offerings.
Psalms 51:16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of [Elohim] are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart

Hosea 14:2 Take with you words, and turn to {Yahweh}: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive [us] graciously: so will we render the calves [offerings] of our lips.

We know that Yahshua’s perfect sacrifice has superseded the need for animal sacrifices, (one proof being the absence of the temple).  We should study each of these sacrifices (below), so that our prayers, that are now the offerings "of our lips," incorporate the meaning and purpose of those sacrifices.

1.) SIN OFFERING - Was required for atonement of sin. A bull for high priest and congregation; male goat for a leader; female lamb or goat for common person; pigeon or dove for poor; tenth of ephah of fine flour for very poor.

2.) GUILT OFFERING - Was necessary for atonement of sin requiring restitution or cleansing from defilement.  Animal was a ram or lamb.

3.) BURNT OFFERING - For atonement, worship, devotion, commitment. All sin offerings, including those of flour, were burnt offerings.  They were to have no defect and were burned completely.

4.) FELLOWSHIP OFFERING - A voluntary offering for worship, thanksgiving, and fellowship with Yahweh.  The only offering where part was eaten by the offerer.  The priest also ate some in fellowship with the offerer and Yahweh.  Animal or breads offered.

5.) GRAIN OFFERING - A voluntary offering of worship and devotion; recognized Yahweh’s goodness and provision.  Often made with the fellowship offering and burnt offering.  Grain, flour, oil, baked breads, no yeast or honey. Drink offering made with it.  Grain offerings were split up, some burned and the priests ate the rest.  The grain offering of a priest had to be completely burned.

As we think of our prayers replacing these offerings: first, deal with sin (sin offering, guilt offering - confession, restitution); second, commit ourselves to Yahweh (burnt offering, grain offering - devotion); and third, fellowship and commune with Yahweh (fellowship offering).