This question is often raised by those who have left man made denominational religion and begin to read the scriptures more for themselves and question all things. Also there has been a rise in the heretical false system of faith called Hebrew roots that is telling people they must keep the Old Law to serve God and they are confusing many ( see a link at the end of this article that refutes them ).
As always, the answer to this question lies in the Word of God and His revelation to us when, we take it in context. This question about festival keeping is very much like the question: "Should I tithe today" so I will approach it in the very same manner.
The question about tithing comes up often as modern hireling pastors beat people up with it to extract their money from them. It can be answered easily if we look at the facts from God's Word.
1) Tithing is NEVER taught to or practiced by the gentiles believers in the NT bible.
2) Tithing was given by God to "Israel" in the Old Covenant.
3) The tithe was food and crops (not money) given to Levitical priests in the temple in Israel that God Himself ordained to be built.
4) People in the New Testament Word ( like Jesus ) did tithe but they were Jews where from and in the OT ways at that time so that is understandable.
5) Apostle Paul instructs us how to give now in the NT and it is not tithing.
Tithing is NOT for gentiles today though, you are free to give 10% or any amount you desire unto the needy or for the Lord and His work.
Now lets look at the Old Testament festivals of which there were 7 of them:
The Feast of Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Firstfruits, The Feast of Pentecost, The Feast of Trumpets, The Feast of Atonement , The Feast of Tabernacle
For the following reasons gentiles today are NOT under the Old law and are not compelled to keep the festivals.
1) All of these festivals were given to Israel ( like tithing ) or anyone journeying with them at that time not the gentiles in the New Covenant.
2) These fests were linked to harvests and events in Israel not anywhere else making it impossible to do them correctly.
3) Festivals involved the temple and sacrifices which cannot be done today since there is no temple and Christ ended the blood sacrifice system.
4) The festivals called Israelite men to Jerusalem/the temple 3 times a year which was the center of the spiritual life/holy place for them at this time.
5) Some say the fests are forever but when you study that Word ( olam ) you will see it is not what is seems.
6) There is evidence in scripture Paul did NOT always keep the festivals himself. Gal 2:1 / he was away from Jerusalem for 14 years
7) There is ZERO teaching from the Apostles for the gentiles to keep these festivals or the OT law.
The last point alone should put your mind at rest on this issue but now to prove what I am saying, lets look at some scriptures that back up why festivals are not for gentiles today
For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Here Paul is explaining to Israelites ( some still keeping OT ways) and gentiles that some may keep the Sabbath, eat pork or practice fests and it is left to each man to do or not to do. ( Paul did NOT teach gentiles to keep the Old Law including festivals.)
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Here Paul again is saying do not judge each other for these things as some Israrelites were still doing the OT traditions and others (gentiles ) did not. The point is the old is gone and the focus is now Christ!!
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
In this section of scripture Paul is talking about the old to the new. What was once Passover has now become the Lord's Supper fest. Passover had a lamb and Christ is our sacrificial lamb of God. If you doubt that is what he meant, go read 1 Corinthians 11 and see what they celebrated as a body: the Lords Supper!
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
1 Corinthians 9:21
Again Apostle Paul makes the distinction from Jew to gentile and that we gentiles have the law of Christ, not the OT law over us.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Paul makes it very clear here that the OT law and all its ways could NOT do what man needed and it was Christ that made the way in the NEW.
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Paul reminds the Jews trying to go back (and take gentiles with them) to the old law for salvation that it is in vain to do that. Why? The NEW has come!
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Here we see the separation being made. The law came under Moses and grace came via Christ. We still live by law today but it is Christs law, NOT the OT ways or fasts that we cannot keep today anyway.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Jesus here takes us from one Old covenant to the NEW covenant.
It was all pointing the way to Him and His coming. He is the One to now focus on NOT festival keeping that was a shadow of things to come.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John the Baptist helps us to see while the OT law was about lambs offered for sins over and over, our Creator has sent us the FINAL lamb of God in Christ. The fests pointed and reminded Israel of this and now He is here!
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
I am not sure how anyone could misunderstand Paul here? Jesus abolished in His perfect fulfillment the OT law and all of its laws men had to keep. Via the cross we are reconciled, not via festivals or OT ways for gentiles.
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
Many people miss this most important verse. When Christ died he cried out it is finished! What was finished? His perfect fulfillment of the OT law. The veil that was commanded by God to be there in the temple to separate the Holy place where God dwelt from anyone but a Levite priest, was torn. This meant we all now have access to God via Christ. He is our priest. It shows the OT was pushed aside like a shadow for the NEW light/covenant and with it went the OT law/commands including festival keeping for gentiles.
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Again the write is clear here. The Old law was ready to go for the NEW and with it goes the commands of doing to OT law including festivals for gentiles.
Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
I have saved what I think is the most damning evidence against keeping festivals or OT law for gentiles today. In Acts 15, a counsel was called to address Jews telling gentiles they had to keep the law to be saved. In this counsel the Apostles make it VERY clear. They give some rules for the gentiles and then they say, we gave NO such command for gentiles to keep the law. That would have surely included.... festivals.
One more very damning scripture for those who would tell you to keep the law as a Christ follower in the NEW covenant. Apostle Paul was the post boy for the perfect law keeping Jew. What does he say about keeping the OLD law vs seeking after and knowing Christ? See his words....
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Yes, Apostle Paul called to preach by Christ Himself, viewed all of his law keeping, training and striving in the OT as dung ( manure ) vs knowing Christ. That says a lot does it not?
Keep in mind while I used the term gentile in my article to show the contrast Paul had between gentiles and Jews, once your born into God's family via the gospel; you are no longer a Jew or a Greek at all but you are now in Christ, as a new creation.
I do need to say that there are some scriptures in the Old Testament that some say point to a time when God may have His festivals again "in Israel". No one including me can say 100% dogmatically that is for sure so or how it will all come down in the last days. But let me be clear, God having His festivals in the Israel ( Christ will be ruling over in power) is a far cry from you and I trying to keep a cobble up festival from Rocky Mount, Missouri or any other town in America. I will gladly go to Israel to honor the Lord if He Himself brings His festivals back when He returns. Today, it is NOT for the gentiles to do per His Holy Word to the saints in the New Testament.
Hebrew root false teachers will try to tell you that you must keep the old law and when questioned, they can NEVER tell you just what to keep or how to keep it. Why? Because they CANNOT keep the full law without a priesthood or the Temple in place.
See Hebrew Roots exposed HERE.
James says if you break one law you have broken them all so please, do NOT go back to the Old law. Look to the Light Jesus that is Christ Risen and NOT the shadows of what NO man could keep anyway. ( Hebrews 10 ) You will shipwreck your faith/salvation if you try to please God under the Old when His Son, brought us a NEW and better covenant.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
If you desire to gather on a Saturday, not to eat pork or keep a OT festival as a point of history, there is NO sin in doing so, IF your NOT linking your obedience to God or your salvation to it. The moment you say or teach that one MUST do such things, you are in heresy, you have left Holy scripture and the full truth is not in you or your theology. We desire better for all men so, please do not go there! Serve God in the NEW and be a obedient saint unto the Lord via His New covenant, the death burial and resurrection of Christ.