The Three Pilgrimage Festivals (Week 18, Part 6/6) Exodus 24; 31–34 | Apr 25 – May 1 – powered by Happy Scribe
As we continue the story of the people of Israel at Mount Sinai, there’s some interesting things that go on. For example, we have back in Exodus 20, God is delivering to him his Covenant instructions of what he expects them to do, to show love and loyalty to him. Now as we turn to Exodus 34, verses 18 to 35, we see God giving additional instructions and clarification about what he expects of his people for them to be able to live in peace and prosperity in the land that he will give unto him. You look carefully, he’ll identify that there’s three pilgrimages that the Israelites, particularly the males, are supposed to engage in once a year. And those three pilgrimages are these the feast of unleavened bread.
We know that as Passover and I’ll talk about this, each of these more in a minute. The festival of weeks. We also know that as Pentecost and the festival of in gathering or the festival of booths. So the first festival, the festival of unleavened bread or Passover, the whole purpose of that festival or that Holy day we call those holidays today the word Holy and Holly day are related words is to remember what God has done for the people in saving them out of Egyptian bondage. And this was something that has been memorialized among Jews for centuries.
And in the time of Jesus, he was in Jerusalem over Passover when he was crucified. The last supper that he had with his disciples was actually a Passover celebration where they celebrated how God had protected their ancestors and taken them out of Egypt. And there are interesting things that go on that God actually in this festival of this Holy day, God wants the people to set aside a firstborn male without blemish and to prepare them for sacrifice that you consume on the Passover meal. And so Jesus, he is now the new Passover lamb. When he passes out the bread and the wine, he’s basically updating the meaning of the Passover, showing to the people first to his disciples that this Holy day is actually about me saving you.
I am Jehovah, who saved you out of Egypt. So we partake of Sacrament every week. We actually are reenacting this Holy day of Passover that was supposed to happen every year for the Jews. We now do it every week at Sacrament, where it’s an opportunity for us to remember the great things God has done for us and for us to announce our loyalty to him, to always remember Him and all that we do. So that’s the first festival that God wants or the first Holy day that God wants the Israelite males to celebrate every year second one festival of weeks.
And this is a celebration of receiving the Torah or the five books of Moses or the Law, meaning the Covenant of instructions. And so this is still celebrated today. It’s now known as Pentecost among Christians. It happened seven weeks 49 days or actually 50 days after Passover had ended. And the point here was to remember all the good that God had done in revealing truth to their ancestors and preserving that in the scriptures.
So if we remember the Scriptures are the records of God’s covenantal instructions to us. And it’s beautiful that God wanted people to have a Holy day to express gratitude that God had raised up profits to preserve his words and his covenantal instructions. Finally, the last pilgrimage that God wanted the Israelites to celebrate on a Holy day once a year was called the festival in gathering or Sukot, or the festival of booths. Now, the first two that we talked about, the first two festivals, Passover, happened in early spring, Pentecost and late spring. The festival of in gathering was a big harvest festival.
It happened in the early to mid fall. It’s a joyous time, and it’s actually associated with the day of atonement in the ancient religion of the Israelites. And on this day, people were supposed to build these temporary shelters to remember that they had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and that they were ultimately guided and sustained by God to make their way out of Egypt into the Holy Land. And so for these pilgrims, every year we’re supposed to be celebrating this particular festival so they could remember that ultimately God is the source of all all that is good, all that is lovely, and he’s the one who’s brought them Salvation. Now, I’ve used the word pilgrimage several times, and I used that because the idea was that the Jesus, the ancient Israelites, would travel from wherever they were living into Jerusalem for these Holy days.
Imagine if at Christmas, we were all expected to go back to Bethlehem to have a Christmas celebration. So the idea was for these ancient Israelites, let’s all go to Jerusalem three times a year for these Holy days. And in the time of Jesus, good Jews would do this. This is why you have Simon Siren from North Africa, who ended up carrying Jesus cross. He was a Jew who had come to Jerusalem for Passover, because as a good Jew, that was what the expectation was.
You might consider something similar today where Muslims, if you have the means at least once in your life, Muslims need to go to Mecca on a Hodge or what is called a Holy pilgrimage. And maybe even for some members of the Church today, we might see a bit of a Holy pilgrimage to travel to Salt Lake City during General Conference weekend. Whatever the case may be, a pilgrimage is a time for somebody to put their whole body, mind, heart and soul into celebrating a Holy event where God has brought goodness and Salvation to someone’s life. Now, in conclusion, we Mary not celebrate the exact same Holy days that the ancient Israelites did, but yet for us, God asked all of us to make certain times of the year or certain times of the week. Holy to Him and in so doing, we are supposed to remember all the good deeds that he’s done for us.
So think about the Holy moments you have in your life Sabbath or Christmas, Easter. There might be other times where you can put your mind and hearts reflecting on all the good deeds that God has done for you. And he asks us to do this. He asks us to remember so that we will fill his spirit. It’s very interesting how this ties into the Sacrament.
When we remember the good things of God. When we remember God, we have the Spirit with us and God knows that we need the spirit. And therefore, he invites us to have experiences where we do remember.