An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 176 of 304
'Feast, as a technical term, is applied only to certain specific
holidays: a holiday is an indefinite term, it may be employed for any
day or time in which there is a suspension of business ... A feast is
altogether sacred; a holiday has frequently nothing sacred in it, not
even in its cause ... a festival has always either a sacred or a
serious object ...'.
While the partaking of food is often a feature of a 'feast', it must be
remembered that one of the 'feasts of the Lord', the Day of Atonement, was
one on which Israel afflicted their souls, and it became known as 'the black
fast'.  The Hebrew words translated 'feast' that refer to holy gatherings and
not merely to eating and drinking, are chag, moed, and in the Greek the word
Chag, which gives us the name Haggai, is allied to a Chaldaic word
meaning 'to move in a circle' (Isa. 40:22); and so 'to reel' like a drunken
man (Psa. 107:27), and so 'a compass' (Isa. 44:13).  This word is applied to
the celebration of religious feasts whether in honour of the true God, or of
idols (1 Kings 12:32), and to religious dances.  There are no dances of this
character, or anything to compare with the drunken orgies of paganism in the
Feasts of the Lord, and it is very probable that the use of the word chag
indicates the periodical return of the solemn day, as Bates has it (Crit.
Heb.) 'the day returning at its round'.  The modern 'festive' element is
countered in the passages where 'solemn feast' and 'solemnity' is the
translation of chag and moed.
Moed means 'an appointed place', from yaad, 'to meet' by appointment,
both regarding 'place' (Exod. 25:22) and 'time' (2 Sam. 20:5), and was
extended by a figure to the conception of a betrothal (Exod. 21:8,9).
Heortazo means 'to keep a feast or festival', and heorte is translated
'feast', 'feast day' and 'holy day'.  All three features, time, place and
solemnity, are found in the law of Deuteronomy 16:15,16:
'Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the
place which the Lord shall choose ... three times in a year ... in the
feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast
of tabernacles'.
Few would consider a feast of 'unleavened bread' to
be a 'feast' in the modern sense of the word.  The twenty -third chapter of
Leviticus sets out the feasts of the Lord that were to be observed throughout
the year, while chapter 25 is devoted to the sabbatical year and the jubilee
after seven times seven years.  This feature is important and calls for
consideration.  We discover that an orderly sequence of days, weeks, months
and years runs through the Old Testament Scriptures, and that there is a
special and intentional emphasis of the number seven, as is evident from the
following list:
Seven days.  'Remember the sabbath day'
(Exod. 20:8 -11).
Seven weeks.
'Seven sabbaths shall be complete' (Lev. 23:15).
Seven months.
'In the seventh month -- a sabbath' (Lev. 23:24).
Seven years.
'In the seventh year -- a sabbath' (Lev. 25:2 -5).