Assembly and FeastsAs Bob and I continue our study of what the Bible says about “assembly,” we’d like to invite some of the rest of you to join in with us. :-) Actually, I know that this is summer, and we all have unusual schedules. I’ll continue on with this study and hope that anyone that wants to comment on any part of it will feel free to chime in.
I wasn’t sure which order to look at things in, but Bob mentioned the festivals, so that seems like a logical continuing place. You can make a strong argument that Old Testament religion was feast-driven. As Deuteronomy 16:16 says, there were three times when all men were required to assemble: “Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.” They had other special days, but these three days were the unifying points of their religion and their nation, the time when all able-bodied men were to gather in a designated place (first Shiloh, later Jerusalem).
There were other days that were holy days, community celebrations, that did not involved a national assembly. The Law says of these days: “These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, besides the LORD’s Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.” (Lev 23:37-38 ESV)
It seems to me, and please feel free to correct, that the Law envisioned the Israelites living in a situation where every man could come to “the appointed place” several times a year. Sacrifices and offerings had to be made and could not be made just anywhere. There were priests and Levites throughout the land, yet the tabernacle/temple was the designated place for worship.
What, if anything, does this say to us about our Christian worship?