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Jewish Festivals.
Yamim Tovim (ימים טובים “Good Days”).

A Simplified Overview of the Feasts of the Lord God.
   “These are the designated times of Adonai, the holy convocations you are to proclaim at their designated times.” – Leviticus 23:4 (C.J.B.)

Sacrifice is the major feature of the feasts. Believers in Mashiach i.e. belief in the eventual coming of the Messiah; are not expected to keep these feasts however knowledge of them enhances our faith. Jesus kept every one of them without fail, even celebrating Pesach on His last earthly night. I shall now introduce you to what the feasts are called, when they happen and why they remain significant.

Leviticus 23 is the single chapter of the entire Tanakh that sums up everything. God’s eternal plan — from chaos to eternity — is ingeniously revealed through the nature and timing of the Seven annual Feasts of the LORD. Let us survey God’s calendar in its essence.

   It was on Mount Sinai that God gave Moses the dates and observances of the seven feasts.
Here are their names:
Passover (Pesach) – Nisan 14-15
Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamotzi) – Nisan 15-22
Weeks; in english called Pentecost (Shavu'ot) – Sivan 6-7
First Fruits 1st day of Shavu'ot (Yom HaBikkurim) – Sivan 6
Trumpets (Yom Teru'ah) – Tishri 1
Atonement (Yom Kippur) - Tishri 10
Tabernacles (Sukkot) – Tishri 15-22

So When Do They Happen?

God’s calendar is based on the phases of the moon i.e. the lunar calendar that begins with the new moon; so this means Pesach falls on the first full moon of Spring. The first three feasts, Pesach, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits fall in March and April. The fourth is Shavu'ot and marks the summer harvest and occurs in late May or early June. The last three feasts, Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Sukkot happen in September and October.

The Feasts.


Feast of the Passover or Pesachפֶּסַח Leviticus 23:5 specifies that the festival year begins with Passover on “the fourteenth day of the first month” (Nisan 15). Passover is the Feast of Salvation. In both testaments, the blood of the Lamb delivers from slavery the Jew from Egypt, the Christian from sin. Think about the tenth plague in Exodus 12:5 when Egypt’s first born sons died while the angel of death “passed over” the Jewish homes with the blood of the lamb on their door posts. In the B'rit Chadashah, Jesus serves as the sacrificial lamb. It is no coincidence that our Lord Himself was sacrificed on Passover. In Egypt the Jew marked his house with the blood of the lamb. Today the Christian marks his house his body, “the house of the spirit” with the blood of Christ. Passover, then, represents our salvation.


Feast of Unleavened Bread or Passover Sederˈseɪ dəɹ; – סֵדֶרˈsedeʁ, meaning “order, arrangement”; and in Yiddish: ‘seyder’) is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evening of the 15th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar throughout the world. This corresponds to late March or April – Leviticus 23:6 puts the second feast on the next night: “On the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the Lord; seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” Leaven or yeast in the Bible symbolized sin and evil. Unleavened bread, eaten over a period of time, symbolized a holy walk, as with the Lord. Unleavened bread, in the B'rit Chadashah [New Testament] is, of course, the body of our Lord. He is described as “the Bread of Life” (Lechem haChayim). He was born in Bethlehem, which, in Hebrew, means, “House of Bread” (Bet Lechem).

If we look at the matzah and see that it is striped: “By His stripes we are healed” – Isaiah 53:5; pierced: “He was wounded because of our crimes” – Isaiah 53:5 and pure “without any leaven”, as His body was without any sin. And the Passover custom of burying, hiding and then resurrecting the second of three pieces of matzot (the middle piece), presents the Gospel (Afikomen).


Shavu'ot (Yom HaBikkurim) In the Bible, Shavu'ot is called the Festival of Weeks (Hebrew: חג השבועות, Ḥag ha-Shavuot, Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10); Festival of Reaping (Hebrew: חג הקציר, Ḥag ha-Katsir, Exodus 23:16) and Day of the First Fruits (Hebrew יום הבכורים, Yom ha-Bikkurim, Numbers 28:26 occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June). Leviticus 23:16 says, “Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shell ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” In late May or early June, Shavu’ot marked the summer harvest. Leviticus 23:17 requires an offering of two loaves of bread, baked with leaven. These loaves symbolize the church being comprised of both Jew and Gentile.


First Fruits (Reshit Katzir). It says in Leviticus 23:11He is to wave the sheaf before Adonai, so that you will be accepted; the cohen is to wave it on the day after the Shabbat (the Passover)” (C.J.B.) This feast is for acknowledging the fertility of the land He gave the Israelites. They were to bring the early crops of their spring planting and wave the sheaf before the Lord. Modern christanity has come to call this feast ‘Easter’, named after Ishtar, the pagan goddess of fertility. We continue to revere objects of fertility such as the rabbit and the egg but the First Fruits celebration was to be over God’s replanting of the earth in the spring. Today this feasts celebrates the resurrection of the Lord on First Fruits, which indeed occurred (plus, eventually, the resurrection of the entire Church!)

A review of the first four (spring) feasts reveals that Yeshua was crucified on Pesach, buried on Unleavened Bread, raised on First Fruits and sent the Ruach Hakkodesh on Shavu'ot. Because we have not yet seen the fulfillment of feast number five – Trumpets – we remain under the orders of Shavu'ot.


Trumpets is actually a Shophar Horn (Yom Teru'ah). Ever since Isaac was spared by virtue of the ram being caught in the thicket by its horn, God seems to have enjoyed the Rams Horn. He used it when Joshua conquered Jericho. In Leviticus 25:8-10, he specified its use in having Shophar Horn “Count seven of these years seven times for a total of 49 years. On the tenth day of the seventh month, the special day for the payment for sin, sound rams’ horns throughout the country. Set apart the fiftieth year as holy and proclaim liberty to everyone living in the land. This is your jubilee year. Every slave will be freed in order to return to his property and to his family.” The “proclaim liberty to everyone living in the land”; appears on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A. only written in Old English. Leviticus 23:24 requires that, “On the first day of the seventh month hold a worship festival. It will be a memorial day, a holy assembly announced by the blowing of rams’ horns.”

The Feast of Trumpets occurs in September. This jump in time from the Feast of Pentecost in May or June seems to represent the Church Age in God’s planning, since the trumpet unquestionably represents the Rapture of the Church. The trumpet was the signal for the field workers to come into the Temple. The high priest actually blew the trumpet so that the faithful would stop harvesting to worship. Now, when the trumpet sounds in accordance with 1st Corinthians 15:51-3, living believers will cease their harvest and rise from the earth. The Church will be taken out of the world.


Atonement (Yom Kippur). In addition, the tenth day of this seventh month is a special day for the payment for sins. There will be a holy assembly. Humble yourselves and bring the LORD a sacrifice by fire.Leviticus 23:27 This provides a day of confession and is the highest of holy days.  This is the one feast that is not fulfilled by the Christian church, because it owes no atonement.

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Tabernacles (Sukkot). Leviticus 23:34 tells us that on the15th day of the 7th month is to be the feast of tabernacles and it is to held for 7 days to celebrate the fact that God provided shelter for the Israelites in the wilderness. Each year on the day of Tabernacles, devout Jews build little shelters called sukkot outside their houses and worshipped in them. Tabernacles represents the Lord’s great Tabernacle to exist in Jerusalem during the Kingdom Age (olam habah). According to Ezekiel 37:26 the Lord will establish His Tabernacle in Jerusalem and the world will come every year to appear before the King and worship Him – Zechariah 14:16-17.


Hanukkah (HAH-nəkə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah or Chanukkah), also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabaean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century B.C. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. By the way, this was not given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai but it was prophesied in Daniel 8:9-14 and took place in 165 B.C. when the Temple was rededicated.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah or hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash (Hebrew: שמש‎, “attendant”) and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for practical use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves for purposes other than publicising and meditating upon Hanukkah is forbidden.

Now you probably agree that Christianity’s Jewish roots offer an eye to the future as well as the past. The next time someone mentions “The Feasts of Israel”, you’ll realise they’re really talking about the Feasts of all time!

This was based an article originally written by Mark Levitt of Zola Levitt Ministries.

All Bible quotes from ‘God’s Word’ unless otherwise indicated. Also Referenced: Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions & Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.




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HappyBarmitzvah. HappyHanukkah Passover Pesach RoshHashannah. Shalom Shavout SimchatTorah Sukkot Torah&Scroll TuB'av TuB'shevat. YomKippur

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