Feasts

Feasts of the Lord

"The L-rd’s appointed times, which you shall proclaim as holy convocations--
My appointed times are these:"
(Leviticus 23:2)

"My appointed times are these." So says the Lord in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, about the seven annual festivals now commonly called the "Jewish holidays" or the "Feasts of Israel." Actually, this cycle of festivals that mark the Jewish calendar are as much for the Church as for Israel, and can best be understood by those who are redeemed by Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ). Why, then, don’t we know anything about them? Why have these feasts been shuffled out of our lives? Good questions!

To make a very complicated history simple, this is what happened. During the time from the second to the fourth centuries, the demographics of the Church changed. What was once a sect of Judaism had become a predominantly Gentile culture. Particularly during the reign of Constantine, the Church suffered grave revisions in doctrine and in practice. In an effort to make Christianity a distinct religion, the Early Church leaders removed all Jewish customs and practices from the worship of the G-d of Israel. In effect, they laid an ax to the root of the tree to which the wild branches had been grafted. (Read Romans 9, 10, & 11.)

Psalm 89:15 in the Amplified Bible states: "How blessed---happy, fortunate (to be envied)--are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand the spiritual blessings symbolized by the Feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and the favor of Your countenance." Yet, for 1600 years, the Church has not heard the joyful sound of the shofar, nor the singing at the Feast of Passover; they have not celebrated with meals under the canopy of the Sukkah, nor danced in celebration of the giving of the Holy Scripture. Each of the seven annual Feasts of the Lord is rich with meaning and with the revelation of the character of G-d, and with signs of the coming Messiah.

Yeshua died on Passover; He was in the ground at the beginning of Unleavened Bread, and He rose on the Feast of FirstFruits. (Read John 12) He is our perfect Passover sacrifice; He is the Unleavened Bread that came forth from the earth; and He is the FirstFruits of the resurrection.

Fifty days after the Sabbath of Passover is the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost). In Acts 2, we have an account, not of the Feast of Pentecost, but rather of that year’s celebration of this ancient Biblical custom. Those who were gathered in a room in one accord were doing so to commemorate the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai,   just as it had been observed for some 1500 years by that time. When Moses returned from the Mount, 3000 were slain because of sin; when the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) came upon those in Jerusalem, Peter preached for about ten minutes, and 3000 were saved. The letter of the Law brings death, but the freedom of the Spirit brings life! It is important to note that only those who were celebrating the Law, received the Spirit.

Then comes Summertime, when there are no feasts. It is a time to labor in the fields, and to work while it is light. Interestingly, Leviticus 23 inserts instruction to leave gleanings for the poor at this point in its explanation of the Feasts. The last month of Summer is the month of Elul. During this entire month expectancy builds with the single blast of the shofar each day, in anticipation of  the coming Feasts of the Messiah in the Fall.

Finally, on the first day of the seventh month is the Feast of Trumpets, when the shofar (ram's horn trumpet) is blown 100 times. This signals the laborers to cease from their work and to enter a time of repentance and of reconciliation. After ten days of awe, comes Yom Kippor (the Day of Atonement), when the holiest man in Israel enters the holiest place in Israel and pronounces the holy Name of G-d, and only with the blood of a perfect sacrifice. Finally, five days after that comes the Feast of Tabernacles, when we remember living in the very presence of G-d for forty years by dwelling in booths for eight days. It is this final Feast that the prophet Zechariah foretells of in chapters 12 through 14. We will all go up year after year, and celebrate this final Feast with Messiah when He returns.

Four Levels of Understanding

NAME OF THE FEAST

LEVEL 1
Historical

LEVEL 2
1st Century

LEVEL 3
Our Own Spiritual Life

LEVEL 4
Universal Experience

Passover
Pesach

Israel’s deliverance
from Egypt
Yeshuasacrificed

Salvation by
willingness to apply the blood of The Lamb

Fulfilled once & for
all at Calvary

Unleavened Bread
Matzoh

Hasten to leave
No time for bread
to rise
(18 minutes)

Yeshua is the
Unleavened Bread

Purging us ofleaven...
"the sin that so easily besets us."
We can live unleavened lives through Yeshua

FirstFruits
B’Korrim

Wave sheaf of Barley
Crossing Red Sea

Yeshua rose as guarantee of resurrection
John 12: 23, 24, 32

Mikvah
Water baptism identifies us in His death, burial, and resurrection

Yeshua was our B’korrim, giving us assurance.
I Corin. 15: 20-24

Weeks/Pentecost
Shavu’ot
Celebrates giving of Torah

Wheat Harvest
Ratification of Covenant 
@ Sinai

Acts 2
Outpouring of
Ruach HaKodesh

Personally experience infilling of 
Ruach HaKodesh
Acts 2

Summertime: Time to labor; there are no feasts until the Fall . The sixth month, Elul, is spent in anticipation of "The Feasts of the Messiah" which come in the seventh month, Tishrei. I believe, and I pray that we are, now in that sixth month. "The fields are ripe unto harvest, but the laborers are few."
Trumpets
Rosh HaShannah
Celebrates creation of the world
Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur
Awesome Day of the L-rd
Hebrews 9:11 All Israel will be saved in a National Day 
of Atonement
(No longer just covered.)
Tabernacles
Sukkot
Rememberance of 40 years of wandering
Rejoice in the L-rd always. Again, I say rejoice! Praise Him!
 
Two Calendars Make One Year
Or...How 7+7=12
 

 

The Jewish Calendar is based upon a Lunar Month. Each month, therefore begins with the new moon, and lasts for 30 days. The Rabbi’s determined that 7 times in 19 years, they must add an additional month of 20 days, similar to our leap year adjustment made every four years.

Think of a year, not as a flat timeline, but as a continuum. The religious calendar begins in Nissan, the season of Passover. It ends, with the seventh month, Tishrei. The Civil Calendar begins with Tishrei, and ends, seven months later, with Nissan. So, the two calendars overlap in their beginning and their ending months. 7+7(-2)=12!

POSITION NAME SEASON FESTIVALS

BIBLICAL
REFERENCES

SACRED CIVIL
1 7 Nissan Spring
Latter rains
Passover
Unleavened Bread
First Fruits
Exodus 12:2
Nehemiah 2:1
2 (8) Iyyar I Kings 6:1, 37
3 (9) Sivan Pentecost Ester 8:9
Acts 2
4 (10) Tammuz Summer
Dry season begins
5 (11) Av Tisha B'Av *
6 (12) Elul
7 1 Tishrei Fall
Early rains
Trumpets
Atonement
Tabernacles
John 7:37
(8) 2 Heshavan Wheat and barley sowing
(9) 3 Chislev Winter Channukah * John 10:22
(10) 4 Tebeth Esther 2:16
(11) 5 Shebat Zechariah 1:7
(12) 6 Adar Ezra 6:15
* Non-Biblical festivals