"These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies" .Leviticus 23:2
The Lord gave Israel an annual cycle of seven feasts
The LORD also gave Israel Shabbat, the day of rest
Jews also celebrate other important national and personal events
|Passover||Counting the Omer||Pentecost|
|Day of Atonement||Tabernacles|
|Shabbat||Gap years||New Moon|
|Purim||Tu b Shvat||Minor Feasts|
|See The Jewish Calendar for the actual dates of these feasts.|
In the Torah, the first five books of the Bible which contain the Law, GOD laid out instructions for life and worship for use by his chosen people. In the book of Leviticus, chapter 23, verses 4 to 44 he set out seven feasts, which marked the year for his people.
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: `These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
We Christians tend to regard them as interesting curiosities, but they actually have much to teach us. Not only are they "my appointed Feasts" says the LORD, they are also referred to in Hebrew as the MOEDIM - the Appointed times, or the appointed times of !
The fact that there are seven Feasts / Appointed Times is significant for a start, since seven always denotes completeness. They start in the first month of the year and tell a story which both looks back in remembrance but also forward in prophetic anticipation of GOD'S saving work for mankind. The prophetic significance of these feasts is emphasised by the words of Yeshua as he celebrated Passover, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22 v15-16)
The author is indebted to the book by Dr Richard Booker, "Jesus in the Feasts of Israel", and its replacement, "Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts." (see Books)
The feasts are in three groups; the three pilgrimage festivals, the Regalim.
These are known as the feasts of Redemption, Revelation and Rejoicing :-
including Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits
|Sha vu Ot - The Feast of Weeks - or Pentecost||
The Feasts - ha Moedim (appointed times) - prophetic cycle
|Unleavened Bread||2||from above||Only Matzah eaten||Pessach|
|Firstfruits||3||Shabbat||Celebrate barley harvest||Pessach|
|Shavuot||4||+50 days||Celebrate wheat harvest and Torah||Shavuot|
|Trumpets||5||1 Tishrei||Call to repentance||Trumpets|
|Yom Kippur||6||10 Tishrei||Receiving Atonement for sin||Yom Kippur|
These are the major holidays in Israel, when many Jews make their pilgrimages for these traditional feasts. Deuteronomy 16 v16-17 says, 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. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.
Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are discussed together.
The end of summer season commences with Rosh Hashanna which now coincides with Trumpets.
Discussion of Firstfruits in Pentecost also apply to Firstfruits in the Passover season.
Shabbat Right back in Creation GOD laid down the principle of a day of rest on the seventh day. He commands his people to observe this day at the beginning of Leviticus chapter 23. Shabbat is the sign of God's covenant with his chosen people and it is a focus of family life and bringing up children.
New Moon Rosh Hodesh was also a holy day of rest and worship.
An important though about the feasts of Leviticus 23
In verse 4 we read, "These are the designated times of ADONAI (YHVH), the holy convocations you are to proclaim at their designated times." If we Christians stand as having been grafted into God's olive tree of Israel, they are not just Judaism's holy days but our holidays. Nowhere does scripture tell us to abandon these holy convocations and celebrate other holidays. (see Dates in the Christian Calendar)
Jewish Weddings - Bar Mitzvah - Chanukah or Feast of Lights - Purim or The Feast of Esther - Tu B'Shvat or New Year of the Trees
There are several feasts or holidays in Israel, which are not part of the seven "Feasts of the LORD" but are also important.
Click on a heading below for a full description.
Weddings feature often in Jesus' teaching, especially in reference to his second coming, yet we are not very clear about the customs of the time. Study of these customs throws light on Jesus' teaching.
Bar Mitzvah is the occasion of coming of age for a young Jewish man. Nowadays girls have a a similar occasion called a Bat Mitzvah.
Bris Mila or Circumcision is the entry of a Jewish male into the covenant with God.
Redemption of the Firstborn applies to a firstborn child who is a boy. (Pidion ha-ban)
Chanukah, or the Feast of Lights, is not mentioned in the average Bible except to record Jesus celebrating it in Jerusalem. However the miraculous victory it celebrates is recorded in 1 Macabees, which is found in a bible which contains the Apocrypha. It is very important to the Jews.
Purim celebrates another miraculous deliverance of GOD'S people.
Tu b'Shvat is more recent in origin but is also interesting.
Tisha B'Av, Yom HaShoah, Yom Yerushalayim, Fast of Gedaliah, Yom Ha'atzmaut.
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