Posted by: Sylvia, aka Shucky | May 6, 2011

God’s Jewish Festivals/Holy Days

In this portion of scripture, God continues His instructions about holiness with a

prohibition against several customs of the heathen nations: baldness on their

heads (i.e. the cut of monks), shaving off the corners of their beards, or cutting

in the flesh (including all tattoos).

No Cohen (priest) who was deformed, blemished, or defiled could go into the

Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem.

In the Brit Hadashah (New Covenant Scriptures), Yeshua (Jesus) was without spot or

blemish. When examined, both Pontius Pilate and King Herod found no fault with him.

We must be attentive to the fact that Yeshua is coming back for a Bride without

spot or blemish, and we must be prepared for His coming.

GOD’S APPOINTED TIMES

The Feasts of the Lord

God not only sanctifies people and land, but also time.

Place, time, and people are a three-strand cord held together by the One who

sanctifies and makes each holy.

He appointed certain days to be celebrations or memorials of Him. These are

called ‘Moadei Y-H-V-H.

The word, ‘moed’ (singular form) comes from the root meaning ‘appointed, designated or designed.’

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Shofar and Holy Day Prayer Book

The tent of appointed meeting in the desert was called the ohel (tent) mo’ed.

Are these divinely designated feasts and festivals relevant to non-Jewish Believers?

Many people call these Jewish holidays, and fear their observance, lest they appear

‘too Jewish’ or ‘come under the Torah (law).’

Others call them the Feasts of Israel. But God calls them HIS feasts – His appointed times.

If they belong to God, then they are also the privilege of the people of God, both Jew and non-Jew.

If these feasts are only for Israel, then so is the Messiah and the Bible since these

too were given to the Israelites first.

What are the specific designated times of God?

1) The first ‘appointed day’ is SHABBAT (the 7th day). All the other feasts build

upon this foundation.

Shabbat comes from the root meaning ‘to sit’. That is what we are to do. For one

day a week (which God chose as the seventh, not the first day), activity is to come to a halt.

We have the privilege of just sitting and resting as a reminder that we are no

longer slaves – either to our work or to our sinful nature. We have been

delivered and can be only slaves to righteousness.

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Painting of Yeshua teaching in the synagogue on the Shabbat

That righteousness includes obedience to God’s commands of which keeping

Shabbat is primary and foundational. It is a special sign between God and the

nation of Israel along with anyone grafted in through Messiah, no matter what

their ethnic or racial background.

Shabbat symbolizes our ‘works’ being finished. When Yeshua had completed

His task of being offered up as the ultimate sacrifice, he "sat down at the right

hand of God."

Yeshua also kept the Shabbat, and we too, can follow his example in ‘sitting’ and

resting on Shabbat.

2) PESACH (Passover): The second appointed day is Passover, followed by seven

days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag ha matzot/ Festival/holiday of the matza).

This is the start of the Biblical new year in the spring. The root of Pesach means to ‘pass over.’

For when He saw the sign of the blood on the homes of the Israelites in Egypt,

the angel of death ‘passed over’ them and did not enter to destroy.

Today we also symbolically recognize that the blood of the Lamb of God, who is

Yeshua, covers the doorposts and lintels of our lives in order that the coming

wrath of God will ‘passover’ us.

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Lamb in the Galilee of Israel

We know that one day the judgment of God is coming upon the earth. The coming

plagues, described in the book of revelation, are similar to those God poured out

upon Egypt in order to liberate the Israelites.

God is our refuge and strength, an everlasting help in trouble. One day, God will

once again ‘pass over’ His people in Jerusalem and rescue us. "Like flying birds

so the Lord of Hosts (YHVH Tz’vaot) will protect Jerusalem…He will pass

over (pesach) and rescue it." (Isa. 31:5)

3) FIRST FRUITS/COUNTING OF THE OMER:

At the beginning of the barley harvest, the first sheaf of wheat

was presented at the sanctuary (on the morrow after the sabbath). This is the

subject of heated dispute in ancient times between the various sects of Judaism

and it continues to be a matter of dispute among Christians and Messianic Believers today.

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Some believe that the omer is to be counted on the day after the first day of the

feast of unleavened bread, since this is ‘a high sabbath’ – a shabbat day of rest

which may fall on any day of the week. Others believed that the count must start

on the day after the first of the regular seventh day Shabbat, indicating that it

would always be a Sunday.

We choose not to become embroiled in the debate, but let each follow their

conscience and understanding of the Word of God by the revelation of the

Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). We may not have the definitive answer on this

until we reach heaven!

Yeshua was resurrected on the Feast of First fruits, right after the Shabbat

(Sunday starts the evening before just after the seventh day shabbat).

In Hebrew, it is called Yom Rishon, (the first day of the week). Yeshua was

our example, by being raised from the dead, the First fruits (Bikkurim) of

those who will also be raised up into new life (1 Cor. 15:20, 23).

4) SHAVUOT: This agricultural festival is associated with the giving of the Torah

on Mount Sinai. It is also called the Feast of Weeks, since it is celebrated not

on a specific date, but seven weeks after the beginning of the counting of the omer.

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Torah Scroll

In Greek, called Pentecost, (meaning 50 since it falls on the fiftieth day) it is the

time when the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon the apostles who

awaited this fulfillment of the promise.

5) ZICHARON TRUAH: The first day of the seventh month is not the Biblical New

Year (Rosh Hashanah) as is the traditionally held Jewish belief. It is a day

of ‘remembrance’ or a memorial (zicharon) accompanied by raising a sound or blast (truah).

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The sound can be produced by raising human voices or blowing the shofar (ram’s horn)

or silver trumpets. Exactly what we are to be remembering is somewhat obscure.

It is perhaps the advance alarm call for the next feast which is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

A truah usually signals an alarm or call to pay attention to a command. It is a call

also to self-examination leading to repentance. "Blessed is the people who

know (discern) the truah (the significance of the call); O Lord, they walk in the

light of your countenance." (Psalm 89:15,16)

If the Lord leads you this Shabbat, you can click here to support Bibles for Israel

6) YOM KIPPUR (Day of Atonement): This tenth day of the seventh month is a

‘shabbat shabbaton’ – a Sabbath of Sabbaths.

It is to be a total cessation of any labor, but in distinction to a regular seventh day shabbat,

which is a time of joy and feasting, this ‘shabbat shabbaton’ is a day to fast and afflict our souls.

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Saying prayers of

repentance on Yom Kippur

The Hebrew word for afflict here shares a root with humility. Anyone who refuses

to afflict their souls on this day is cut off from the people of Israel. As we afflict

ourselves through denial of food and drink, we identify with the afflicted of this

world and are spurred to greater mitzvot (good deeds) towards those who are

homeless, hungry, and poor.

Isaiah tells us that this is the fast which is acceptable to the Lord, not to merely

fast out of custom or ritual without changing our hard-hearted ways. (Isaiah 58)

Kippur comes from the root kapar, which means ‘to cover’. On this day, we

remember Yeshua who gave His life for a kaparah. His blood ‘covers our

transgressions.’ It is not a sacrifice that we should treat lightly.

7) SUKKOT/Feast of Tabernacles (Booths):After repentance on Yom

Kippur, this appointed time is for joyous celebration.

For seven days, starting on the 15th day of the seventh month, we are to

live in Booths (temporary dwellings) and rejoice before the Lord.

This festival is a memorial of the time the Israelites dwelt in sukkot in

the wilderness after God delivered them from Egypt. It reminds us that

even in a desert wilderness, God provides our needs.

Sukkot is a communal celebration, in which all members, young and old,

participate in the construction of the Sukkah (booth).

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Sukkah in Israel built in backyard next to pool

Some believe that it is at this time that Yeshua was born as a child,

Immanuel, God With Us. The Sukkah is also a picture of the covering

and protection that God gives us. The scriptures say that in times of trouble

He will hide us in His Sukkah. (Psalm 27:5)

Sukkot also points to the Messianic Age. Seven is the number

representing fulfillment or completion. God created the earth in

six days, but on the seventh day, He rested and said, “It is finished.”

This seventh feast will be fulfilled when the Messiah returns and

‘tabernacles’ with us. "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men,

and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people and God

Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away

every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow,

nor crying. there shall be no more pain, for the former things have

passed away." (Rev. 21:3-4

What joy awaits us in that day. We know that our current afflictions

are only ‘light and momentary’ in comparison to this eternal weight of glory.

Are God’s appointed times abolished? Sukkot proves that they are not.

For when the Messiah returns to win a victory for Israel against all the

nations who have come against her, all the survivors of the nations will

be commanded to keep the Feast of Sukkot. In Zechariah 14, it says that

all the nations who refuse to keep the Feast of Sukkot will be cursed with drought.

The annual cycle of Moadim (feasts) is like a circle; one can join at any point.

Jump in at any point, find others to celebrate with you, and remember the

greatness of our God.

Bibles For Israel | P.O. Box 8900 | Pueblo, CO 81008

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