The feasts of the LORD, (YAHWEH) which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.” Leviticus 23:2
The Feasts of YAHWEH are perhaps the most misunderstood element of Scripture. Many Christians have casually dismissed the feasts as products of Hebrew culture that have been fulfilled in the Messiah. While this is true in a certain sense, the feasts never less remain an integral part of the Scripture and are part of His people. Not to understand the truth about these feasts is ignorance we cannot afford to keep. It is exerting a cost upon the Ekklesia that we can longer afford to carry.
I sincerely believe that the reason why the Ekklesia has never experienced the fullness of the presence and power of YAHWEH is because these feasts are the key. The reason why the Messiah, the Apostles and early believers were so successful at the mandate of the Kingdom is because they ALL understood the reason for the feasts, so they observed the feasts. Join me now as we go through this series of lectures (studies) on the Feasts of YAHWEH.
The Feasts (Moedim)
The Torah teaches eight feasts that we are called to observe. They are,
They are listed here in Leviticus 23:1-44
The number eight stands for “surplus” above the perfect seven. Thus, it means eternity. These feasts are all eternal by nature.
The feasts of YAHWEH come in clusters are often amalgamated (combined) into three main feasts because they are tied to the agricultural cycles of Israel i.e. spring summer, fall and winter. They are commonly referred to as:
PASSOVER (PEASCH)- Peasch, unleavened bread and first fruits
TABERNACLES (SUKKOT) Yom Teruah, Yom HaKippurim and Sukkot
The first three feasts occurred in the spring during an eight-day period.
The second feast Shavout comes by itself fifty days after the waving of the First Fruits in the early Summer. Many know this feast by its Greek name Pentecost meaning fifty
It is also sometimes called the Feast of Weeks. (Exodus 34:22)
The long dry summer culminated in a collection of the three final feasts that occurred in the fall. These later feasts cover a period of 21 days, which are collectively referred to as the fall feast or Tabernacles.
These three cluster or groups of feasts generally correspond to the three divisions of the Temple area.
These three divisions also help us to see three roles played by the Messiah
The number three is very significant in the Scripture. It stands for completeness or perfect testimony.
I have six main points to say about these feasts.
1 The Torah calls these feasts, the feasts of YAHWEH. This is very important! These are not Jewish feast or Israelite feasts but they are YAHWEH’s feasts. Many have made the graven mistake of calling these feast Jewish or Israeli feasts.
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the LORD, (YAHWEH) which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.” Leviticus 23:2
2 The Torah commands ALL Israelites to observe these feasts. They are appointed by YAHWEH!
“These are the feasts of the LORD (YAHWEH), holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.” Leviticus 23:4
The Messiah clearly observed these feasts. See Mathew 27:17, Luke 2:41-2, John 5:1 The Apostles and early believers observed these feasts. Saul instructed in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 to celebrate the festivals “with sincerity and truth.” Saul himself clearly observed these feasts. See 1 Corinthians 16:8 and Acts 20:16 Therefore, we too are required to celebrate these feasts.
3 The Torah commands that these feasts are to be observed FOREVER. YAHWEH places the observance of the feast in Leviticus 23 along side the weekly Sabbath. In fact these feasts are a Sabbath as the word Sabbath is plural in the Scripture.
“Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” Leviticus 23:3
During the millennium these feasts will be kept as a memorial or a reminder of what our Master Yahushua has done for us.
4 The Torah commands that these feasts are to be kept HOLY (qodesh). The feasts are called Holy (set apart) convocations. The Prophet Isaiah spoke against Israel because they had profaned YAHWEH’s feasts by not keeping them set apart.
“Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies; I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.” Isaiah 1:13-14
That is why Saul said that we are to keep the feasts with sincerity and truth.
5 The Torah calls that these feasts CELEBRATIONS. The word “moedim” actually means a celebration or a festival because they are associated with the agricultural harvest of Israel. In other words these feasts are tied to the land. They unfold YAHWEH’s plan for His creation. They all involve sacrifices and offerings, which come from the land. They are meant to be holidays for His people.
6 The Torah calls these feasts REHERSALS. The word convocation comes from the Hebrew word “miqra” which also means rehearsals. Exodus 12:16 When we celebrate them we rehearse or depict our entire walk with YAHWEH. The Passover (Pesach) speaks about personal redemption, Pentecost (Shavout) infilling of the Spirit and Tabernacles (Sukkot) restoration of the Kingdom.
What these feasts (Moedim) were designed or created to do.
1 They convey spiritual truths.
The Scripture teaches first the natural then the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:46-50.
These feast are rich with spiritual truths that are conveyed to us in natural settings.
They convey principles and laws of sowing and harvest.
2 They create the identity of YAHWEH’s people.
These feasts become the culture and traditions of His people, they were designed to make Israel a special people. In Number 23:9 Moses said this of Israel “For from the top of the rocks I see him, And from the hills I behold him; There! A people dwelling alone, Not reckoning itself among the nations.”
3 They are sacred signs marking out YAHWEH’s true people.
The words “appointed season” in Leviticus 23 also conveys the picture of an assembly of people who are set apart. When we observe these feasts we become signs to the world that we belong to YAHWEH because He has marked us out.
4 They are designed to be road marks.
The Scripture speaks of ancient road marks that the remnant will come to see as there way back into Israel. See Ezekiel 37:16, Jeremiah 6:16; 31:20-21 These feasts were created to be road marks to point the remnant back to our identity as true Israelites. Countless non-Jews are returning to keep the feasts because they see the ancient road marks.
5 They are designed to heal and restore.
The Passover was designed to heal us (Israelites) spiritually and physically, Pentecost was designed to empower us and Tabernacles was designed to restore to us the authority of the Kingdom. This also applies to healing the divide between the house of Yahudah and Ephraim.
6 They are designed to point us to the Messiah.
All of the feasts speak about Yahushua and His life. They foreshowed our Messiah and what He would do for us. These feast were all fulfilled in His life, death and resurrection but they were not abolished. Something I will explain next.
Many Christian Scholars argue that the feasts were fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah Yahushua; therefore, we are no longer required to observe them. Further more they argue that the feasts are types pointing to the Messiah’s life and work, which have all been fulfilled. Yahushua is the sacrificial lamb that satisfies all of the feasts requirements. What does the Scripture teach?
The answer to this question is both Yes and a No. Yes in that Messiah Yahushua is our sacrificial lamb and therefore we have no need of another sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 9:26-28; 10:1-26) Yahushua has fulfilled all the sacrificial laws to their fullness. But NO YAHWEH’s feasts are not abolished because of six irrefutable reasons:
First they foreshadow Israel’s Messiah (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1). He is the very substance to which they point. While such yearly sacrifices could never make men perfect (as can His shed blood). We never the less cannot separate these shadows from their substance, for they will then cease to be shadows.
Second the feasts are clearly foretold as being continued in the millennial reign. Both Zechariah and Zephaniah and many of Israel’s prophets, foretold the restoration of the feasts in the Millennial Kingdom. Zechariah 14:16-21, Zephaniah 3:18 See also Lamentations 1:4-7, Ezekiel 45:17; 46:3
Third the feasts we saw earlier in Leviticus 23 are an eternal decree because they are placed alongside the Sabbath as everlasting. Anything eternal in Scripture cannot be abolished but certainly it can be fulfilled.
Fourth the word fulfilled does not mean that it is abolished. Take for example Christmas, which Christians observe as the day of Christ’s birth. Just because it is fulfilled does not mean it is abolished. Otherwise why should they continue to observe it? Similarly all American celebrated the 4th of July as their independence day, which was fulfilled in 1776 but it does not mean that it is abolished therefore it can longer be observed?
Fifth the feasts are pivotal to Israel’s identity as a people and their apartness as the people of YAHWEH. I have already mentioned this point. The feasts are the culture and traditions that make Israel, Israel! These feasts are an integral and essential factor for their continued existence as a nation and as a people. Speaking Hebrew does not make you an Israelite but observing Hebrew culture clearly does.
Sixth the Messiah clearly observed these feasts as I have shown and the Apostle Kepha (Peter) tells us, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 Saul also said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthian 11:1 If it were not a requirement that we observe these feasts, the Messiah would have clearly have told us And He himself would have been the first to set the example by not observing them.
To arrive at a Scriptural understanding of these feasts we need to start with why we need to observe the Sabbath from a Hebrew perspective. This will be my topic next week.
In our last lesson of the Moedim of YAHWEH we learnt that there are eight eternal feasts that we are all required to observe. These feasts we saw has six divine purposes that make them essential for us to keep them. Today I will be teaching on the first of these feasts called the Shabbat (Sabbath) of which is the most important of the feasts because it is celebrated 52 times year, where as all the other feasts are celebrated once per year.
The significance of the Shabbat has been lost to the Church because the Church teaches that the Shabbat is been moved to Sunday. While there is absolutely no prohibition to anyone worshipping on Sunday or for that matter on any other day of the week, the Scripture certainly does not endorse “Sunday keeping” as the Shabbat. Church History and Church regulations may endorse the observance of Sunday, as the Shabbat but there is certainly no endorsement from the Scripture.
Before I begin I ask you to keep an open mind and heart as you receive these truths because what ever we do in life must ultimately be based on Scripture!
The Shabbat is a concurring weekly feast being celebrated on the seventh day of the week, which according to both the Jewish and Gregorian calendar is Saturday. The Shabbat begins on the eve of Friday evening when the sunsets and ends the following day, Saturday evening when the sunsets. In other words from sunset to sunset, a period of 24 hours. This measurement is according to the count of Genesis One when YAHWEH created the earth in six days.
The Shabbat is the first feast listed in Leviticus 23 because its principles and truths are foundation of all the other feasts. The Shabbat thus depicts eight powerful truths of the Scripture that sets it above the other feasts:
1 First it depicts the FATHERS joy of the finished creation. When the Father had finished creating everything including man He said on the last day of creation, “then God (YAHWEH) saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31 On the last day of creation YAHWEH rejoiced and said that everything was “1very good.” When we honor the Shabbat we directly partake of the Fathers Sabbath joy.
2 It depicts the eternal rest that is in the FATHER. When YAHWEH had finished creating He rested on the Shabbat. “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Genesis 2:2 This predates the rest of the execution stake of our Messiah, which tells us that true rest is in the Father. That is why Yahushua teachings always pointed us back to the Father. However, the stake (cross) points sinners to redemption sacrifice of Yahushua where they find rest from their sin. When we honor the Shabbat we enter into the Sabbath rest of the Father.
3 It depicts the firstborn blessing of the FATHER. “The double portion.” When YAHWEH finished creation in six days, He blessed the Shabbat day above the rest of the days of the week. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3 The principle of the first born blessing, the double portion comes from this verse. All the other days were called good but after the last day of creation YAHWEH declared it as a very good day. When we keep the Shabbat we enter into the double portion that is unlocked by keeping the Shabbat.
4 It depicts the apartness of the FATHER. In that same verse Genesis 2:3 the Shabbat was set apart as a day removed from the rest of the days. Meaning it was installed as the higher day of the week. It was elevated as special or divine because it was “sanctified.” This is a picture of who YAHWEH is; He is set apart or Holy. When we esteem the Shabbat we partake of His divineness and we become like Him set apart from the rest of His creation or what we call the world. The Seventh day becomes our eternal sign. Exodus 31:13
5 It depicts the perfection of the FATHER. The word Shabbat in Hebrew does not mean rest but it means seven or the seventh days. The number seven means perfection and completeness. It appears 600 times in the Scripture. The meaning of perfection here is not being sinless or spotless as we commonly understand it to be but it means becoming like our FATHER YAHWEH. YAHWEH kept the Shabbat, we therefore become like Him when we too observe the Shabbat. Yahushua said ‘that we are to be perfect just as our FATHER in heaven is perfect.’ Mathew 5:48 Being perfect means observing the commandments and it begins by observing the Sabbath.
6 It depicts the FATHERS eternal seal of creation. The seal of creation is the number seven. YAHWEH has stamped His creation with the number seven depicting His mark of ownership. There are many cycles in nature that run on the calendar of seven days and many biological facts of nature are stamped with the number seven. When we honor the Shabbat we acknowledge the sovereignty of YAHWEH over His creation. We affirm His ownership over our bodies, soul and spirit and what we have in our possessions when we keep the Shabbat. It is also the mark of an obedient and humble person. Humility scripturally speaking is tested by the observance of His commandments. Deuteronomy 8:2 Moses became the most humble person on earth because he kept the commandments If you want to be humble then keep the Shabbat.
7 It depicts the millennial reign of the FATHER. We know from the teaching on the name of YAHWEH that when the Yahushua returns after the tribulation He will come as the FATHER and He will reign as YAHWEH. We know from Scripture that the seven thousand year is also a picture of the seventh day, as one day to YAHWEH is as one thousand years. 2 Peter 3:8 Church scholars agree that that we have entered or are about to enter into the seventh day, the millennial Shabbat when Yahushua returns. When we keep the Shabbat we keep alive this promise that He will come to reign with us. I personally believe that Messiah will return during the seventh feast, which is Tabernacles on the Shabbat. It is a Jewish practice that a seat is left blank at the table during the Shabbat incase the Messiah returns.
8 It depicts the seven blood sufferings of the Messiah. The Messiah spilt His blood seven times for us. The first time the sacred blood of Yahushua was shed was in the garden of Gethsemane, where our Saviors sweated blood. This represents provision for our mental and emotional healing. The second time was when Yahushua was beaten and struck and his beard plucked by the temple guards. This represents provision for peace and joy at all times including times of mistreatment and persecution. The third time was when He was crowned with thorns. This represents a provision for the fruits of our labor. The fourth time was when He was scourged on His back. This represents a provision for our physical healing and well being. The fifth and sixth time when Yahushua shed his blood was when His hands and feet were nailed to His execution stake. The nailing of the hands represents a provision for our worship and the nailing of the feet represent a provision for our service to YAHWEH. The final time when the sacred blood of Yahushua was spilt was when the spear was plunged into His side. This represents a provision for the sanctification of our inner being. When we honor the Shabbat we come under the blood.
The Shabbat is not legalism
Observing the Shabbat should not be regarded as a work of law or as a burdensome command that YAHWEH has dealt out on our lives. It is instead the FATHERS gift to His people and it is the blessed gift that most Christians have missed. But to be fair some have missed opening this delightful gift because the package was wrapped up in legalism, tied with the ribbons of bondage and presented as Jewish package.
The Shabbat predates the Law of Moses by three thousand years. It began as we saw from the time of Genesis and was observed by the Patriarch’s and prophets prior to Moses day. The Shabbat is a covenant commandment upon all of Adams descendants. When Moses came on the scene he merely received a codified version of the Shabbat (made into a law) as part of the Ten Commandments but prior to this it has always been part of the FATHERS requirements for ALL mankind and later His set apart people.
Most Christians believe in keeping the Ten Commandments but however they find it most difficult to reconcile the 4th commandment.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD (YAHWEH) your God (el). In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD (YAHWEH) made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD (YAHWEH) blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11
We know from History that the Shabbat was moved from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week (Sunday) by a decree of Rome in the year 321 A.D during the reign of emperor Constantine who himself was not a Christian but was supposively converted on his death bed. This decree made it illegal to worship or pray on Saturday and if you were caught breaking this law you were killed. It is not the purpose of our study to investigate the reasons why this was done but it is suffice to say that there is no commandment in both the Old and New Covenant that Sunday be kept as the Shabbat. This is where the controversy remains unsolved with the Church.
The keeping of the Shabbat does have its “lawful boundaries” but they are there for the purpose of making this day special and joyful rather than to restrict your movements or your freedoms. It is the traditions and customs that come from the Talmud, the Jewish interpretation of these laws that has created the bondage. YAHWEH said that we are to keep the Shabbat as a “delight.” Listen to these solemn words from the prophet Isaiah,
"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD (YAHWEH) honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD (YAHWEH); And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD (YAHWEH) has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14
Twice in these passages Isaiah gives us the message that we are to keep the Shabbat as a delight. This attitude of keeping YAHWEH’s commandments as a delight is beautifully reflected in these words of King David. In Psalm 119:24 David said “Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.” In Psalm 119:35 he says, “ Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.” Again in Psalm 119:77 “Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.” In all of these passages the keeping of the law was not a burden to king David but a great delight. Therefore we need to understand what this word delight means or implies if we are to achieve the purpose of keeping the Shabbat.
This word delight has many meanings. It has all of the following elements in it, joy, love, peace, hope, mercy, favor and prosperity. But above all of these things one attribute stands out the most in Scripture concerning how we should keep the Shabbat as a delight. To answer this we need to turn again to the prophet Isaiah.
The supreme attribute
The prophet Isaiah painted this portrait of the Messiah. He said,
“His delight is in the fear of the LORD (YAHWEH), And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears…” Isaiah 11:3 In another passage Isaiah said, “Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the LORD (YAHWEH) is His treasure.” Isaiah 33:6
The distinctive mark of the Messiah delight is His fear of YAHWEH!
There are many options in our set apart life but one thing that is certainly not optional in our walk with YAHWEH is His Fear. We are commanded to fear YAHWEH!
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mathew 10:28
When we keep the Shabbat we demonstrate this fear of YAHWEH in our lives. This fear is not the religious fear or demonic fear that is commonly known in Church circles but this fear is a PURE or clean fear as seen in this passage.
“The fear of the LORD (YAHWEH) is clean, enduring forever…” Psalm 19:9
Proverbs 8:13 defines for us what this fear is, “The fear of the LORD (YAHWEH) is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”
A closer examination of the Hebrew word “tahowr” which we get the word fear in this passage means “moral purity.” A purity or cleanness that comes ONLY by observing the commandments. Recently a pastor asked me how do we become Holy? You start by keeping the first commandment of Eden the Shabbat!
The question that now beholds us is how then do we keep the Shabbat? Or specifically what should we do on the Shabbat? Next week I will explain this and give you an Israelite guideline of keeping the Shabbat.
In last weeks lesson we looked at the first feast of the eight feasts of YAHWEH.
I listed eight truths of why YAHWEH gave us the Shabbat and why we need to observe the Sabbath. We also learnt that the Shabbat is an eternal commandment of YAHWEH predating the Law of Moses by 3,000 years. A commandment given to all descendants of Adam descendants but was later changed by a man. We saw that YAHWEH requires us to keep the Sabbath not as a legal matter but as a delight by cultivating the fear of YAHWEH in our lives.
In this lesson I will start by briefly looking at the issue why most Christians believe that we are no longer required to keep the Sabbath and then conclude our lesson by answering the question I posed at the end of last weeks lesson; how we should keep the Sabbath?
Was the Shabbat nailed to the cross?
There are four passages of Scripture that is commonly used here to validate this argument. First the passage in Mathew 5:17 concerning Yahushua statement that He came fulfill to the law therefore it was abolish and the passage in Colossians 2:14 and 16 where Saul states that the law was nailed to the execution stake (the cross) therefore no one can now judge us on the basis of observing a festival, Sabbaths etc. Finally in Romans Saul teaches that we are not under the law. Romans 6:14
Five factual arguments are poised against this argument that make it an impossible understanding therefore an incorrect position.
First the weight of Scriptural references supporting the observance of the Sabbath is overwhelming. There are more than 500 references in Scripture supporting observing the Sabbath. There is not one dissenting reference commanding that the Sabbath no longer be observed or that it was changed to another day. A man in New Zealand posted a sign along the main road outside his house and continues to this day saying that he would pay anyone 1 million dollars if they could prove to him from the Scripture that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. So far no one has been able to prove otherwise.
Second it is a direct Commandment of Scripture. It appears as the fourth commandment in the Ten Commandments.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD (YAHWEH) your God (el). In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD (YAHWEH) made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD (YAHWEH) blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11
Commandments in which most Christians believe we must honor except one because it was fulfilled in the Messiah. Is this true? This brings me to my third point.
Third Yahushua did not teach that the law was done away but to the contrary reinforced the keeping of the commandments. He said, "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19
The word fulfilled in Mathew 5:17 does not mean, “destroy” or “done away” as Christian clergy have taught. The word “fulfill” in the Hebrew and Aramaic text means, “to correctly interpret.” Hence why Yahushua in His Sermon on the Mount then proceeded to give the correct interpretation of the law. Notice how He did it. He contrasted the old meaning of Moses law with its true meaning. "You have heard that it was said to those of old….” Matthew 5:21 and "But I say to you….” Matthew 5:22 etc He repeats this format throughout His sermon clearly revealing the correct interpretation of the law and disproving this falsity that He came to do away with the law.
The implication of the law being done away is an illogical falsity. How can Yahushua teach that he did not come to “destroy the law” then conclude that He will “do it away” by fulfilling it so that we no longer have to keep it? Mathew 5:17 If it meant this then it would clearly destroy the purpose and meaning of the passage. Yet we persist with this erroneous interpretation because the old nature in us does not want to submit to the Law of YAHWEH.
Fourth Saul taught the observance of the Commandments and he taught others to observe the Commandments. Saul said that the law, (meaning ALL of the law) is “just and good.” Romans 7:12 Therefore He commanded the ecclesia, that they keep the feasts. “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:8 Saul therefore cannot be implying that the 4th commandment is not valid because he will then contradict his own teaching.
Saul’s letters have been misinterpreted from its true meaning. The misinterpretation of Saul letters stems from the fact that the word “law” as it is used here in the King James has a single meaning. It refers to all of the commandments of the Old Covenant including the Ten Commandments. Where as the Hebrew and Aramaic texts clearly divide the term law into its two proper distinct groups. The oral law compromising of the traditions and customs of Israel that came from the centuries of Rabbinical interpretations and the written law that YAHWEH gave Moses and the prophets which is embodied in the Torah.
These two passages of Scripture in Colossian 2:14 and 16 does not refer to the written law of YAHWEH but to the oral law of Israel. This is what Saul wrote was impaled (nailed) on the execution stake (cross) which is translated as “ordinances” in the King James version. This is also the law that Saul teaches we are not under “obligation” to keep in Romans 6:14. When the law is interpreted in this context Saul letters start to harmonize with the rest of Scripture. We often forget that Saul was a Pharisee who was brought up in the oral law of Israel, which he later counted as rubbish because he discovered the written law (Torah) of who is Yahushua.
Last YAHWEH Himself observed the Sabbath as did Yahushua, the patriarchs and the prophets. The disciples and the Church up to the year 320 B.C also observed the Sabbath. Why would YAHWEH observe the Sabbath then teach us to not observe the Shabbat? YAHWEH himself would then be guilty of breaking His own law. If one commandment according to this reasoning should fail then all of His commandments cannot stand. This is the reasoning of the James 2:10. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
Was Yahushua resurrected on Sunday?
Perhaps the greatest contention against keeping the Shabbat comes from the belief that Yahushua was resurrected on the first day of the week being Sunday according to these passages of Scripture. Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1 Thus, why Church scholars argue that the Church keep Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection.
A closer examination of the Scripture does not at all teach or imply that Yahushua rose on the first day of the week but rather He rose on the eve of the Shabbat. I quote an extract from the Focus on Jerusalem Library, which clarifies the problem.
“The problem appears easily resolved by a clarification of what Mark meant by "Sabbath". Along with the weekly Sabbath day, the Jews had other "Sabbaths" throughout the year, marking high holy days. In Matthew 28:1, the Greek should be translated, "at the end of the Sabbaths" - a plural word - noting that there had been more than one Sabbath the previous week. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was also considered a "Sabbath" (Leviticus. 23:6,7). This Feast is celebrated on Nisan 15, the day after the Passover (Leviticus. 23:5-6). Jesus was crucified on the Passover and Mark 15:42-43 notes that Joseph of Arimathea desired to take Christ's body down from the cross before the high Sabbath began. [Luke 22:1 and Matt 26:17 create confusion. Denotatively, the two Feasts are separate days. Connotatively, the entire period from Passover through the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is considered "Passover".]”
Yahushua was executed on Wednesday the 14th of Nissan. He was placed in the tomb just prior to sundown on Wednesday and spent his first full night and day in the tomb beginning on the 15th of Nisan, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. His body lay in the grave for three nights and three days after His execution, as He had prophesied in Mathew 12:40. Sometime after sundown Saturday evening (the start of Sunday), Yahushua rose from the dead. On Sunday morning, when the women went to the tomb with burial spices, they found the tomb empty. Sunday, as the "morrow after the Sabbath" after Passover was the Feast of First fruits (Lev 23:10-11; 1 Cor 15:20-23). In rising from the dead, Yahushua became the first-fruits of all those who die and yet will be resurrected to live forever.
While many are not convinced by this evidence, the alternative view does not in any way invalidate the keeping of the Shabbat nor does it validate Sunday as the Sabbath. The truth of the matter is that the Church would rather have us believe that they are a separate entity from Israel. Sunday keeping endorses the belief that the Church is a separate entity from Israel with it own Sabbath and festivals called Lent, Easter and Christmas. None of which are endorsed in the Scripture. Therefore, since the Sabbath is still valid how should we observe it since being mindful of the fact that the Jews have added on so many regulations making it a burden to keep?
The true Observance of the Sabbath
I believe that the matter of keeping the Shabbat is simple and straightforward if we are to take our guide solely from the written Torah. There are basically 7 Sabbath ordinances/regulations that we need to follow if we are to correctly keep the Shabbat, An ordinance being a rule for conduct. Here are the seven ordinances:
1. Prohibitation on earning income and labouring on the Sabbath day.
Exodus 20:8-11, 31:14-15 “not labour”
2. Prohibitation on causing others to work on the Sabbath day.
Exodus 20:10, 23:12 Jeremiah 17:22,24 “carry a burden out”
3. Prohibitation on food preparation and cooking on the Sabbath day.
Exodus 16:23, 35:3 “lighting fires”
4. Prohibitation on travelling on the Sabbath day.
Exodus 16:29 “Let every man remain in his place”
5 Prohibitation on entertaining others on the Sabbath day.
6. Prohibitation on self-gratification on the Sabbath day.
Leviticus 16:31, Isaiah 58:13 “from doing your own pleasure”
7. Prohibitation on war on the Sabbath day.
Ecclesiastes 3:8, 2 Kings 11:9, Chronicles 23:8 “a time of war”
There are however, exceptions to these rules but not the law of the Shabbat. These exceptions are permissible if and only if, they conflict with a higher law of the Kingdom. These higher laws being;
1. The higher law of Love.
For example doing good works on the Sabbath i.e. that is healing Mathew 12:10-12
helping your neighbour Mark 3:4
2. The higher law of Mercy.
For example Yahushua went to the house of the tax collector Mathew and he said go and learn what it means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Mathew 9:13
3. The higher law of Life.
For example Yahushua while going through the grain fields on the Sabbath did that which was unlawful but He replied by explaining how David and his men had eaten the forbidden bread of the temple because they were hungry. Mathew 12:2-4
4. The higher law of the Priesthood (Sheparding).
For example in the same Scripture above verse 5 Yahushua explained how priests work on the Sabbath yet they are blameless.
5. The higher law of Duty (to your Neighbour)
For example Yahushua explained that if a donkey got caught in a ditch on the Sabbath or it was thirsty we have a duty to rescue it. Luke 13:15 also if our neighbour got hurt we have a duty to help them as in the example of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:33 This higher law of duty includes all those services of which is life giving. For example rescue, emergency, medical, communications and travel.
A note on Customs and Traditions
We know that the Jewish people including the Israelite movement have there own customs and traditions on keeping the Shabbat. While there is no Scriptural Prohibitation on observing certain customs and traditions, it is never the less an option
that is open to preference and style but always with the understanding that what ever we allow, it must be within the confines of the Scripture.
Customs and tradition can be beautiful things but also can be things that bring hash bondage, so we have to be led by the Spirit of YAHWEH over these matters.
The notes that I have attached to this study are from Batya Ruth Wotten study of the Feasts. They are rich in prophetic pictures and declarations that I believe are truly inspired by YAHWEH. If you are led to keep the Sabbath in this manner then that is your decision rather than a rule or regulation.
Next week we study the feast of the Passover.
The Father Begins by Reading:
“You shall remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… For six days you shall labour, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labour, that you… may rest and … be refreshed” (Exodus 20:8; 23:12).
“Yeshua spoke to His Disciples and said, ‘Whoever continues to follow me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light which gives life.’” (John 8:12)
Seeking that “light” for “all Israel,” this night we light two symbolic candlesticks: One of “the stick of Ephraim,” and one for “the stick of Judah;” one to remind us to observe, the other to remember, the Sabbath day; one candle stands for Heaven and one for the Tanach (Old Covenant), one for the Brit Chadasha (New Covenant); one for faith and one for holy deeds; one for work and one for rest.
Father, we now put aside all our cares, and turn our hearts to You, as we enter into Your Shabbat, the rest You have ordained for our good. Truly, this is the day that you have made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Hadlekat Neirot (Lighting the Candles)
Mother or Daughter lights the candles and prays: Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha’olam, asher natan lanu et Yeshua haMashiach, ha’or la’olam. Who tikvatanu oobeeshmo nikranu le’heyot or lagoyim. Amen.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has given us Yeshua our Messiah, we are called to be a light unto the nations. Amen
O God of Your people Israel, You are holy, and You have consecrated the Shabbat, and called the people of Israel to be Your own. You have called upon us to honor Your Shabbat, and for love of Your people, Israel.
Almighty Father, we ask that You grant us, and all our loved ones, a chance to truly enter into Your rest on this Sabbath day. We ask that even as the candles give light to our home and family, so may Your Ruach haKodesh give light to our home and lives. Father, we ask that You make Your Presence known in our home, and that You bless our children with a knowledge of You. By Your grace may they always walk in the ways of Yeshua, our Living Torah and our Light. May you ever be their God and ours, O Lord, our Creator and Redeemer. Amen.
Family Member Reads a Scripture of Choice:
Hamotzi (Blessing of the Bread) Father Reads:
“Yeshua said, ‘I am the bread that gives life, whoever comes to Me will never go hungry and whoever puts their trust in Me never be thirsty’” (John 6:35).
Baruch atah Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha aretz, asher natan lanu lechem chaim b’Yeshua. Amen.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who Blessed us with bread, and gives us Yeshua, Who is the Bread of Life. Amen.
Kiddush (Sanctifying Prayer) Father Reads:
It was on Hoshanah Rabbah, the last day of Sukkot, that Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is continues to put his trust in Me, as the Tanach says, “Out of his innermost being shall continuously flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38)
Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu Melech ha’olam, boreh p’ri hagaphen. Amen
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, the Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Blessing of the Children:
Over the Sons the Father Prays:
Y’simchah Elohim k’Ephrayeem, v’keh M’nasheh.
May God make you a symbol of blessing as He did Ephraim and Manasseh.
Over the Daughters the Father (or mother) Prays:
Y’simech Elohim k’Sarah, Rivka, Rakhel v’leah.
May God make you a symbol of blessing as He did Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah.
Eishel Chayil (Woman of Valor):
Husband reads Proverbs 31:10-31 to his wife. (Or Scriptural Blessing of Choice.)
Ashrey Ha’eesh (Blessed is the man):
Wife Reads Psalm 1 to her husband (Or Scriptural Blessing of Choice)
All Sing the Sh’ma:
Sh’ma Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad. Baruch shem, k’vod malchuto, I’olam vah-ed. Amen.
Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Blessed e His Name, His Kingdom is forever, and forever more. Amen.
Father Gives Priestly Blessing:
Yevarech’cha Adonai v’yishmerecha
Yah-er Adonai panav elecha v’yechunecha
Yisaah Adonai panav elechah v’yasem lechah shalom.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause His face to shine upon and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath Peace)
Last week I concluded the teaching on the feast of the Shabbat. In that lesson I explained that the execution stake of Yahushua has not done the Shabbat away. The Shabbat it is as valid today as it was from the day it was first inaugurated in Genesis. We learnt that their are seven basic prohibitions (ordinances) that we are to follow when observing the Shabbat and their were five general exceptions to these rules.
In this lesson we will look at the feast of the Passover/Peasch. This feast is widely celebrated by both Jewish and Christian circles from different perspectives and understandings. Never the less it is the only feast at the moment where both circles are in agreement over its general truths. Before I discuss the Passover, it is important, however, that we understand the timing of the feasts of YAHWEH, if we are to know when to celebrate them.
The seven-month cycle of YAHWEH’s Moedim was regulated according to the appearance of the new moon. It is a cycle that began in the month of Abib (Spring or March/April) and ended in the month of Tishri (Fall or September/October). This first feast of the Passover was reckoned according to the appearance of the new moon. The new moon is called Rosh Chodesh.
Rosh Chodesh is in fact a Scriptural feast and it is celebrated every new moon with the blowing of sliver trumpets, sacrifices and feasting together according to the Scriptural command in Numbers 10:10. Also see Psalm 81:3. It is not listed as part of the seven feasts of YAHWEH in Leviticus 23 but is never the less an important feast. Trading closed for the day and Kings celebrated this feast with banquets. See Amos 8:5, 1 Samuel 20:5,6,24,29; 23:30-31, 2 Chronicles 2:24 The Priests had a new moon offering and then prophets were often active on this day. See 1 Chronicles 23:31, 2 Kings 4:23, Isaiah 1:13, Haggai 1:1, Ezekiel 26:1, 29:17,31:1, 32:1.
The reason why this feast is important is because it marks the start of the seasons. Psalm 104:19 affirm this, “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows when to set.” In other words the moon (yare’ah) divides the seasons and the sun (shemesh) divides the day. See also Genesis 1:14-16.The moon is our celestial guide to mark when to celebrate the feasts. It is during the appearance of the last crescent (at the start) of the moon and not the full moon that marks the first day of the new month.
The moons full cycle of illumination lasts a little over 29 days. Thus, we have our Scriptural months of either 29 or 30 days. The Gregorian calendar we have does not base its cycles on the moon. Also the Rabbinical Calendar that Jewish Israel use is based on the predictions of Rabbi Hillel of the 4th Century and have been proven to be out as much as two days. Many in Israel do not use this calendar for that reason.
The meaning of the new moon in Hebrew understanding is re birth. In fact the word “Chodesh” literally means renewed, signifying a new opportunity to start over again. This is what Yahushua meant by the new birth in John 3:3, being born again. Saul taught this principle of renewal in Colossians 3:9-10. A derivative of the word is found in Jeremiah 31:31 where we get term the B’rit Chadasha, or the renewed covenant.
In the millennium the new moon celebrations will be mandatory for all nations.
“And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD (YAHWEH).” Isaiah 66:23
During Ezekiel’s day there was a perverted attempt to honor the new moons (Ezekiel 45:17; 46:1-6) But Hosea said that YAHWEH would put a stop to them. Hosea 2:7-11
This prophecy was fulfilled during the period of Syrian-Greek persecution (the time of Maccabees) when the celebration of the New Moon was forbidden by Syrian law along with the Shabbat and circumcision. The Syrians knew that if the Hebrews did not observe Rosh Chodesh they would not know when the other feast would be.
Today YAHWEH is bringing back into Israel Rosh Chodesh because with out it we will not know when to celebrate His feasts. I had mentioned at the beginning that the Passover begins 14 days after the new moon is sighted in the month of Abib (Spring or March/April).
This feast is also called the day of preparation. It is one of two feasts that was not celebrated on a Sabbath but during the week, the other being the feast of first fruits. Therefore, this feast is not a traditional Sabbath in the sense that work was done and fires were lit on this day.
Observance of the Peasch (Passover) in ancient times was done according to the pattern given to Moses.
1. Families were to sacrifice a blameless lamb for their household. “…Each man is to take a lamb for his family. One for each household.” Exodus 12:3
2. The blood of the lamb was to be placed on the door posts and lintel of the house.
“They shall take some of its blood and place it on the two door posts and on the lintel
of the houses in which they will eat.” Exodus 12:7
3. When eating of the Passover lamb, families were to eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. “They shall eat the flesh on that night-roasted over the fire- and matzos, with bitter herbs shall they eat it.” Exodus 12:8
Our Father instructed Israel to sacrifice their Passover lamb on Abib/Nissan 14. They were to do this at Twilight, which begins at the ninth hour of the day, at 3.00 PM. This was the exact hour when Yahushua was sacrificed for us. Mark 15:33-37
YAHWEH commanded that Peasch be kept as memorial to all generations of Israelites. Exodus 12:42 For this reason the nation of Israel still keeps the Passover in the above manner. Forms of this practice have been adopted and adapted by the messianic movement as part of their celebration of this feast.
However, many have not understood the true significance of the Peasch and the fact that there is more than two Passovers needs to be clarified. The Passover of Moses is a different Passover from the Passover that Yahushua celebrated with His disciples and the one He promised He would later celebrate with them in His Millennial Kingdom. They all represent the one feast, the Peasch but they all have different applications.
What is to follow is an insight into the significance of these three different Passovers
and where we stand in regard to observing them.
The significance of Moses Passover:
1. It represents the passing of a people from a tribe to nation. The twelve sons Israel entered Egypt as a tribe of 75 persons (Exodus 1:5) and they left Egypt as a nation 3 million strong (including women and children.) (Exodus 12:3)
2. It represents the passing of a people from a status of childhood to adulthood. When Israel left Egypt they were now matured to receive YAHWEH’s eternal laws and ordinances. Through these laws and ordinances the presence of YAHWEH, which was then restricted to certain persons, could now abide with them as a people.
3. Its represents the passing of an age from bondage to freedom. In Egypt they became slaves under taskmasters and when they left Egypt they left, as free men under their own will.
4. It represents the passing of heavens judgment in the favor of the plaintiff Israel. Egypt was weighed in balance and was found wanting because of the way they had treated YAHWEH’s people. YAHWEH sent Israel into Egypt to save them and to be a blessing to the their nation but instead they beat them and cursed them.
5. It represents the passing of an eternal acquittal for the plaintiff Israel. Israel too was weighed in the balance and a pardon was offered to them because of the covenant YAHWEH made with Abraham. Thus the wrongs that were done against them were recompensed and fully compensated. They plundered the Egyptians. Exodus 12:36
6. It represents the passing of the mantle of leadership from the patriarchs to the Priests. Israel was now to be lead by a Kingdom of priests. Moses and Aaron are Levites from whom the line of the Priesthood was established. Exodus 4:14.
You might have noticed but these reasons all specifically have to do with Israel as a NATION and a PEOPLE. Therefore where does this place us in observing this Passover? The truth is we are not called to observe the Mosaic Passover until we have physically become part of the nation of Israel or the people of Israel. Moses Passover is in essence a national Passover for the nation of Israel.
Thus, YAHWEH knows that there are many others outside of Israel (who are non Jews but never the less Israelites) who would not be able to identify with this side of the Passover until they are re gathered into Israel. Therefore, He promised through the Prophet Jeremiah that He would make a new covenant with Israel that would embrace ALL Israel in a new Passover that would be called the Renewed Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-33
The Renewed Covenant Passover is the opposite side of the coin so to speak in regard to the Passover. Saul called this side of the Passover as “the substance” and the other side as “the shadow.” Colossians 2:17 It is impossible to separate a shadow from it substance. They are one and the same thing. If you remove the substance the shadow disappears.
Yahushua being our Passover lamb is the substance of the shadow of the Mosaic Passover lamb that was slain on this day. We know from Scripture and history alike that Yahushua fulfilled this feast to its exactness, dying on the day the Passover lamb would be slain by the Priests. On the other hand Barabbas the murder representing us was acquitted and was released as symbolic of the trespass goat that was released during the Mosaic Passover. See Leviticus 16:24
By this one sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12) YAHWEH has reconciled both Jew and Israelite and Greek to Himself (Romans 10:12) by removing the barrier of sin and death that separated both houses of Israel from each other Ephesians 2:14-18 and “the foreigner who joins himself to YAHWEH” (Isaiah 56:6-8)
Yahushua last supper meal was in actuality a Passover sedar. The Messiah said, “Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;” Luke 22:15 The format of this Passover is recorded for us in Mathew 26:16-18, 26-28 Most of us are quite familiar with how this Passover is celebrated, therefore, I will not outline its procedures here for us but I will proceed to explain its significance.
The significance of the Renewed Covenant Passover:
1. It represents the passing of an age from the prophets and the law to the age of YAHWEH’s divine favor. Mathew 11:13, Luke 16:16 The Apostle John said, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace (unmerited favor) and truth came through Jesus Christ (Yahushua).” This does not mean that the law and the Prophets were done away but it meant that the way that YAHWEH would now deal with His people would change.
2. It represents the passing over of a judgment that had been vetoed to that generation because of the sins of their forefathers. Yahushua arrived in Israel at a time when judgment was rip over the nation. The prophet Isaiah said that the Messiah would “offer them beauty (forgiveness and peace) for ashes (destruction).” Yahushua called their forefathers those who had murdered the prophets. Mathew 23:31-33 However, Israel as a nation was not rejected by YAHWEH as His chosen people, Saul confirms this in Romans 11:29
3. It represents the passing away of YAHWEH’s righteous anger against the house of Judah and Ephraim (Israel). Jeremiah and many other prophets had prophesized that YAHWEH would reconcile both houses of Israel back to Himself by re gathering them from the nations where He had scattered them because of His anger.
4. It represents the passing away of the Old Assembly of Israel that was constantly defeated by the gates of hell. Yahushua said that upon Himself He would rebuild a renewed Ecclesia (assembly not a Church) that will withstand the gates of hell. Mathew 16:18 This is the Remnant or elect that is to be re gathered back into Israel.
5. It represents the passing over of judgment for sin and transgression that is due to every sinner and transgressor of the Torah. By this one sacrifice the book of Hebrews tells us that, “He has appeared to put away sin” forever. Hebrews 9:26,10:12
6. It represents the passing of the order of the priesthood from the line of the Levites to Melchizedek. Yahushua is a Priest under the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:6 This is the priesthood of the renewed covenant who called to serve YAHWEH in this age and hour. Melchizedek means king of righteousness.
You might have noticed but all these reasons have to do with “a renewed ecclesia (assembly) of who is Israel whether they are Jew, Israelite or the foreigner that will become the remnant that YAHWEH has been preparing from the foundation of the Earth who will be serving Him in the Millennium.
For this reason Yahushua mentioned that He will not again partake of this Passover until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of YAHWEH. Luke 22:16, Mark 14:25 showing us a final Passover that would take place after the tribulation at the Marriage supper of the lamb and blessed are those who are invited to it. Revelations 19:9
This Passover is yet to come therefore we do not yet know how to celebrate it, until we are in the Kingdom. However, aspects of its truths are found in the feast of Tabernacles, which we will discuss later.
The significance of this Passover:
1. It represents the passing away of this age and the inauguration of the millennial age of the reign of our Messiah YAHWEH. Revelations 20:4,6
2. It represents the passing away of Satan’s rule of this world into the rule of YAHWEH’s remnant. Revelation 2:26-28, 5:9-10
3. It represents the passing away of our captivity to death and our release into eternal life. Hosea 13:14, 1 Corinthians 15:55, Revelations 21:7
4. It represents the passing away of the dominion of the flesh into the dominion of our glorified bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:53-57
5. It represents the passing away of the rule of earthly kings to the rule of King David. 2 Samuel 7:13-13, 1 Chronicles 22:10
6. It represents the passing away of the captivity of nature into restored state. Romans 8:20-21
For these reasons this Passover will be a Passover of great joy and festivity unlike the Mosaic Passover and Renewed Covenant Passover.
Next week we will look at the feast of Chag HaMatzah/Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzah) and Yom HaBirkkurim/Day of First Fruits (Birkkurim)
In last weeks study we looked at the feast of the Passover. We discovered that there are in fact three Passover taught in the Scripture. As Israelites or gentiles in Yahushua we are not called to observe the Passover of Moses but only the Passover of the New Covenant.
In this lesson we will look at the feast of unleavened bread and the feast of First fruits. It is important at this stage to remind you again that these are YAHWEH’s feasts and not Jewish feasts and that we are commanded to observe these feasts as memorials and rehearsals of what is to come.
The Feast of unleavened bread is called Chag HaMatzah in Hebrew.
The Feast of Chag HaMatzah
The Feast of Unleavened Bread started the day after the Passover on the 15th, (the Passover being on the 14th of Abib/Nisan.) Because the Passover lamb was roasted in a very slow manner, it was eaten during the first day of unleavened bread since it Hebrew understanding the day begins at 6.00 PM.
The Scriptural command for observing this feast is found in Leviticus 23:6-8.
“And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD (YAHWEH); seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 'On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 'But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD (YAHWEH) for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.'" Leviticus 23:6-8
This feast was instituted by YAHWEH so that Israel would remember eating the bread of haste, which they had prepared quickly as they left Egypt. There was no time to let the bread rise, so instead they were forced to eat it unleavened. In Israel the festival of Unleavened Bead is honored by removing all leavened items from one’s house. This has become a tradition in Jewish households and is called Bedikat Cahtmez.
In this tradition, the wife thoroughly cleans the house and removes all leaven, but she deliberately leaves behind some leaven, such as breadcrumbs for the children to find.
The father then leads them in a candle light search (symbolizing the Word) for leaven using a feather (Ruach Ha Kodesh) to brush the leaven onto the wooden spoon (the execution stake) dropping it into a paper bag, which is then discarded or burned. (Which depicts the price paid for our sin.)
1. First unleavened bread represents our Messiah Yahushua. Unleavened by life, He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Moreover His body was in the grave during the first days of the feast, He lay there, like a seed divinely planted, waiting to burst forth as the eternal bread of life. Yahushua Himself said, “I am the bread of life he who comes to me will never hunger.” He also said, “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” John 6:35,50
It is interesting that Yahushua was born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.”
2. Second unleavened bread speaks of a blameless life. Leaven of itself speaks of sin and all have sinned according to the Scripture. An unleavened life is a not a sinless life but a blameless life. This the Apostle Saul tells us we are called to be. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippines 2:14-15
This is in agreement with the Apostle Peter who said, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” 2 Peter 3:14
3. Third unleavened bread was eaten for seven days. This means we are called to be blameless from Sabbath to Sabbath. We are not to put on a spiritual face for our assemblies, then a different face for friends and families. Peter the Apostle in quoting the Torah said, “Be holy (set apart) for I am holy (set apart).” This is a stern warning against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees that Yahushua often condemned of which He called hypocrisy Mathew 16:6. There are also other types of leaven like dead ritualism, disbelief, humanism, worldliness, sensuality and legalism that we must also rid our minds of.
4. Fourth unleavened bread is also called the bread of affliction. In Deuteronomy 16:3 YAHWEH calls this bread, the bread of affliction. “You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.” The word affliction means, “to deprive ones self” or “cause one self to suffer.” This is precisely what our Messiah Yahushua did for us during the Passover and this feast of unleavened bread is sober warning to us that we too are called to suffer. In Mathew 20:22 Yahushua warns us that all who follow Him will be baptized with His baptism of suffering. Mathew 20:22 It is interesting that the Matzah is prepared with holes in it which depicts wounding from suffering.
5. Fifth unleavened bread was prepared in haste and the process was not completed. Yahushua sacrifice at Calvary is only the beginning hence, the Apostle tells us that we are to go onto perfection. “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2 These doctrines represent elementary teachings of our faith that we must all pass through but we cannot remain there, we must go on the deeper things of the Spirit. The fact that the bread was never completed represents this maturing phase that we must all enter into. The preparation of haste also speaks of taking hold of these truths and not turning back. Yahushua said that, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
6. Sixth unleavened bread speaks of a carefree life. Because the feast of unleavened bread is mixed up at its start with the Passover, an element of the Passover is intertwined into it because the Passover lamb was eaten during this feast. Hence the burden of sin that we once carried has been lifted off us and put on Yahushua. This is what Yahushua offered all who would come to Him, He said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Mathew 11:28-30 The unleavened bread is His yoke and burden that Yahushua mentions here that we need to exchange for heavy burden. The Matzah bread was a very light bread signifying the light yoke and burden of the Messiah that we now carry.
It is obvious that many of the representation shown above have been fulfilled in our Messiah Yahushua. Since we are not called to observe the Passover of Moses in that we are not physically in Israel, where do we then stand with this feast? As I have previously shown we are commanded to observe YAHWEH’s feasts including the feast of Unleavened Bread. However, NOT in the understanding of how Israel observed it but we are to observe it in the light of the revelation of what it stands for as shown above. There is old saying that goes this way, “you don’t throw away the baby with the bath water.” Thus you don’t throw out Torah because of this new understanding. We must keep the heart of the Torah and not its letter.
We are to eat unleavened bread for seven days, rid our houses of leaven and on the final day we are to make it a convocation “celebration or festival” as the Scripture commands but in this new light of understanding. This is also the same understanding we must apply to observing this next feast.
The Feast of first fruits is called Yom HaBikurrim in Hebrew. It was celebrated on the 6th of Sivan on first day of the week, a Sunday.
The Feast of Yom HaBikurrim
This feast is most often associated in the Christian Church with Easter. The problem with this is that most of us know that Easter is not a Scriptural term and is in fact pagan to the core because it originates from an ancient pagan cult called Ishtar. It is outside the scope of this study to look at this cult and it’s history, except to tell you that Easter, the Easter bunny and Easter eggs has absolutely nothing to do with the feast of Yom HaBikurrim.
The feast of First Fruits is celebrated in the month of Abib of which according to Scripture, the Father said Abib was to be “the beginning of months” which is to be the head of the year. Exodus 12:2 Literally the beginning of the new year. Jewish Israel instead celebrate the feast of Trumpets as the new year.
The Scriptural command for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:9-11.
“And the LORD (YAHWEH) spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD (YAHWEH), to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.” Leviticus 23:9-11
The day of Firstfurits is today celebrated in Israel shortly after Passover because there is no Temple in which the priest can wave the omer or sheaf or present the proper offerings and because the Passover and Unleavened bread overshadow it. Leviticus 23:11-14 tells us the kinds of offerings YAHWEH expects to have presented to Him on the feast of first fruits.
Of particular importance is what the priest did on this day. On the Day of Firstfurits the priest waved a sheaf of first fruits of the barley harvest before YAHWEH.
Let us now look at what the significance of this feast is for us today.
1. First the term “firstfruits” speak of the resurrection of our Messiah Yahushua. Yahushua’s resurrection is a type of harvest. It marked the beginning of our Fathers harvest season. In the book of Revelations Yahushua is referred to as the first born from the dead. “And from Jesus Christ, (Yahushua) the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.” Revelations 1:5 Saul in many of his writing also referred to Yahushua as the firstborn. Refer to Romans 8:29,23
1 Corinthians 15:20,23 and Colossians 1:18.
2. Second the feast of firstfruits represents the dead who were raised shortly after the resurrection. They are also firstfruits. We read of this in Mathew 27:52-53 “and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” This resurrection is depicted in the barley harvest that was bound together as presented as sheaves.
3. Third it represents Yahushua as being the first born of ALL things. He is first in every way. He is given first place in everything because everything thing is summed up in Him. This is the message of Ephesians 1:10-11,23. But interestingly in many other Scriptures we see this pattern.
· The firstborn of the Father Hebrews 1:6
· The firstborn of every creature Colossians 1:15
· The firstborn of Mary Mathew 1:23-25
· The firstborn from the dead Revelations 1:5
· The firstborn of many brethren Romans 8:28
· He is also the Alpha and the Omega Revelations 1:8
· The first and the last Isaiah 44:6
· The Beginning and the end Revelations 21:6
· He is also the head of the body Colossians 1:18-20
In a sense this feast speaks about new beginnings because it officially marked the beginning of the Hebrew year.
4. Fourth the feast of firstfruits speaks of the best fruits of the harvest. The first batch of the harvest was always considered to be the best. That is why YAHWEH commanded that the first born of a man and beast belongs to Him Exodus 13:2, 11-13, 22:29. Some of the first fruits were presented to the priest and Levites Leviticus 19:23-25, Nehemiah 10:34-39. All the first fruits were to be offered with thanksgiving and praise.
5. Fifth the picture of the priest standing alone and waving a sheaf before YAHWEH speaks of our Messiah Yahushua. Who is our priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 7:17 He alone represents us before our Father. He alone is our advocate or representative in heaven. The angels or Moses does not represent us in heaven only Yahushua being our high priest represents us.
6. Sixth the feast of firstfruits represents the spirit of giving. The firstfruits of the harvest was given to YAHWEH and His priests and it was not sold. Also part of the barley harvest of first fruits was set aside for the poor. This is in accordance with the Command of YAHWEH in Leviticus 19:9,22 Deuteronomy 24:19-22. Israel was commanded to leave the occasional forgotten sheaf and the gleanings of the harvest in the corners of their fields so that they could be used to feed the stranger, the fatherless, the widow and poor.
Again we see that all aspects of this feast is fulfilled in our Messiah Yahushua. Therefore, we keep this feast in the light of this understanding.
Next week we will examine the feast of Shavout or Pentecost.
In last weeks study we looked at the middle feasts of the spring, the feast of unleavened bread and feast of first fruits. These feasts are celebrated one closely after the other. The feast of unleavened bread is clearly a depiction of our Messiahs sinless life and our call to suffer as He suffered for us. The feast of first fruits is a about His resurrection and our promise of resurrection.
In this study we will look at the feast of Weeks, Shavout in the Hebrew and Pentecost in the Greek. This is the last feast of the spring feasts and was joyously celebrated because of its harvest aspect. This feast is called a high Sabbath (an ascension feasts), or in the Hebrew a Shalosh Regalim - one of the three required annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Deuteronomy 16:16, 2 Chronicles 8:13. We have a lot to cover in this lesson so I have dedicated this study to this feast alone.
The Feast of Shavuot
The word Shavout in Hebrew means Weeks, which comes from the Hebrew word “sheva”, the Hebrew word for the number seven, the number of completion and perfection. This feast is closely associated with the number seven. Seven weeks after the waving of the barley first fruits, Israel celebrated this feast in late spring. This feast is also called the feast of the harvest of the First Fruits. (Exodus 23:16, 34:22)
The Scriptural command for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:16-21
'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD (YAHWEH). 'You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD (YAHWEH). And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the LORD (YAHWEH) with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD (YAHWEH).'Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD (YAHWEH) with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD (YAHWEH) for the priest. And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.” Leviticus 23:16-21
In Christian circles this feast is called Pentecost from the Greek word fifty because it is celebrated fifty days, after the Day of First Fruits. In Hebrew this counting of fifty days is called “the counting of the Omer” or Seirat HaOmer in Hebrew or Sefira for short. See Deuteronomy 16:9. In the Church this feast is primarily associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Ruach Hakodesh) and the birth of the Church.
In ancient Israel this feast was celebrated with a holy convocation where all work would cease. During this feast Israelites males were required to travel to Jerusalem to present the required wheat offerings in the temple. Exodus 34:22-23 outlines the required offerings, which is one of wheat. In the feast of first fruits or Birkkurim the first fruit offering is Barley.
The primary feature of this feast in ancient Israel was the waving of the two loaves of leavened bread by the priest and the seven lambs of first year that were sacrificed by the priest. A special note the bread presented in this feast is leavened bread whereas the bread presented in the feast of unleavened bread is unleavened. I will explain the significance of this later.
In Israel today this feast is associated with the giving of the Torah. Since the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, the rabbis of that time decided to associate it with the giving of the Torah to ensure its long term survival. However, originally it was intended to be an agricultural festival, where the first fruit of the harvest would be presented to YAHWEH as an offering Leviticus 23:17-20.
1. First the two lambs and two leavened bread represent the two entities of Israel. The number two is especially associated in Scripture with the two fold division that occurred in Israel after the reign of Solomon 921 B.C where King David’s kingdom was split into two divisions. After that division we see throughout the Scripture the following representations:
2. Second the two leavened bread speaks of disunity of the two houses of Israel. In the Tabernacle of Moses the Father instructed Moses to prepare twelve unleavened loaves of show bread to be placed inside the tabernacle before Him on every Shabbat. Exodus 25:30 Leviticus 24:5-9 These twelve loaves were unleavened because they represented the unity of the twelve tribes. In this feast the disunity of the Israel is presented as a reminder before YAHWEH who is the only one who can unify the two houses of Israel. Leaven we know symbolizes sin and both houses have stumbled and fallen short over the one who brought the unity, our Messiah. Isaiah 8:14, John 2:22 Romans 11:25. It is these two houses that comprise the “ecclesia” in the Greek and “Kehela” in the Hebrew, which when correctly translated in the English is called the assembly or congregation.
3. Third the seven lambs that were sacrificed is a prophetic picture of a harvest of souls that would occur during this feast. In the feast of Passover a single lamb was sacrificed of which represented our Messiah Yahushua but in this feast seven lambs were sacrificed which represents the harvest of soul that would occur during Shavout after Yahushua had died. Yahshua said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24 The Scripture tells us that on the day of Shavout three thousand souls were added to the Kehela or Ecclesia (Assembly) because of Yahushua’s sacrifice.
4. Fourth the feast itself is a representation of the marriage contract that was originally made at Sinai. The first celebration of the feast of Shavout for Israel as a nation was at Mt Sinai. What happened at Sinai was preceded by a covenantal relationship between YAHWEH and Israel, a mutual commitment by the two parties pledging eternal faithfulness, in the form of a marriage contract, in which Israel is depicted as the bride and YAHWEH as the bride groom. That Marriage that took place at Mount Sinai between the children of Israel and YAHWEH was sealed with words, “we will do and we will hear.” Exodus 19:8 These words committed Israel to keep YAHWEH’s commandments, Statutes, Ordinances and regulations forever and to all generations. This particular feast resulted in the death of three thousand Israelites, of which is symbolic of following the law without the Spirit.
5. Fifth the feast also speaks of the renewing of the marriage covenant that was made at Sinai. Scripture records that Israel broke the Sinai marriage covenant many times but YAHWEH promised that He would not forsake His bride and that He would forgive them and renew His covenant with them. This renewing occurred during the feast of Shavout at 33 AD. At Sinai the terms of marriage contract, the Commandments was written on two tablets of stone by YAHWEH and the ceremony was officiated by the priest Moses. At Shavout 33 AD the Ruach (Spirit) came upon Israel and the law was written on the hearts of Israel by the Spirit of YAHWEH in fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:33-34. At this feast Peter the Apostle was the priest that presided over the ceremony.
6. Sixth the first fruits of the wheat harvest that was presented during this feast represents the first and the best of the harvest. Proverbs 3:9 &10 commands all Israel to honor YAHWEH with their substance and the first fruit of their increase. The feast marks the time when Israelites brought the whole tithe into YAHWEH’s storehouse, that there might be meat (physical and spiritual food) in His store house. Malachi 3:10 Therefore, He promised them that He would rebuke the devourer for their sake and pour out such a blessing that they would not be able to contain it. Malachi 3:10-11 The condition was that they would bring Him the best and the first of their harvest, the rest they did with as they pleased.
Many of the representation shown above were fulfilled on the day of Shavout or Pentecost. Thus, it is no longer necessary for us to celebrate this feast in the manner of which the ancients Israelites observed this feast. Many of the requirements, the offerings and sacrifices shown in this feast were done in the temple and by the Levitical priesthood of which were discontinued with the destruction of the temple.
However, some of the patterns observed in this feast have been adapted by both the Jewish and Israelite movement. These traditions are again purely mandatory and must be lead by Ruach Hakodesh. In the Israelite movement the waving of the two leavened loaves is performed by a leader or rabbi and an offering is collected on this day. Many of principals used in this feast, like the principle of first fruits and the principle of harvest are now practiced by Church.
Before I finish I would like to now briefly explain some of the controversies regarding certain understandings of what happened during this feast.
Some facts that we need to know and understand about Shavout
1. Shavout was always celebrated in the temple. The traditional belief that Ruach Hakodesh fell in the upper room is a misunderstanding of the Greek word “oikos”
which also means temple. It would not have been possible for Shavout to be celebrated in any other place other than temple because it would be against Torah. Deuteronomy 16:10-11 commands that this feast be celebrated on Mt Moriah where the Temple is located and frankly it is impossible for three thousand people to fit into an upper room scenario.
2. Shavout is the birthday of YAHWEH’s renewed Kehela or Ecclesia (Assembly)
Yahushua said that He would build a renewed Kehela. See Mathew 16:18 The Church claims that they are this renewed Entity and that Israel has now been replaced. It not possible that two assemblies were born on this day, it would be a violation of Scripture if YAHWEH would form a new entity during this feast. Basically this would mean that YAHWEH would have two brides and two chosen people, one called Israel and the other called the Church. This would clearly mean that YAHWEH is practicing spiritual adultery and He would be violating His own Word because there is only one chosen people and one bride.
3. Shavout is the place where YAHWEH renewed the great commission. The great commission of Mathew 28:19-20 was renewed during the feast of Shavout. In the Shavout of Sinai, Israel was given a divine mandate to take the Torah to all of mankind but they fell short of this task because of disobedience. Hence why YAHWEH then dispersed them but instead of fulfilling their task, they planted religion and legalism where they went. Thus, when Yahushua came He specifically instructed His disciples that they were to preach and teach the message of the Kingdom of YAHWEH Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Luke 4:43 A mandate that has not been completed to this day.
4. Shavout is not about the first coming of Ruach Hakodesh. The Spirit of YAHWEH has always been on the Earth from the beginning, we see His presence in Genesis, (Genesis 1:2) over the prophets and during Israel’s journeys. His presence on Earth did not begin another dispensation but it merely marked the turning of the Ruach from one house to both houses of Israel including the gentiles. The Spirit was given to so that the work of re-gathering Israel and the remnant could be accelerated to the four corners of the globe where YAHWEH had scattered His people and His remnant.
The essence of the commission is the reuniting of these Israel into ONE kingdom.
5. Shavout is not about speaking in tongues. Tongues was given as a sign that the Ruach Hakodesh had descended upon His people but the feast itself is not about speaking in Tongues. We know from Scripture that during this feast many Israelites and gentiles from all over the nations had converged upon Jerusalem (Acts 2:5-9), so when the Rauch came they heard them speak supernaturally in their native tongues, signifying that the Ruach would mend the disunity among mankind that had come from the division of towel of Babel, when YAHWEH had confused mans tongue. It is interesting that the same tongues of fire that was manifested at the 33 AD Shavout was also present at the Sinai Shavout Deuteronomy 4:36.
6. Shavout is not about the giving of the Torah. We know that only the Ten Commandments was given during this feast and that the five Books of the Torah was given much later and it was placed along side the Ark of the Covenant, whereas the Tablets of the Ten Commandments were placed inside the Ark. Deuteronomy 31:26-27 The Commandments are the actual terms of the marriage contract and is summed up in the two commandments that Yahushua gave us, which is to love YAHWEH with all of your heart and to love your neighbor as your self. Thus, if we love in this manner we also fulfill this feast.
Next week we will look at the feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
THE MOEDIM (FEASTS) OF YAHWEH
In our previous study we looked at the feast of Shavout. This is the last feast of the spring season and is a very popular feast in Israel. Shavout we saw in all of its essence was fulfilled during the feast of 33 AD, following the death of our Messiah Yahushua. Never the less we continue to celebrate this feast because of it foreshadows the reunification of all Israel and the final harvest at the end of the age.
In this study we will look at the of feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement
These feasts are called Yom Teruah and Yom HaKippurim in the Hebrew and are called the “High Holy (set apart) Days.” They are most solemn of all feasts in Jewish life because of what they imply. Their focus is on preparing Israel to meet YAHWEH their maker on the Day of Judgment. They were celebrated over a ten day period during the fall of the year.
These deciding days are often called the “Ten Days of Awe” in Hebrew understanding because they are times of self examination and self repentance. The Scripture teach us that it is “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Elohim).” In Psalms 67:4 and 96:13 we are told that YAHWEH will judge all the inhabitants of the earth most likely on this day.
These two feasts differ from the others in that they are not centered on agriculture.
These feasts occur in the month of Tishri (September/October) which is the seventh month of the Hebrew year. Seven is related to completion and this feast along with the Day of Atonement and Tabernacles completes the fall feasts which tell of the completion of our walk and the completion of the Fathers work on Earth.
The Feast of Yom Teruah
Yom Teruah means day of blowing hence why it is called the feast of trumpets or Zikron Teruach which means a memorial of blowing. Leviticus 23:24 The word “Teruah” means “a alarm, a signal, a sound of tempest, a shout of joy or a blast of war. Yom Teruah is the only feast that fell on the first of the month. It fell during the dark or the first silver of the new moon. All other feasts fell during the middle of the month during the time of the full moon when it was light.
In Jewish tradition this feast is also known as Rosh HaShannah meaning the head of the Year. In Israel this feast marks the beginning of there New Year however; this practice is not supported by Scripture. The Father said that the month of Abib Exodus 12:2 is the beginning of the year.
Judaism defends its position on two Scriptures in Exodus 23:16 and 34:22. A careful study of these Scriptures shows that they in fact refer to the end of the seven month long lunar cycle, which refers to the monthly rotation of the moon around the earth which marked the period of these feasts. It is suggested by Historians that this digression in Judah occurred during the Babylonian captivity where this feast became associated with the Babylonian New Year which occurred during this month.
The Scriptural command for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:23-25
“Then the LORD (YAHWEH) spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 'You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD (YAHWEH).'”
This feast is a Sabbath day therefore no work was permitted to be done on this day.
How this feast was to be commemorated is found in Numbers 10:1-10 Specifically the priests were to blow two trumpets made from sliver hammered work and they were to be used only to: Gather the Assembly (Verse 2), move the camp (Verse 5), prepare for war (Verse 9) and celebrate the feasts (Verse 10).
1. First the two trumpets represent the dual work of the Son and Spirit in proclaiming the goods news of the Gospel of the Kingdom. In the New Covenant we see this partnership unfolding in the life of the Messiah where He would not begin His commission until He was baptized with the Ruach (Spirit). Matthew 3:16 Likewise we see this same relationship unfolded when the Messiah commissioned His disciples. He instructed them ‘to wait for the Spirit if truth to come and after they were baptized by the Spirit of truth they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the Earth’ John 15:26, Acts 1:8 This commission occurred during the feast of Sukkot.
2. Second the two trumpets represent two Witnesses. We have already touched on this aspect during the last feast. What is significant here is that these two trumpets represent the two witnesses, which depict two voices (Revelations 1:10 Isaiah 43:10) In Isaiah 58:1the message of the trumpets is made known, “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.” Historically there have been two groups whom have been giving voice to the Earth concerning the above message; Jews and Christians. However, prophetically this is about to change as YAHW EH reveals to the Church her real identity in Israel.
3. Third the two trumpets foreshowed things to come. The trumpets were to be made of one piece of hammered sliver Numbers 10:2 which symbolize refinement and redemption. Hammered trumpets tell us of the Father molding process through affliction. The Father said of the two witnesses that ‘He would refine them (Jeremiah 9:7) in order to refine, purge and make them pure, until the end time (Daniel 11:35) and it will be like the refinement of sliver (Zechariah 13:9) so that Israel will be as an offering of righteousness (Malachi 3:3).
4. Fourth the two trumpets speak of the two fold message of the Torah. The first aspect of the Torah being its judgment (its law side) and the other being its pardon (its mercy side). What the Church calls law and grace. Our Messiah came to re-establish the law of YAHWEH and offer the pardon of YAHWEH. He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Mathew 5:17 In other words to correctly establish the Law. In another passage He also said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34
5. Fifth the blast from two trumpets speaks of the coming judgment of YAHWEH. The two trumpets were blown as a warning to Israel to consecrate themselves because they were about to meet their maker and judge. Yahushua being the trumpet Himself warned Israel that "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” John 12:48
6. Sixth the blast of the two trumpets speaks of the last trumpet before the Messiah returns. Many believe that the Messiah will return during the feast of trumpets.
In Christian circles this feast is most significant because of its association with the last trumpet. The Apostle Saul referred to the last trumpet as the moment where all believers will be resurrected, which is when the Messiah returns, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52
In Jewish households this feast is celebrated with the reading of the Torah. This practice comes from the time of Ezra when the Torah was read before the Assembly during this feast. See Nehemiah 7:73-8:1-6 Messianic Israelites also read the Torah during this feast and blew the two silver trumpets as a call to Ephraim and Judah to unite.
The Feast of Yom HaKippurim
Yom HaKippurim means Day of Atonement. The word Kippur means to cover, expiate, cancel, cleanse, forgive, pardon, to make reconciliation. This feast is about Israel having her sins pardoned or atoned through the offering of the sacrificial blood.
Leviticus 16 is entirely dedicated to the details of this feast. This feast was celebrated on Tishri 10 which corresponds to late September or early October in our Gregorian Calendar.
The feast of Yom HaKippurim is regarded as the most awesome day in the year.
It also fell on the Sabbath and no work was permitted to be done on this day but it was also considered to be more than a Sabbath in that it was a time to humble the soul. Leviticus 16:29-31. The word humble as used in this Scripture is translated from the word “anah” which means to abase, afflict or chasten. Most who honour this feast fast for 24 hours, from sunset to sunset, a celebratory meal was often eaten the day before Yom HaKippurim begins. In Acts 27:9 this feast is called “the fast.” However, how we should fast, should be led by Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit).
The Scriptural command for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:26-32
“And the LORD (YAHWEH) spoke to Moses, saying: "Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD (YAHWEH). "And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD (YAHWEH) your God. "For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people."And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. "You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings." It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath.”
The most astounding factor of this feast is the High Priest who was gloriously dressed on this day and the solemn work he did in the temple on this day. Only one time in the year was the high priest permitted to enter the most set apart place or the holy or holies and it was on this day. Two particular sacrifices were also made on this day, the unblemished goat that was sacrificed and the unblemished goat that was released on this day.
With the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD the animal sacrifices of which this feast was based were discontinued. Thus, Yom HaKippurim is celebrated in Israel today with many customs. Some customs that have been inherited through the ages include sacrificial prayers, avoiding washing oneself for pleasure and cohabitation, the wearing of leather shoes, anointing the body, avoiding any pleasurable practices.
One particular custom that men do is called Tashlich. In this custom men congregate around a pool of water where they symbolically empty there pockets and stones (representing sin) are cast into pool of water. This custom is based on Micah 7:19. Also during this feast many wear white as symbol of purity. As a tradition the book of Jonah is read at this time because of its theme of repentance.
1. First the High Priest who presided over this feast clearly represents our Messiah Yahushua. In the book of Hebrews Saul tells us “… Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:11-12 It is Clear that the High Priest in this feast represents our Messiah Yahushua.
2. Second the goat that was slain by the High Priest during this feast represents our Messiah Yahushua. After the high priest atoned for his own sins and those of his family by the blood of the bull (Leviticus 16:6, 11-14), the goat which had been designated for YAHWEH was brought to him. The high priest then slaughtered this goat, and its blood was used to purify the most set apart place. Saul clearly shows us who this goat represents: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrew 9:11
3. Third the goat that was released by the High Priest also depicts our Messiah Yahushua. This second goat is called the scapegoat and was not killed but was sent into the wilderness or desert where tradition states it was backed off over a cliff to its death. The goat was taken to a ravine, thought by some scholars to be a precipice about 12 miles east of Jerusalem. It was on this goat that the High Priest laid his hands and transferred the sins of Israel. Scripture tells us that Yahushua was both cut off from the land of the living and He was taken outside the camp. Isaiah 53:4-9, Hebrews 13:11-12 Thus, David wrote, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 Their is an alternative understanding to this position which I present in this next point.
4. Fourth the goat that was released by the High Priest may also represent the rebellion of Satan that led to mans downfall. The name of the goat that was released on this day is Azazel, which means “belligerent towards God (el)" or destroyer. In Hebrew Azazel also represents the rebellious Malak or angel that taught men the art of war and refining metals that caused YAHWEH to destroy the earth during the time of Noah. In the Apocrypha Enoch 10:8 YAHWEH “ascribes” or places upon Azazel the sins of men because he taught men to rebel against YAHWEH and to destroy each other. According to the book of Enoch Azazel is imprisoned in the desert in a place called the abyss until during the tribulation, where he will be released for a short time to destroy men then he will be cast into the eternal lake of fire forever? Revelations 9
5. Fifth the Golden Censor that was taken by the High Priest into the most set apart place represents the prayers of Yahushua and the saints. The temple had no windows therefore the High Priest had to use an artificial light, the Golden Censor to illuminate his way in the most set apart place; this caused smoke to rise in the chamber. The smoke from the Golden Censer represents the prayers of our High Priest Yahushua who is ever interceding for us. Psalm 141:2, Romans 8:34, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:24-25 1 John 2:1 It also speaks of the prayers of the saints. Revelations 5:8, 8:1-5 Any seasoned prayer warrior knows that it is prayer that will take us “behind the veil.” It is in Prayer that we find mercy and forgiveness.
6. Sixth the white linen garments that the High Priest dressed in represents the righteousness of Yahushua. This righteousness the Apostle Saul explains is imputed righteousness that comes only through faith in Yahushua. Romans 4:5, 10:10 Philippians 3:9 This is the summation of the Day of Atonement. It points us to the righteousness that comes by faith through our Messiah Yahushua and not by works of the law. Thus, we are able to understand David’s prayer “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalms 51:7
Again we see that all aspects of this feast are fulfilled in our Messiah Yahushua. Therefore, we must keep this feast in the light of this understanding.
Next week we will look at the last feast of Fall, the feast of Tabernacle of which will conclude our series on the Moedim of YAHWEH.
In our last study we examined the Feast of Yom Teruah and the Feast of Yom HaKippurim or what we call in English the feast of feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. We learn in that study that these two feasts are the most solemn of the YAHWEH’s feasts because of what they imply. Their focus is on preparing Israel to meet YAHWEH their maker on the Day of Judgment.
In this study we will look at the final feast of the seven feasts, the feast of Sukkot. Commonly known as the feast Tabernacles, Booths or Ingathering and less commonly known as the Feast of feasts of Nations or the Feast of Lights. Sukkot falls in the seventh month on 15th day of Tishri and lasts for seven days after the fall fruit harvest.
After the sober times of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, this autumn feast which came 5 days later was celebrated with much joy and festivities. Thus, Tabernacles is thought to be the feast of feasts. Tabernacle is one of the three great pilgrimage festivals called Shalosh Regalim in Hebrew, where all males are required to appear before YAHWEH in Jerusalem with an offering.
The Feast of Sukkot
Sukkot means a temporary shelter or abode hence why it is called a booth. The people of ancient Israel made these tabernacles from leafy branches and sticks. These booths were built every where-against walls, buildings, in open court yards, on roof tops etc (See Nehemiah 8:16)
The Father commanded that Israel celebrate this feast by dwelling in these temporary shelters for seven days. He wanted them to remember that their forefathers had to dwell in booths made from tree branches after they left Egypt.
The Scriptural command for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:33-43
“Then the LORD (YAHWEH) spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD (YAHWEH).'On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. 'For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD (YAHWEH). On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD (YAHWEH). It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. 'These are the feasts of the LORD (YAHWEH) which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD (YAHWEH), a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day; 'besides the Sabbaths of the LORD (YAHWEH), besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD (YAHWEH). 'Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD (YAHWEH) for seven days; on the first day there shall be a Sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a Sabbath-rest. 'And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD (YAHWEH) your God for seven days.
'You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD (YAHWEH) for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 'You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 'that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD (YAHWEH) your God.'”
This feast is also mentioned in Exodus 34:22. Why this feast is sometimes called the Feast of Nations is because of the prophecy of Zechariah, where Zechariah had spoken that this feast would be restored during the millennium and it would become compulsory for every nation to come to it or they would not have any rain. Zechariah 14:16. Note this prophecy refers only to those nations that are considered to be rebels against YAHWEH’s laws and not against those nations who keep YAHWEH’s law.
Why it is sometimes called the Feast of Lights is in commemoration of the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel by night. In ancient Israel women would light huge golden menorahs whose wicks had been made from the braided set apart garments of the priest that had been worn the previous years and then discarded. These menorahs shed enough light to illuminate the courts yards where the booths were built and the city of Jerusalem.
Among other traditions that were done during this week is a tradition called Simchat Beit Hashoeivah, the water drawing celebration. This tradition commemorated the drawing of the water from the rock at Horeb Exodus 17:1-7. It was also a prayerful appeal for winter rains that would water the crops and provide for a plentiful spring harvest. The priests would draw one jar of water for each day of the feast until the seventh day when seven priests drew seven jars of water. Each day the jar of water was poured on the Alter, while palm branches were waved and silvery notes were played by the priests. Others priest would recite certain Psalms and Isaiah 12:2-3 was chanted as the main dedication prayer.
Like most of the other feasts Sukkot also started on a Sabbath day, therefore, no work was permitted to be done on this day. However, work could be done over the next 6 days but generally people took the whole week off to celebrate Sukkot.
However, you might have noticed after the seventh day, on the eight day (See verse 36) YAHWEH set aside this day as another Sabbath day where no work was to be done. In Hebrew this day is considered a separate feast called Shemini Atzeret. I will explain this feast briefly at the end of this study.
1. First booths represent the temporal nature of our life on this earth. Indeed the teachings of our Messiah reminded of this truth. He said in Mathew 6:19-20 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” He also called the rich man who laid up for himself treasurers on this Earth “fool.” Luke 12:20.
2. Second booths represents our Messiah Yahushua who tabernacles with us on Earth. In John 1:14 it says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The word “dwelt” as used here is translated from the Greek word “skenoo” which means to tent or encamp in other words to tabernacle. The living word became flesh and tabernacles among us, just as it was foretold in the Torah and the Prophets.
According to another Jewish tradition a prayer was recited on the first day of the feast that says, “Glory to God in the Heavens and on earth peace and good will towards the earths,” These words are similar to the words spoken by the Malak or angel when Yahushua was born. Luke 2:14
3. Third the booths represent the birth of our Messiah Yahushua. We know from both the historical, Scriptural and astronomical records that our Messiah was born during the feast of Sukkot. Three principle proofs confirm this; first the timing of the duties of the priest Zacharia the father of John the Baptist confirm that Yahushua was conceived shortly after the term he served as priest in the temple, the date of his duties is known to Bible scholars. Luke 1:26 Second the Scripture confirms that there was no room anywhere in Israel for Mary and Joseph to stay because of this feast. Luke 2:7 and finally the Scripture confirm that a great star was seen in the heavens. Mathew 2:1-2 Astronomers have determined that a conjunction of three stars occurred during this period in the years 5 B.C to 7 B.C.
4. Fourth the alternative name for this feast, the Feast of Lights represents our Messiah Yahushua as the Light of the World. In John 9:5 Yahushua clearly revealed Himself as the light of the world. He said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." He then tells His disciples that they too are lights in this world. Mathew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.” The Apostle Paul understood this truth because he reminded the Kehela at Philippi that they are called lights in this world. “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:15
5. Fifth the priestly custom of gathering water to pour over the alter at this feast is representative of Messiah Yahushua as the water of life. It was during this feast that Yahushua said these words, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus (Yahushua) stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 It is a practice among Jews that on the seventh day of this feast that Psalm 118:25 is read, which is a cry for mercy. This is called Hoshannah Rabbah (the great Hossana) which is why Yahushua revealed Himself during this feast as the water of life.
6. Sixth the feast of Tabernacle as a whole speaks about the final harvest and Millennium reign of our Messiah. This feast was the last harvest of the year and generally was the greatest harvest. This prophetically foreshows the great harvest of souls that will happen prior to and during the tribulation. We see this harvest pictured here in Revelation 7:9-10 The prophet Joel spoke of the multitudes of people during this period that are in the valley of decision that would be harvested during this time. “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD (YAHWEH) is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14 This tribulation harvest end with the start of the millennial reign of our Messiah. Matthew 24:29-31
Again we must conclude that all aspects of this feast with the exception of number six are fulfilled in our Messiah Yahushua. Therefore, we must also keep this feast in the light of this understanding.
In Israel and among Messianic Israelites around the World this feast is still celebrated today with the construction of Sukkots. Jewish families generally take the entire week off as a holiday to fellowship with one another and the week is celebrated with lots of meals. Many Christians from around the world travel to Israel to celebrate this feast. It is one of the most popular times to go to Israel.
Before I finish let me just explain a few things about Shemini Atzeret or the Eight Day. The Eight day speaks of eternity, it foretells the Fathers plan to spend eternity with Israel. The Messianic age is a definite period of time but Shemini Atzeret represents a Day that is beyond time. In Hebrew the word for eight or Shemini comes from Shemoneh which indicates the idea of plumpness as if a surplus above the prefect seven. The perfect Millennial Kingdom will be rounded out with the fullness of the Eight Day when the New Jerusalem comes down and the Father forevermore dwells among us. Revelations 3:12, 21:2; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
Other significances of the eight day in Scripture are:
· Children we circumcised on the eighth Leviticus 12:3
· Oxen and sheep had to be with their mothers for seven days and on the eight day they could be offered to the Holy One. Exodus 22:30, Leviticus 22:27
· Alters were dedicated on the eight day.
· Priest were consecrated for seven days then presented on the eight day.
· Lepers and lambs were presented on this day and other imperfections were made pure on the eight day.
All of these examples reveal the importance of the eight day.
It would be appropriate to finish our study with a short recap of the feasts and why we must keep them.
There are eight main feasts of the Torah.
These feasts are important to us because:
1 The Torah calls these feasts, the feasts of YAHWEH.
2 The Torah commands ALL Israelites to observe these feasts.
3 The Torah commands that these feasts are to be observed FOREVER.
4 The Torah commands that these feasts are to be kept HOLY (qodesh).
5 The Torah calls that these feasts CELEBRATIONS or festivals (holidays).
6 The Torah calls these feasts REHERSALS.
This concludes our series on the Moedim of YAHWEH.
YAHWEH Bless You!
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Interpreting the Symbols and Types Kevin J Conner City Bible Publishing Portalnd Oregon 1992
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The Feats of YHWH refeclection on the Moedim for Judah and Ephraim Biblical Holidays by Rabbi Mordechai Am Echad Messiaci Ministries Press
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