The Feasts of Israel

Leviticus 23:1-2

YAHWEH spoke to Moshe
saying,
"Speak to the people of Yisra’el
and say to them:
These are
the appointed festivals
of YAHWEH
that you are to proclaim
as holy convocations,
My appointed festivals.

The Feasts of Israel are also known as "the appointed times" or "the set times". Each of them has been appointed, or set, by YAHWEH (God). They were established for very specific reasons. Each of them is a reminder to His people of some significant event or concept He wants them to remember each year. They're designed to remind them what He has done and what He has promised to do in the future. By having consistent and periodic reminders throughout each year His people are helped to remember to put Him first in their lives.

These special events are often referred to as His "holy-days" (from which comes the popular concept of "holidays"). While most of these are times of great joy and celebration they were not designed as "vacation days" during which the people got to have some time off from work in order to satisfy their own selfish pleasures. Sadly, They have all been corrupted by the ways of the world (the traditions men).

Provided below is a chart showing the main "feasts" (festivals), or "appointed times". While these were originally established for the nation of Yisra’el they are events every person who believes in YAHWEH and His Son, YAHUSHUA (Jesus) should remember and celebrate each year. Every "believer" needs to remember who YAHWEH is, and what He has done for us. They are times to honor Him. They are not intended to be times to "honor" ourselves or each other.

Modern day "churches" (The term is a misnomer. See Definitions.) ignore these festivals for the most part thinking they were only for Yisra’el, and not for the "gentile" world. This is a very big mistake. These festivals are actually designated in Scripture as the appointed times of YAHWEH, not as "the feasts of Israel". (I've only used that term because most people don’t know them by any other designation.) Since He does not change neither do His appointed times that He has established.

This chart below reveals some very interesting things concerning these holy days. Each of them connects in a unique manner to the wondrous process of childbirth. It's based on a book written by the late Zola Levitt which tied The Seven Feasts of Yisra’el to the process of childbirth. (You'll note, however, that there are more than seven "feasts"). By doing so he provided a very unique insight into the connections between our very own personal existence and the Appointed Times of Yisra’el. Not only were these  important dates and events to be remembered but they also show an amazing correlation to the birth process. It kind of makes you appreciate childbirth more deeply.

Every special time has a very special significance. Not one of them should be ignored, as most of the "Christian world" does today. Neither should they be perverted. Easter, more properly Passover, is one of the most perverted of these feasts. Please read the article on this website devoted to that issue. While I can't cover all the details here, suffice it to say that "easter" comes from the word Ishtar, a pagan goddess of fertility. The "easter egg" and the "easter bunny" also come directly from these pagan traditions and have absolutely no place among those who believe in YAHWEH, and in His Son, YAHUSHUA

Passover is all about redemption and freedom. The Exodus event, wherein Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt, and the death and resurrection of The Messiah, wherein every human being was provided with the means for deliverance from the power of sin and death, are far too important to be trivialized by the common "easter" celebrations. It's time to change our traditions.

Please take special notice that "Christ-mas" is not included in this list. It has never been one of The Appointed Times. It is a “tradition of men", and it is totally pagan in its form and origin. Do a little research into the things that are part of what is commonly done - the "evergreen" tree, the lights, santa, elves, mistletoe, the winter solstice, the yule logs, etc. You'll be very surprised at what you learn. Plus, The Messiah was NOT born in December. He was born near the time of The Feast of Tabernacles (properly, Succoth), around the end of September.


EVENT

DAY CELEBRATED

SIGNIFICANCE

CHILDBIRTH 

Beginning of  Religious Year

1st month, 1st day

(Trumpets were

blown)

New beginnings

Ovulation

(Day 1)

(Special Day) 

1st month,

10th day

Passover lamb

chosen

 (Egg selected?)

Passover

1st month,

14th day

Lamb slain –

shedding of blood

Egg appears

(Day 14)

Unleavened Bread

1st Month,

15th day –

for 7 days

No leaven (sin)

Redemption

Mandatory!

Fertilization

(Day 15)

First Fruits

Day after

Sabbath

(Sunday)

1st Harvest -

Resurrection

Egg implanted 

(Day 17-22)

Pentecost - Weeks

50 days later

2nd Harvest -

Leavened Bread

Mandatory!

Embryo becomes

 fetus (Day 50)

Trumpets

7th month,

1st day

Call to Prayer - 

    Worship

Remember God

Baby can hear

and understand

sounds (Day 210)

Atonement

7th month,

10th day

Repentance –

Confession

Forgiveness

(w/blood)

Fetal blood

changes -Can

carry oxygen

(Day 220)

Tabernacles

7th month,

15th day

3rd Harvest

Deliverance from bondage

Mandatory!

Lung's developed –

1st safe day for

Delivery

(Day 225)

Hannukah

9th month

 + 8 days

Dedication

Dedication

of child

(Day 280 +/-)


Below is a list of The Appointed Times of YAHWEH. A brief description of each one is provided along with Scripture references that pertain to them. I strongly encourage you to look up the Scriptures so you know what YAHWEH says about each one.

Leviticus 23:1-44 - The Appointed Times Of YAHWEH

Leviticus 23:1-44 is one of the key places where YAHWEH sets forth His "appointed times". There are other references to these events as well, but if you'll review this chapter in Leviticus you'll see a reasonably clear detailing of these important events, from YAHWEH's perspective. Every Hebrew child was taught these things throughout his or her childhood. They knew and understood their meanings very well. We ought to be teaching our children these same things.

The Sabbath: Shabbat

Six days you are to work. On the seventh day, the Sabbath, you are to rest; you are to do no work. This connects with Genesis 2.2-3, where The Elohim, YAHWEH, rested. The day is to be a "holy convocation" to YAHWEH. It occurs every week, as a reminder that YAHWEH is the source of every day, and of everything in His Creation. In Leviticus 26 there is a very dramatic statement made that is directly tied to The Sabbath. It's been reformatted and placed on this website for your consideration.

The New Year

The beginning of the religious year is listed in the table above. It was the first of Nisan, or Abib. Throughout Scripture there is a celebration on the first of each new month (new moon). It marked a cycle by which man could recognize time, and it also marked a coming and going of the light that shines in the darkness. YAHUSHUA is such a light. He revealed the light of The Father to a "dark" world.

While Hebrew tradition continues to use Rosh Hashanah as the “new year”, YAHWEH actually changed that timing to Nisan 1 at Mount Sinai when He gave The Torah to Israel. The 1st of Nisan was designated as “the beginning of months”, or head of the year” (which is what rosh hashanah means).

Feast Of Passover: Pesach

Exodus 12 tells the story of Passover. The Festival of Passover actually begins, in one sense, on the 10th of Nisan, with the selection of the Passover Lamb. The actual festival isn't celebrated until the 14th day, but the preparations begin several days prior to the actual celebration. This reflects the reality that there was a period of preparation in Egypt that preceded the actual event of The Passover. Moshe pleaded with Pharaoh to let the Children of Yisra’el go and Pharaoh continued to refuse. YAHWEH presented many miraculous signs during those days. Even YAHUSHUA presented many signs and wonders prior to His selection as The Passover Lamb.

Passover itself was to be celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan, at sunset. This marks the beginning of a new Hebrew day, not the end of the day as we think of it. The Hebrew day begins at sunset. The 14th day, at twilight, can also be understood as the 15th day. It is the beginning of day 15, and the end of day 14. This is an important consideration when you're noting Hebrew days and times of the day.

On the 14th, at twilight, the chosen lamb was slain. This began the celebration of Passover. After the lamb was killed its blood was spread on the door posts and the lintel (the top of the door). This marked the house as belonging to those who "believed YAHWEH", and obeyed his instructions (commandments). This "sign" made it clear that those in this household were not to have their firstborn killed during the night which followed. Those without this "sign of the blood" covering the entrance to their home would lose their firstborn that night as Scripture clearly tells us.

The lamb was to be completely consumed. Any leftovers were to be burned before morning. It represented a "whole burnt offering", a complete surrender to YAHWEH. It was to be eaten in haste, with one's clothes on, one's sandals on, and one's staff in their hand - ready to depart from the bondage of Egypt; ready for deliverance from oppression. It marked the death of every firstborn in Egypt in every family that did not observe these instructions.

Passover occurs around the time the world celebrates "Easter". The Passover Lamb foreshadows the death of The Messiah, YAHUSHUA as YAHWEH's firstborn. He was "unblemished" by sin, and by His blood we are "delivered" from our bondage to the power of sin and death. It is this event we ought to be celebrating at "Easter", not easter bunnies, new clothes, easter eggs, etc.

The meaning of Passover for today’s believers is tied to the sacrifice of “The Lamb of YAHWEH”, YAHUSHUA, The Messiah. By means of His death and resurrection YAHWEH has “passed over” our offenses, and it’s requirement of death by stoning. With this in mind, Passover takes on a whole new meaning.

Feast Of Unleavened Bread:

Exodus 13-1-10 relates the story of The Feast of Unleavened Bread. It's the next event to occur in the appointed times of YAHWEH following Passover. It began on the 15th of Nisan. You'll note that this is virtually the same time as the beginning of Passover. The 14th at twilight marks the beginning of the 14th of Nisan. The 14th of Nisan, therefore, is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It's a holy sabbath (a Special Sabbath that's different from the normal weekly sabbath). No customary work is to be done on this day. The feast is to last seven days (14th through the 20th), and on the 20th there is to be another special Sabbath. (They are often referred to as one and the same.)

There is to be no leaven (symbolic of sin) within any home during this period, and none is to be eaten, inside or outside of the home, during this feast. It's a reminder of the unleavened bread the Yisra’elites ate when they came out of Egypt under YAHWEH's protection. It also connects to the manna they would later be provided in the wilderness. Because of its connection to Passover it also reminds us that sin is eliminated from our lives by the compassion of YAHWEH. This becomes the key focus of the sacrifice of The Messiah, YAHUSHUA.

In addition there was to be an offering made by fire during all seven days. It connotes the surrender of each person to YAHWEH's leadership and direction. It is an act of worship. It also reminds us of the pillar of fire that overshadowed the Yisra’elites while they journeyed into freedom, The Shekinah Glory as they would call it. 

This festival required mandatory attendance at the Temple in Jerusalem by all Hebrew males - every year. It is the first of three such required appearances - or "appointments with YAHWEH".

Feast of First Fruits - Lag b'Omer

In Exodus 13.11-16 we find instruction concerning The Feast of First Fruits. This was the first fruits of the barley harvest. It’s the next event on the schedule. It occurs as part of of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was to happen "on the day after the Sabbath". The reference appears to refer to the normal weekly Sabbath, rather than the two special Sabbaths involved in the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This event was marked by a "wave offering” (or elevation offering) of a sheaf of the first fruits (barley harvest) of the land. In other words, it was a harvest feast. This is very important.

It's directly connected to the Resurrection of The Messiah. It represents the very first offering of the very first "produce" of the land for a given planting and harvest cycle in Israel. (Don't confuse this with your own planting and harvesting cycle.)

It also involved a" lamb without blemish" as a burnt offering to YAHWEH, along with a flour and oil offering, and a wine offering. This pretty much covered "the produce of the land" in that period of time. Everything was presented before YAHWEH with thanksgiving for what He had provided. Perhaps this is when we ought to be celebrating "Thanksgiving Day" instead of in November.

Take note of the next aspect of this festival. They were to eat neither bread nor parched grain, nor fresh grain (from the harvest) until the very same day this offering was presented, and it was to be a statute forever throughout all their generations (even today). This first portion belongs to YAHWEH alone. It's representative of His desire that we put Him first in everything that we do.

Next, from this very day, the day after The Sabbath (shabbat - which was on Saturday, not Sunday), they were to begin "counting the omer". An omer was a measure of the grain. They were to count fifty days, which included seven Sabbaths, from this day. On the fiftieth day there would be the next "feast", or appointed time of YAHWEH. The concept of the fiftieth day connects to the concept of the fiftieth year, the year of Jubilee in Israel. Check out The Jubilee concept for some very interesting insights. This was to be a time of joy, celebrating YAHWEH’s provision for His people. This festival is virtually ignored by the "Christian churches" (See Definitions for more information on "church") of today. We do this to our own detriment.

Feast of Weeks: (Shavuot)

The fiftieth day of Counting The Omer is called The Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. It's also referred to as Pentecost (a term connected to the 50 days). It occurs in the third month after Passover and The Feast of Unleavened Bread. It occurs fifty days after the day after The Sabbath of that feast (seven weeks of 49 days, including seven Sabbaths, plus one day). It is also a harvest feast. This celebrated the wheat harvest.

This is the second appointed time that required mandatory attendance of every male at the Temple in Jerusalem. But this is a very unusual festival. It's quite different from the others in some very remarkable ways. The Feast of First Fruits and The Feast of Weeks always fall on the first day of the week.

This festival specifically calls for leavened bread. It's the only festival that requires leavened bread. This should strike you as very unusual. But consider the fact that Pentecost, The Feast of Weeks, is now directly associated with The Assembly of Believers (those who truly believe in The Messiah as their redeemer and Master). It includes both Hebrew and Gentile. It marks the outpouring of The Set Apart Divine Nature of YAHWEH in The New Covenant which took place in Acts, Chapter 2 after the resurrection and ascension of The Messiah, YAHUSHUA.

Leaven is a symbol of impurity, of sin, and of the Gentiles. Thus, The Feast of Weeks anticipated the rejection of The Messiah by the Children of Yisra’el, and the beginning of something entirely different. It hints at the inclusion of the Gentiles, (the unleavened) in the Kingdom of YAHWEH.

There are some other things to note about this festival. It's believed to be the time for the giving of The Torah to Moshe at Sinai. It's a time of watchfulness and prayer. Normally all night is spent reading and studying YAHWEH's Word (The book of Ruth in particular.). Two loaves of bread are baked, with leaven, one for the priest and one for the people. They are prepared separately and baked separately. It's to be a "holy convocation", with no ordinary work done. There are multiple offerings by fire presented.

Note: This festival is often called The Feast of First Fruits also, thus confusing it with the one mentioned above during Passover. On the one hand, this is not inconsistent with the idea of the counting of the omer. It's effectively a continuation of the Feast of First Fruits. 

But there are several other things to consider. The initial Feast of First Fruits is considered to be the barley harvest in Yisr’el, the first grain crop to ripen in the spring. This festival centers around the wheat harvest, and the first grain harvested from this crop.

Now, consider the possibility that this is symbolic of the first fruits of the Gentiles, while the first one is seen as the first fruits of the Hebrews. This gives this festival, in light of the rejection of The Messiah by Yisra’el and the invitation of the Gentiles into YAHWEH’s kingdom, a whole new potential significance for The Assembly of Believers in YAHWEH.

Feast of Trumpets: Yom Teruah

We now come to our next appointed time. It marks the beginning of the seventh month, as well as the start of the secular year in Yisra’el. Note how neither their beginning of the religious year nor the beginning of the secular year coincide with the rest of the world. Yisra’el is set apart by YAHWEH from the rest of the world - in a multitude of ways. They are considered to be "the called out assembly".

Since it marks the first of the month it has as least two reasons for celebration. It's to be a Sabbath rest, a Special Sabbath when it doesn't fall on a normal Sabbath. It's to include a memorial blowing of trumpets (the shofar or ram's horn). There is to be a holy convocation, with no normal work being done on this day. There is an offering by fire to YAHWEH.

Some believe it's a call to preparation for the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which follows on the 10th of the month. Some believe it's a warning sound, a call to battle, perhaps a non-carnal battle.

As a memorial blowing, at the very least it connects to Yahoshua (Joshua) and the battle of Jericho. Yahoshua has always been recognized as a "type", a foreshadowing, of The Messiah. Indeed, his name is virtually identical with that of The Messiah. This connection may provide us with insights into the forthcoming entrance into the "Promised Land" of Heaven. Consider the possibilities.

We are to remember what YAHWEH has done for us. We are to remember His provision for our daily needs (the secular world). We are to remember His provision of a place for us. Most importantly, we are to remember HIM! Please see the article on Trumpets for a better understanding of the role of trumpets within Israeli culture.

Day Of Atonement: Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement is next on YAHWEH's schedule. it occurs on the 10th day of the seventh month. It involves a holy convocation, and no work (employment) is allowed. It is a day to make atonement before YAHWEH, your Elohim. One was to "afflict their being". This meant they were to confess their sin, repent of it, and seek YAHWEH's forgiveness. It was the one day each year that The high Priest entered the Holy of Holies and "met with YAHWEH" in activities that cleansed Yisra’el of their sin once each year.

This was, and is, a very solemn day in the life of Yisra’el. It's seen by many as the most holy day in their entire religious year. They are to spend from evening on the ninth day to evening on the tenth day before YAHWEH in prayer and fasting (self-denial).

Sadly, many have made this their only day of prayer and fasting, of confession and repentance before YAHWEH. It has become a ritual for them, devoid of the real meaning YAHWEH intended. It doesn't serve as a reminder of their sin, or their need for Him for the rest of the year as well. And it certainly does not make atonement for their sin.

Only The Messiah, YAHUSHUA can provide that atonement, and He already has. Unfortunately many of His Chosen People, Yisra’el, have rejected His sacrifice and death as meaningless. Yet perhaps on this day, as it precedes His Second Coming, they will one day recognize their error and yet repent of their great sin.

Feast of Tabernacles: Succoth

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the appointed times of YAHWEH presented in Scripture. Like Unleavened Bread and Weeks, it is a harvest festival. It required mandatory attendance at the Temple in Jerusalem. It celebrates the final harvest of the growing season, when all of the crops for the year had been harvested (grapes, figs, etc.), and is a great and joyful celebration. It begins just five days after the Day of Atonement. The mood shifts from one of very serious contemplation to one of very great joy and rejoicing. It begins on the 15th day of the seventh month

Worth noting is the each one of these festivals that requires mandatory attendance by every male is a harvest festival.

Like Unleavened Bread, it's seven days long, followed by a special celebration on the eighth day. The first day is a holy convocation. No normal work is to be done. For seven days an offering by fire is presented. On the eighth day there is another holy convocation, with no normal work to be done.

The unique thing about this feast is the "tabernacles", dwelling places, that are to be constructed.

This tradition was added at a later date. The original process did not involve these "booths". Succoth means booths. They are to be made out of a number of specific types of branches of trees. If you research these branches you'll discover many wonderful insights into why they were specified and what they symbolize. No attempt will be made here to provide those details since they are rather involved. 

The “booths" are to be reminders of the tents the Yisra’elites lived in while they were in the wilderness for forty years. They are temporary dwellings, not permanent. They remind us that we are only here temporarily. One day the things of this world will be removed, and for those who believe in YAHWEH and His Messiah there will be a totally new, and permanent, dwelling place provided for us.

The mood of this festival is one of great rejoicing. It points us toward Eternity. It anticipates our new permanent dwelling place in the very presence of YAHWEH Elohim and His Messiah, YAHUSHUA. For all eternity we will be free from anything that is in any manner connected with evil, pain, suffering, and death. The joy to come will be exceedingly great, and this feast calls us toward this time with great anticipation. It’s kind of like a “home-coming”.

It is a statute forever, in all generations. And while it points the way forward, it also points us backward, to remember Egypt; to remember the great deliverance YAHWEH accomplished there for His people. In that sense it also points us to The Messiah and His great deliverance, reminding us of our temporary life here.

Having said that, it's very important to remember that these appointed times were created specifically for the Children of Yisra’el. They were not prepared for, nor required for, the rest of the world. So please be very careful when studying them to remember to whom they apply. Learn what you can from them, but don't misapply them. They are not to be "forced" observances, but are to be completed willingly in honor of YAHWEH and His great redemption. They should be celebrated, with care, by every Believer - in honor of YAHWEH and His Word.

Also worth your very careful consideration is the fact that it was during this festival that The Messiah, YAHUSHUA was actually born! It was not at the time known as “Christmas”, which is a totally pagan festival.

The next festival was a later addition to Yisra’el, but one worth mentioning. It was not part of the “appointed times” of YAHWEHWe could probably add a few more to this list, but this one is particularly unique.

Feast Of Dedication: Hanukkah

This last festival is presented, in part, because of its connection to Zola Levitt's work, and specifically to its connection to the childbirth process. It falls in the winter in Yisra’el. It marks the rebuilding of the Temple of YAHWEH in Jerusalem, and it's rededication to Him. It also marks a miraculous burning of a normal one-day supply of oil for the lamps in the Temple. Instead of one day, the oil never ran out for eight days, until more oil could be obtained and properly prepared. It's symbolic of YAHWEH's supply of light to the world.

Many have tried to connect it to Christmas and the birth of YAHUSHUA. Yet many fail to recognize that YAHUSHUA was actually born at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, not during Hanukkah (or Chanukah). Interestingly, His conception would indeed have been about this time, however. So perhaps there is a unique connection to "the coming of The Light of The World" that's often missed. It does have its place in the lives of the Yisra’elites. It does commemorate a very special moment in their lives. And it does remind them of YAHWEH's love and care in many ways.

It does connect to the concept of dedication in the chart above. So we make mention of it in that regard so that you might consider the significance of dedicating your children to YAHWEH.

This festival has absolutely no connection to the traditional Christmas celebrations. All you need to do is a little research on those traditions and you'll very quickly discover most of them are totally pagan in their origin. Coupled with what the human race has done to them in recent years we could easily find reasons to change most of our Christmas celebrations. In their current form they do little to honor YAHUSHUA or YAHWEH.

Conclusion

The appointed times of YAHWEH do indeed connect in an interesting manner to childbirth, as the chart above points out. Our focus has not been on that connection, however. It's been on the significance of these special times in the life of the nation of Yisra’el. There are many significant implications to be found in the connections to the birth cycle. It's up to you to make them, now that you understand more of the significance of the "appointed times" of YAHWEH

May He grant you the wisdom to understand His purposes within them.


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