Are Cognitive Biases Stopping Your Spiritual Growth?

Are Cognitive Biases Stopping Your Spiritual Growth?

There is a scene in the movie Free Guy where Guy hands his best friend Buddy a pair of sunglasses so he can see the world as it really is. The glasses will open Buddy’s eyes to the deception all around him. Guy was trying to shift Buddy’s paradigm. He wanted his friend to realize his full potential. But his strategy backfired. Buddy refused to put them on out of fear.

Believers in Yeshua are familiar with this phenomenon. It is called cognitive bias. We encounter this cognitive disconnect whenever our message is rejected while trying to share our faith with friends and family.

Cognitive bias illustration
Cognitive biases impact our perception of reality and how we process new information

The Backfire Effect

Yeshua (Jesus) got a first hand look at cognitive bias during his Judean ministry.1 He kept telling the people that the doctrine they had been taught was holding them back. Their traditions were standing in the way of their healing. Questionable theology distorted their understanding of how the Father’s Kingdom was designed to function. This is why many were unable to comprehend what he was trying to teach them about the Kingdom of Heaven. They were involved in a particular brand of cognitive bias known as the backfire effect.

The backfire effect happens when our core beliefs are challenged. Theological challenges causes the hearer to double-down and become even more entrenched in their beliefs. Scriptures that blatantly contradict what they learned in church prompt some believers to believe even more strongly.

Fear and Loss

Fear and loss are great (de)motivators. They stop us in our tracks and are obstacles to growth. When we are afraid of being wrong, or of losing something we have invested in, we will resist change. Case in point: the parents of the blind man healed by Yeshua. Under questioning by the Pharisees, the man’s parents refused to tell the authorities who healed their son out of fear of being thrown out of the synagogue.

His parents answered, “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But how he can now see or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews. for the Jews had already determined that anyone who confessed Jesus as the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That is why his parents said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

John 9:20-22 Berean Study Bible

The story of the rich young ruler is another example of how the threat of loss can impact our willingness to change. Yeshua was teaching Torah. He was explaining how one could obtain eternal life and inherit the Kingdom. The deal-breaker for the young man was the part about selling all he had to follow Messiah.

Jesus told him, “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” The the young man heard this, he went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:21-23 Berean Study Bible

The backfire effect is a cousin of the sunk cost fallacy. Sunk cost fallacy happens when a particular investment — whether its financial, emotional, or spiritual — is too hard to give up. Walking away would involve pain. This is especially true for pastors or ministry leaders because their theology dictates their position in the church. When you have invested time and money in a seminary education, teaching controversial subjects such as biblical cosmology (flat earth) will get you fired. (Luke 14:28-33)

The Apostle Paul was confronted with the sunk cost fallacy once his eyes were opened on the road to Damascus. He had to choose between keeping his position, or risking it all for the Kingdom. Because he chose the Kingdom, millions of believers in Messiah have been blessed.

I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Philippians 3:5-11 New Living Translation

Belief Bias

Belief bias
Are you guilty of belief bias?

The Apostle Paul refused to allow Pharisaical tradition to subvert the truth of the Gospel. However “truth” can be a tricky thing in our culture. The enemy of our souls has convinced many that objective truth is an oxymoron. He took Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” and rendered it subjective with the “my truth is not your truth” argument. (John 18: 37,38) This is the trap door of belief bias.

We are all guilty of belief bias when our conclusions support our already established beliefs. This makes it hard to properly evaluate new information. As a result, our religious traditions and customs become kevlar vests that are impervious to criticism and are constantly being reinforced. We defend our theology without taking the time to question it when necessary. In order to overcome our belief bias, we must strive to be like Berean believers who took the extra step of testing Paul’s teachings.

Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Acts 17:11 The Amplified Bible

The Curse of Knowledge

We all learn and grow in increments. When we first “get saved” our theology is at the “Jesus loves me, this I know” level. However, after listening to hundreds of sermons, attending many Bible studies, consuming dozens of books and watching tons of videos, the curse of knowledge becomes a reality in our lives. We presume that once we understand something, it will be obvious to everyone. Not so young Padawan!

Unfortunately, what makes sense to us can sound like heresy to others. We tend to forget that we are all on different journeys and at different levels of spiritual maturity. Therefore, we have to resist the temptation to serve meat when milk is called for. As we strive to keep explanations simple, we must also take extra care to keep everything in context and back up our assertions with Scripture.

The Illusion of Truth

The Illusion of Truth

If a lie is printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.

The Crown of Life by Isa Blagden (1869)

The illusory truth effect describes how a person tends to accept something as being true simply because they have heard it repeated again and again. It doesn’t matter whether the statement is true or not. While you may think that no rational person would accept something as being true without investigating it, you would be wrong.

People are reluctant to re-examine religious doctrine when it comes from an authority figure such as a pastor or influential family member. A person will accept information from these sources (right or wrong) simply because it is familiar. Rather than working out our faith line upon line and precept on precept, faith is instead mediated by Christian tradition. (Isaiah 28:10)

We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world…

Fundamentalism and the Word of God by J.I. Packer, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1958

Again, the fear of stepping outside accepted orthodoxy can be crippling for most believers. However we fail to understand that today’s orthodoxy was once rejected as a form of deception by the enemy. Put another way, today’s orthodoxy is yesterday’s heresy.

In-Group Bias

In-group bias is a heterodoxy killer.

In relation to religious life, orthodoxy means correct or sound belief according to an authoritative norm; heterodoxy refers to belief in a doctrine differing from the norm.

enclyclopedia.com

In-group bias is another way of saying that people tend to favor those who belong to the same group as they do. Like the parents of the blind man in John’s gospel, fear of being rejected by our group (or family) can force us into silence. Tribal identity is a strong motivator to disregard teachings that veer away from accepted dogma; even if those teachings are incorrect.

The Battlefield of the Mind

All of us are susceptible to varying degrees of cognitive bias. That is why we must pray for a spirit of wisdom, and be willing to remove the log from our eyes before we attempt to correct someone else’s vision. (Matthew 7:1-5)

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 

Ephesians 1:15-17 New American Standard Bible

Finally, we must also consider that many believers in Messiah attend New Testament-only churches. They have a limited understanding of the Old Testament and have been subjected to “sound bite” theology taken out of context. Therefore, the best remedy for cognitive bias will always be prayer and dedicated study. As we strive to walk the ancient paths in obedience to our Heavenly Father, everything old will seem new. When we fully comprehend the instructions for living known as Torah and incorporate them into our lives, we will be better able to see our theological biases as a roadblock to discerning biblical truth.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Buddy never did put on the sunglasses. He didn’t need to. His friendship with Guy made all the difference. You see, their relationship was based on trust. This allowed Buddy to take in new information over time and expand his view of the world little by little. Yes, Buddy and Guy are fictional movie non-playable characters (NPCs), but they can teach us a lot about how time and patience work in our favor when we are introducing unfamiliar doctrinal perspectives.

See this explained graphically here. (https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe_clean)


FOOTNOTES

1 The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 4, “Yeshua Our High Priest”, page 37

Enoch’s Influence On The New Testament

Enoch’s Influence On The New Testament

According to bible scholar Robert Henry Charles, Enoch has had more influence on the New Testament than any other so-called apocryphal or pseudepigraphal work. This makes one wonder why we have been warned to stay away from the writings of this pre-Flood prophet. However, after reading through 1 Enoch1 and the entire New Testament, it is hard to fathom why anyone would want to dismiss this book.

The writers of New Testament canon authenticate the importance of the Book of Enoch. Verbatim quotes taken from this book can be found in the Gospels, Hebrews, Romans, Revelation, and Jude. This is fitting for a book that was written specifically for the last generation living at the time just before Yeshua’s second coming.

Enoch — The Hidden Prophet

We will begin our investigation into this ancient book by revisiting Genesis.

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Genesis 5:24 New International Version

Many of us were taught in church that this verse meant that Enoch was taken to heaven. Is this really what the phrase “God took Him” is saying? When you examine the word laqach (Strong’s #H3947), translated as “took”, you may draw a different conclusion. While it can mean to take or carry off, should we infer that the only place Enoch could have been carried off to was the heaven of heavens?

Remember, Yeshua is the first fruits of the Resurrection. No one who has already died is in heaven now, except our Messiah, who is also serving presently as our High Priest.2

No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.

John 3:13 Berean Study Bible

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4: 16,17 Berean Study Bible

“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. For David did not ascend into the heavens…

Acts 2:29; 34(a) English Standard Version

You may be tempted to cite the conversation Yeshua had with the thief on the cross as a rebuttal to what has just been presented. However, your counter claim hinges on the placement of a comma in Luke 23:43:

And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Berean Study Bible

The comma placement in this and other translations is misleading. Koine Greek (the language of the day) was written without punctuation. So it was up to the translator (or his/her editor) to decide whether to put a comma after the word you. However, when you place the comma after the word today, something incredible happens. Doing so better aligns Yeshua’s promise to this condemned man with what Scripture actually says about the order of the resurrections.3

Once you understand this it is hard to believe that Enoch, Elijah, or the thief would be taken up to heaven before our Messiah. Believers who are included in the first resurrection — those already in Sheol and those still alive — will be taken up at the same time.

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 New Living Translation

It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

1 Corinthians 15:52 New Living Translation

So, the Prophet Enoch was taken by Yah. But where did he disappear to? The Book of Jubilees tells us.

And he was taken from amongst the children of men, and we conducted him in to the Garden of Eden in majesty and honour, and behold there he writes down the condemnation and judgment of the world, and all the wickedness of the children of men. And on account of it (God) brought the waters of the flood upon all the land of Eden; for there he was set as a sign and that he should testify against all the children of men, that he should recount all the deeds of the generations until the day of condemnation. And he burnt the incense of the sanctuary, (even) sweet spices acceptable before the Lord on the Mount. For the Lord has four places on the earth, the Garden of Eden, and the Mount of the East, and this mountain on which thou art this day, Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion (which) will be sanctified in the new creation for a sanctification of the earth; through it will the earth be sanctified from all (its) guilt and its uncleanness throughout the generations of the world.

Book of Jubilees 4:23-26 R.H. Charles translation

Enoch was still alive; acting in the role of Priest while in the Garden of Eden. This means he was 365 when he was taken to the Garden (Genesis 5:23).4 At the time of Noah’s birth a panicked Lamech would seek counsel from his father Methuselah regarding paternity issues. Methuselah interceded with his father Enoch on Lamech’s behalf.

And after some days my son Methuselah took a wife for his son Lamech, and she became pregnant by him and bore a son. And his body was white as snow and red as the blooming of a rose, and the hair of his head and his long locks were white as wool, and his eyes beautiful. And when he opened his eyes, he lighted up the whole house like the sun, and the whole house was very bright. And thereupon he arose in the hands of the midwife, opened his mouth, and conversed with the Lord of righteousness. And his father Lamech was afraid of him and fled, and came to his father Methuselah. And he said unto him: ‘I have begotten a strange son, diverse from and unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven; and his nature is different and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious. And it seems to me that he is not sprung from me but from the angels, and I fear that in his days a wonder may be wrought on the earth. And now, my father, I am here to petition thee and implore thee that thou mayest go to Enoch, our father, and learn from him the truth, for his dwelling-place is amongst the angels.’ And when Methuselah heard the word of his son, he came to me to the ends of the earth; for he had heard that I was there, and he cried aloud, and I heard his voice and I came to him. And I said unto him: ‘Behold, here am I, my son, wherefore hast thou come to me?’

1 Enoch 106:1-9 (Fragment of the Book of Noah) R.H. Charles translation

Keep in mind that it was during this time that Nephilim giants were roaming the earth. These were the monstrous offspring of disobedient Watcher angels and human females. No wonder Lamech was freaked out. However, the important thing to remember is that Enoch is still alive, hundreds of years following his being “taken” away to Eden. (Genesis 5:21-26)

Enoch eventually died and went to Sheol, the compartmental destination of every human after death.

For thus did Enoch, the father of your father command Methuselah, his son, and Methuselah his son Lamech, and Lamech commended me all the things which his father commanded him. And I also will give you commandment, my sons, as Enoch commanded his son in the first jubilees: whilst still living, the seventh in his generation, he commanded and testified to his son and to his sons’s sons until the day of his death.

Book of Jubilees 7:38,39 R.H. Charles translation

It is interesting that Enoch disappeared from among men, only to re-appear after spending time with the angels in Eden.5 This is also true of the book that bears his name.

There is an interesting parallel between the life of Enoch, related in his book, and the subsequent history of the book itself. We are told Enoch was secluded from mankind for a period of time. The, after being called to become a preacher, Enoch reappeared as a powerful figure on the world scene. As we will see, the Book of Enoch has been through a similar process of reappearance in recent times. For many years the Book of Enoch was in a period of virtual seclusion. The book is now reemerging on the world stage with an important message undiminished by time.

Who Really Wrote the Book of Enoch? by R.I. Burns, SageWorks Press, 2017, page 148

The Dead Sea Scrolls Authenticate Enoch

You may be surprised to learn that among the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the caves of Qumran, the Book of Enoch was amongst the most represented. It wasn’t until after the Resurrection that this important book fell into disfavor among the religious leaders in Jerusalem. We suspect that it was because Enoch foretold the coming of Yeshua and his Kingdom.

Dead Sea Scrolls Qumran Caves
Qumran Caves

Rabbis who rejected Yeshua also began to standardize canon, excluding Enoch’s writings. Although the book of Enoch maintained its relevance among New Testament writers, it began to disappear into the background of history; eventually banned by the Council of Laodicea. Both Jerome and Augustine apparently endorsed this discrediting of the book.

We praise Yah that this group of self-anointed arbiters of the validity of Scripture did not have the final say in the matter. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 produced fragments from at least 10 copies of Enoch, along with fragments from Jubilees, the Psalms, Isaiah and Deuteronomy.

Enoch’s Fingerprints Are All Over The New Testament

According to R.H. Charles, 1 Enoch has influenced New Testament writers more than any other extra-biblical ancient writings. Using Charles’ notes as a guide, we have created the chart below to help you test whether this is true.

NEW TESTAMENTBOOK OF ENOCH
Jude 1:6Chapter 12:4
Jude 1:14Chapter 60:8
1 John 1:7Chapter 92:4
1 John 2:8Chapter 58:5
1 John 2:15Chapter 108:8
Revelation 2:7Chapter 25:4-6
Revelation 3:5Chapter 90:31
Revelation 3:10Chapter 37:5
Revelation 3:17Chapter 92:8
Revelation 3:17Chapter 62:14
Revelation 4:6Chapter 40:2
Revelation 4:8Chapter 39:13
Revelation 7:1Chapter 69:22
Revelation 7:15Chapter 45:4
Revelation 9:1Chapter 86:1
Revelation 9:20Chapter 99:7
Revelation 13:14Chapter 54:6
Revelation 14:9Chapter 48:9
Revelation 14:10Chapter 20:1
Revelation 14:20Chapter 100:3
Revelation 17:14Chapter 9:4
Revelation 20:13Chapter 51:1
Revelation 10:15Chapter 90:26
Revelation 22:3Chapter 25:6
Romans 8:38Chapter 61:10
Romans 9:5Chapter 77:1
1 Corinthians 6:2Chapter 48:7
2 Corinthians 4:6Chapter 38:4
Ephesians 1:9Chapter 49:4
Colossians 2:3Chapter 46:3
1 Thessalonians 5:3Chapter 62:4
Ephesians 5:8Chapter 108:2
2 Thessalonians 1:7Chapter 61:10
1 Timothy 1:9Chapter 93:4
1 Timothy 1:15Chapter 94:1
1 Timothy 5:21Chapter 39:1
1 Timothy 16:15Chapter 9:4
Hebrews 4:13Chapter 9:5
Hebrews 11:5Chapter 15:1; 70:1-4
Hebrews 12:9Chapter 37:2
Acts 3:14Chapter 53:6
Acts 4:12Chapter 48:7
Acts 10:4Chapter 99:3
Acts 17:31Chapter 41:9
John 5:22Chapter 69:27
John 12:36/Luke 16:8Chapter 108:11
John 14:2Chapter 39:4
Luke 1:52Chapter 46:4
Luke 9:35Chapter 40:5
Luke 17:7Chapter 47:1,2
Luke 23:35Chapter 40:5
Matthew 19:28Chapter 62:5
Matthew 19:29Chapter 40:9
Matthew 25:41Chapter 54:4,5*
Matthew 26:24Chapter 38:2
Source: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Volume 2, by R.H. Charles, pages 180,181

Feature image attribution: “Enoch Translated” [Phillip Medhurst, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

“Caves at Dead Sea Scrolls” Attribution: [Lux Moundi, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

*These verses identify “the devil” by name, the fallen angel Azazel. See also 1 Enoch 8:1,2


FOOTNOTES

1 There are currently three versions of Enoch. The version referred to in this article as 1 Enoch is the one we believe to be the most trustworthy translation. In this article all references to the Book of Enoch allude to 1 Enoch, which is also called Ethiopic Enoch.

2 See The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 5, “The Resurrections”, page 60.

3 Read The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 5

4 In 2 Enoch (also called The Book of the Secrets of Enoch) Chapter 68, the author claims that Enoch lived 365 years and was “taken up to heaven on the first day of the month of Tsivan” and remained in heaven sixty days. According to R.H.Charles, 2 Enoch has been preserved only in Slavonic. Writings in the Zohar exhibit close affinity to 2 Enoch. However, Ethiopian Christians regard 1 Enoch as the authentic version, and a part of the canon of their Bible.

5 Read The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 6, “Here Comes The Bride”

The Hebrew Calendar in Jubilees and Enoch

The Hebrew Calendar in Jubilees and Enoch

The Hebrew calendar in Jubilees and Enoch is the focus of this article. Why? Because this 364 day solar based method of timekeeping is not just a register of the year. This calendar dictates when we celebrate appointed times and marks the seasons of the year. It also serves as a token of religious identity and facilitates loving fellowship and community. Needless to say, the type of calendar we choose to follow will impact our spiritual walk in profound ways.

Calendar Essentials

Essential to any calendar is the notion of order. Without order, a calendar is rendered useless. From the beginning, the Father decreed that the sun, moon, and stars would move in orderly precision along predictable paths. Consequently, these luminaries were equipped to govern the yearly, monthly, and weekly feast observances.

And on the fourth day He created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon all the earth, and to rule over the day and the night, and divide the light from the darkness.

Jubilees 2:8,9 R.H. Charles translation

Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years;

Genesis 1:14 The Amplified Bible

These scripture verses tell us that the sun, moon, and stars are also involved in time tracking. However, the sun was given a unique role. It was created to be a great sign, and plays a predominate part in the scheduling of sabbaths and feast days.

And God appointed the sun to be a great sign on the earth for days and for sabbaths and for months and for feasts and for years and for sabbaths of years and for jubilees and for all seasons of the years.

Jubilees 2:9,10 R.H. Charles translation

And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning — three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts.

Jubilees 6:32 R.H. Charles translation
Sun and Moon
Sun and Moon

As we dive deeper into a study of the Scriptures, we all come to a point when we ask questions like: “Is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?”, “What calendar should I use?”, or “Am I observing the right feast days?” Questions like these are not frivolous. They are the breadcrumbs of discovery that help us realize the calendar’s connection to our covenant with the Almighty. Since all believers in Messiah are destined to become part of a Kingdom of priests, having an accurate calendar is essential to fulfilling our covenant responsibilities.

But there are so many versions of the Hebrew calendar being published these days, it is hard to know which one is sanctioned by Yah. Is it the lunar, solar, or lunar-solar hybrid version? Is a year 365 or 364 days? Do “holidays” such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter meet the criteria for Yah’s appointed times? How you answer these questions will have a profound impact on your spiritual growth.

Babylon’s Influence on the Calendar

Judah’s punishment for ignoring the land rest (amongst other infractions1 they committed relative to the Covenant) landed them in Babylon for 70 years. During their captivity it appears the people began assigning Babylonian names to months of the year. Traditionally days of the week and months of the year were numerically designated (i.e. month one or day one). Ancient Hebrews began their year in the spring, in the month of Abib, which is month one. (Exodus 13:4)

In Hebrew, Abib means “fresh, young ears of barley.” During the spring feast of Unleavened Bread, barley was the grain offering as it was the first major crop to ripen for harvest. Wheat was brought as an offering during Shavuot (approximately 50 days later) when that crop ripened. Typically, wine, oil, dates, grapes and figs were brought for the autumn festival of Sukkot, held in the seventh month.2

Barley and Wheat
Barley and Wheat

However, the exiled Israelites of the southern kingdom began calling the first month of the liturgical year Nisan. The seventh month was called Tishrei, and was regarded as the beginning of the civil new year. Tishrei means “beginning” and originates from the Babylonian/Akkadian word tasritu.3 It includes other festivals not mentioned in Torah such as the Fast of Gedalia, Hoshanna Rabbah, and Shemini Atzeret. On the Gregorian calendar Tishrei occurs between September and October, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Although the people were warned against worshipping strange gods, they chose to call month four Tammuz.

“Son of man,” He said to me, “do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? For they are saying, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’ ” Again, He told me, “You will see them committing even greater abominations.” Then He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz.4

Ezekiel 8:12-14 Berean Study Bible

Some argue that 1 Kings is evidence that the Hebrews did indeed name their months of the year. They cite the following passage:

So all the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon at the annual Festival of Shelters, which is held in early autumn in the month of Ethanim.

1 Kings 8:2 New Living Translation

This verse refers to Sukkot, the feast of booths or shelters. Rather than ascribe the word Ethanim5 to the name of a month, it may be better to look closer at its meaning: “steady flowings.” So, instead of being the name of a month, it is perhaps a descriptive term for the heavy rainfall that occurs during the seventh month.

Some speculate that the reason Jewish sages gave the months Babylonian names was because post-exilic Yahudim (Jews) had adopted a lunar calendar, which included Babylonian-named months. The destruction of the Temple and the decoupling from their agrarian/religious rituals during the second Temple period may have also played a part.

babylonian calendars 1
Examples of Babylonian influenced Hebrew Calendars

Most of the so-called “Jewish” calendars found online today are of Rabbinic construction and rely heavily on human observations of the moon.

Tel Fara Plaque
Animal bone Tel Fara Plaque. A type of ancient Israeli lunar-based peg calendar (UCL Institute of Archeology)

However, prior to the Hasmonean period, ancient Israel marked time based on an Enochian calendar:6

  • Every date on their calendar was anchored to a specific day of the week and did not changes from year to year.
  • Each quarter of the calendar would begin on day four, a Wednesday. It is the day the timekeeping heavenly bodies were created.
  • Each quarter-year was identical: two months of 30 days followed by a month of 31 days.
  • All of the appointed times or feast days occurred on the same day of the same month each year.
  • This calendar does not rely on human observation of the moon and its phases.

And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning–three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts.

Jubilees 6:32,33 R.H. Charles translation

Israel (Northern Kingdom) separated from Judah (Southern Kingdom) around 930 BCE. Once Judah fell in 586 BCE it was never reformed. During the time of the Maccabean revolt, a Hasmonean dynasty began to rule and the land was controlled religiously and politically by foreign usurpers. A new Maccabean/Hasmonean priestly dynasty was formed which had nothing in common with the Aaronic priesthood.

Prior to Antiochus Epiphanes IV, the Hebrews followed a pre-calculated solar calendar. It guided their spiritual life and informed their identity as a set-apart people. To them it was a non-negotiable issue. Absolutely non-negotiable. So the Zadokite priest and others left Jerusalem and went into the wilderness of Qumran. This marked a time of historical and spiritual change for the nation.

Dr. Rachel Elior, Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

The Solar Calendar in Jubilees and Enoch

The calendar mentioned in the Book of Jubilees and Enoch is evidence of the centrality of the solar calendar in ancient Hebrew culture. This 364 day calendar formula is attributed to Enoch, who was taught how to calculate the days and appointed times by angels.7

And the sun and the stars bring in all the years exactly, so that they do not advance or delay their position by a single day unto eternity; but complete the years with perfect justice in 364 days.

1 Enoch 72:128

Professor Michael Segal, lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says the Jubilees calendar plays a big role in the calendrical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A similar calendar has been discovered in some of the Dead Sea scrolls from Qumran. A 364-day calendar is useful from the perspective that the number of days in a year is divisible by 7 (52 weeks = 364 days). Every date in the calendar is therefore anchored to a specific day of the week, and does not change from year to year. The Jubilees calendar is further divided into four quarters, each of which consists of 91 days (13 weeks of 7 days), and since this number is also divisible by 7, each date in the quarter falls out on set day of the week, without any shifts from quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year. Each quarter in the calendar begins on Wednesday, the day of the creation of the heavenly bodies relevant to time keeping (Genesis 1:14-19). Every quarter throughout history is identical, consisting of two months of 30 days and third month of 31.

AuthorThe Book of Jubilees: Rewritten Bible, Redaction, Ideology and Theology (English: Brill; Hebrew: Magnes; 2007).

Here are the “anchored” feast days that never change based on this calendar:

  • Head of the Year (1st day of month one) – always falls on the 4th day of the week (Wednesday) after the Vernal Equinox.9
  • Passover (14th day of month one)
  • Unleavened Bread (15th-21st day of month one)
  • Shavuot/First Fruits (15th day of third month)
  • Trumpets (1st day of 7th month)
  • Atonement (10th day of 7th month)
  • Sukkot (15th-22nd day of 7th month) [Includes the Addition]

This calendar is also divisible by 7:

  • 7 days in a week
  • 7 yearly festivals
  • 7 Sabbaths’ countdown to Shavuot (Pentecost)
  • 7 Shmita (sabbatical) years
  • Enoch is the 7th from Adam

So, it would follow reason that the total number of calendar days for the year should also be divisible by 7. It is. 364 divided by 7 equals 52 weeks in a year. However, a 354 day lunar calendar is not divisible by 7, but 6. (And 6 is the number of man).

Solar and Lunar annual day calculations

The Enoch/Jubilees/Dead Sea Scrolls calendar places the Sun in the dominant position in terms of reckoning time. Here is a grid to help you see how this calendar works.

MonthMonthMonthMonthLength of DaysDay One Begins
1471030Wednesday (day four)
2581130Friday (day six)
3691231Sunday (day one)

Another interesting aspect of the Hebrew calendar was its relationship to the priestly courses (mismarot) outlined in 1 Chronicles. These courses would come to Jerusalem for Temple service for a week, then rotate out as the next group arrived there to do their service. Those who resided in Qumran relied upon this cycle for calendrical relevance, but also for timekeeping and historical documentation. Each sabbath, month, year and feast bore the name of a priestly family.10

Although we maintain that a solar calendar was the predominate system of timekeeping employed by faithful priests, there is evidence that they also maintained a lunisolar calendar. Authors Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise tell us:

Although the authors of the Qumran calendrical texts disdained the lunisolar calendar, a number of their writings synchronize the two versions. The reasons for this synchronization are not entirely clear, but two suggestions may be somewhere close to the mark. First, these authors considered all time holy and its measurement ordained by God. It was probably thought necessary that someone keep a proper record of its passing. Since the opponents of the authors could not be relied upon to do so — following as they did, an illicit system — the Qumran authors took the responsibility. Thus, they tracked time by the system of their opponents as well as by their own. Second, the authors of these texts certainly expected that at some time they would be in power in Jerusalem. At that time, of course, they would impose the solar calendar. But in order to know where they were in the year, they would have to know both the false lunisolar date and the real solar date. In fact, there is some evidence that at certain points in the Second Temple period the solar calendar actually was imposed, at least for short periods.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise

This would be the equivalent of us matching the days of the week of the 365 day Gregorian calendar with the 364 day solar calendar.

Why The Calendar Is Important

As stated earlier, the calendar was and is more than just a timekeeping register of the year. It existed before Creation and was/is observed by our Heavenly Father, His Son, and the Angels. When you study the calendrical appointed times and festivals, you will be better able to comprehend events described in the Scriptures. Understanding how the calendar works gives you a deeper understanding of the biblical narratives.

The calendar is also an instrument the Father uses to facilitate fellowship with Him, and maintain loving relationships with other believers in Yeshua. We believe community is fractured when we run to and fro; observing different feast days dictated by different calendars.

We are still learning and growing in our understanding of how and when the Father wants us to observe his appointed times. We do not have all the answers. However, we are learning more and more as we comb through the Scriptures and dedicate ourselves to prayer.

To assist you in your walk, we have designed a 2024/2025 Zadok calendar11 you can download. It corresponds to the Gregorian calendar and is easy to follow. We believe it will be a blessing to you and your family.


FOOTNOTES

1 Jeremiah 3:11, Baruch 1:1-4, Jeremiah 3:6-10, Leviticus 20:22, Leviticus 25:18

2 The Gospel Worth Dying For, Appendix I, “The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Feasts of Yahuah”

3 Tishrei (or Tishri) begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival.

4 Tammuz , meaning Sprout of Life , was a Sumerian god of fertility.

5 Strongs #H388

6 See The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 8, pages 125,126

7 1 Enoch Chapters 72-75 and Jubilees 4:23,24. We are told in Jubilees that Enoch was not translated to heaven as is often the commentary preached on Genesis 5:21-24. In the Jubilees 4 account he (Enoch) “was taken from amongst the children of men, and we (the angels) conducted him into the Garden of Eden in majesty and honour…”

8 The Book of Enoch, R.I. Burns, SageWorks Press, 2017

9 The Gregorian calendar designates January 1st as the start of the year while Rabbinic Judaism has civil and liturgical new years — Nisan and Rosh Hashanah.

10 The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise

11 Zadok was a high priest in the lineage of Aaron of the tribe of Levi (who was given the priesthood from his father Jacob). Download the 2023-2024 Calendar here.

The Bible Feasts Still Matter

The Bible Feasts Still Matter

Bible feasts take on new meaning once you understand the Gospel of the Kingdom message. Starting with the weekly Sabbath and continuing through Sukkot, each feast day on Yah’s calendar functions as a vivid reminder of covenant promises. These appointed times are also a foreshadowing of Kingdom life.

While most churchgoers in the United States can usually explain why they celebrate the Fourth of July or acknowledge Memorial Day, few can articulate the significance of the Bible feasts mentioned in the Old Testament, Book of Jubilees, and other ancient writings. Most Christian congregations will elevate Christmas and Easter, but are silent on the sacred assemblies referred to in the Scriptures as appointed feasts. [1]

Appointed Times And Their Calendar Connection

Every culture observes holidays and traditions linked to historical or religious traditions and events. These calendrical observances connect the past to the present, and can even point to the future.

Before we take a closer look into specific feast days and their significance, let’s review the creation week. In both Genesis and Jubilees’ accounts, we are told that the sun, moon, and stars were made on day four. They were commissioned to give light, rule day and night, and divide darkness from light. On the ancient Hebrew calendar, these functions were all related to the notion of sacred time. [3] However, the Sun was singled-out as a great sign:

And God appointed the sun to be a great sign on the earth for days and for sabbaths and for months and for feasts and for years and for sabbaths of years and for jubilees and for all seasons of years.

Book of Jubilees 2:9 R.H. Charles Translation

Here you have the Sun playing the role of righteous timepiece. In the context of sacred time, this great luminary acts as a beacon for feast days, sabbaths, and jubilees. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, Yah’s calendar goes beyond being just a register of the year. It forms the foundation of our covenant with the Most High and is a critical component of our priesthood. Since all believers in Messiah are destined to become kings and priests, having a reliable calendar is essential to fulfilling our covenant responsibilities.

The calendar anchors us to set-apart time. If the calendar is unreliable, we will be hampered in our walk and run the risk of following doctrines of demons and their twisted pagan celebrations.

And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning – three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts. But if they do neglect and do not observe them according to His commandment, they will disturb their seasons, and the years will be dislodged from this (order), [and they will disturb the seasons and the years and the years will be dislodged] and they neglect their ordinances. And all the children of Israel will forget, and will not find the path of the years, and will forget the new moons, and seasons, and sabbaths, and they will go wrong as to all the order of the years. For I know and from henceforth will I declare it unto thee, and it is not of my own devising; for the book (lies) written before me, and on the heavenly tablets the division of days is ordained, lest they forget the feasts of the covenant and walk according to the feasts of the Gentiles after their error and after their ignorance. For there will be those who will assuredly make observations of the moon – how (it) disturbs the seasons and comes in from ear to year ten days too soon. For this reason the years will come upon them when they will disturb (the order), and make an abominable (day) the day of testimony, and an unclean day a feast day, and they will confound all the days, the holy with the unclean, and the unclean day with the holy; for they will go wrong as to the months and sabbaths and feasts and jubilees.

Book of Jubilees 6:32-38 R. H. Charles translation

It is not the intention of this article to lay guilt or blame on anyone by referencing these verses. The calendar has been corrupted many times over the years, so it is impossible to know with absolute certainty which version is the correct one. However, we know that the Father will honor anyone who sincerely desires to walk in His ways.

Keys to The Calendar

The Prophet Enoch has left us with valuable insights that can help in our quest to observe feast days in their proper season. Here are keys that help us better understand when and how to celebrate the appointed times mentioned in the Bible and found in 1 Enoch. [5]

  • The Hebrews of antiquity followed a solar calendar
  • A year was 364 days [6]
  • Calendar days are divisible by 7
  • It is a priestly calendar; divided according to a seven-fold division of time
  • Work is prohibited every 7 days and at the following appointed times: Passover/Unleavened Bread (first and last day observance), Shavuot, Day of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Sukkot/Addition (first day of Sukkot and the 8th day)
  • Each year begins on the fourth day of the week
  • Every 7th year is a shmita (agricultural cycle) and 7 X 7s of year (49) +1 (50) make up a Jubilee
364 day solar calendar
Illustration based on 1 Enoch solar calendar

You will find a more detailed explanation of the Sun’s influence on the calendar in 1 Enoch 74: 10-17.

Great Signs and Peculiar People

The word sign can be defined as a “mark, token, image, or seal; something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual.” [8] In this context, the Sun acts as a great sign or token of future promises and events related to our covenant with Yah which will culminate in His coming Kingdom on earth.

The weekly Sabbath [9] is another great sign. This seventh day observance draws a line of demarcation between those committed to keeping the commandments and those who are not.

And He said unto us: ‘Behold, I will separate unto Myself a people from among all the peoples and these shall keep the Sabbath day, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people, and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify (it) unto Myself, even so will I bless them, and they shall be My people and I will be their God.

Book of Jubilees 1:19,20 R.H. Charles translation

This is a profound revelation. Honoring the seventh day Sabbath is a ritual ordained by our Creator. If you are tempted to claim that this doesn’t pertain to Christians, only “the Jews”, we have a question for you. If you have been grafted into Israel through faith in Messiah and belief in the Scriptures, do you qualify as being a part of Israel? Do you consider yourself to be one of those peculiar people mentioned in Old and New Testament scriptures as well as the Book of Jubilees?

And the Lord has chosen thee this day that thou shouldest be to him a peculiar people, and he said, to keep his commands.

Deuteronomy 26:18 Brenton Septuagint

For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.

Psalms 135:4 Brenton Septuagint

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 2:14 King James Version

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9 King James Version

In Hebrew, the word translated as ‘peculiar’ is segullah (Strong’s #H5459) and can mean a treasure, possession or jewel. In Greek the word is periousios (#G4041) and translates as belonging to one’s possession or a people selected by God from the other nations for his own possession. [10] It is fascinating that all believers in Yeshua who take part in the first resurrection event [11] will be the jewels that adorn New Jerusalem – the Bride – when she sets down on earth at the start of the Millennial reign of Christ. [12]

The Bible Feasts of Yahuah

Now that we have laid the foundation, let us examine the Feasts of Yahuah [13] and discuss their relevance to our walk with Yeshua, our High Priest in the Melchizedek order. As we mentioned earlier, built into the appointed days chronology is the concept of a perpetual counting of sevens, which is modeled after the seven creation days.

The the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘These are My appointed feasts of the LORD that you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’

Leviticus 23:1,2 Berean Study Bible

The Weekly Sabbath

The Hebrew word for Sabbath is Shabbat (#H7676) and translates as intermission or ceasing. It is usually related to the seventh day of the week or a special feast day set aside for resting or celebrating.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Genesis 2:2,3 New International Version

“But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. ‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

Exodus 31:13-17 Berean Study Bible

The Passover and Unleavened Bread

The Passover looks back at the Hebrew exodus from Egypt and looks forward to the day when Yeshua returns and resurrects believers dead or alive. [14] Unleavened Bread is one of three major annual festivals (including Shavuot and Sukkot) where attendance was mandatory. It was on these occasions that the people brought the first fruits of whatever harvest had ripened at that time.

Passover is anchored to Unleavened Bread and is a picture of Yeshua being the first fruits of those risen from the dead because of what his death accomplished on our behalf.

‘These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you hall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. on the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.

Leviticus 23:4-8 Berean Study Bible

So Moses told the people, “Remember this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; for the LORD brought you out of it by the strength of His hand. And nothing leavened shall be eaten.

Exodus 13:3 Berean Study Bible

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who Takes away the sin of the world!”

John 1:29 New King James Version

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude 1:24,25 Amplified Bible

It was during this appointed time that Abraham was tested on Mt. Moriah. [15] Remember, the lamb which was chosen on the tenth day of the new year was to be slain at twilight on the fourteenth day. (The lamb was held for four days so it could be inspected.) It was eaten on the fifteenth day of the first month which is Unleavened Bread.

Yeshua speaks of us keeping Passover/Unleavened Bread as a memorial forever because it will be kept in the Kingdom. [16] Passover is when Yeshua literally passes over resurrected saints as we are taken up from Sheol to New Jerusalem (the Bride) to be hidden away in our rooms while wrath is poured out on earth. [17] This explains the Apostle Paul’s reference to our “meeting him in the air.” [18] We are gather for Passover and will be undergoing the ordination into our respective priesthoods for seven days.

Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Feast of First Fruits

Shavuot is a festival that centers around the renewal of the covenant. When Moses asked Pharaoh to let the people go so they could worship on the mountain, he was referring to the renewal of the covenant at Mt. Sinai (Horeb) during Shavuot. Following the Shavuot meal, Moses goes higher up the mountain and stays forty days and nights. [19] This is the Law that was ordained and given to Moses on tablets. Both Isaac and Judah were born on Shavuot!

And on the new moon of the fourth month we appeared unto Abraham, at the oak of Mamre, and we talked with him, and we announced to him that a son would be given to him by Sarah, his wife. And we told her the name of her son, as his name is ordained and written in the heavenly tablets (i.e.) Isaac, and (that) when we returned to her at a set time, she would have conceived a son.

Book of Jubilees 16:1,3 R.H. Charles translation

And in the middle of the sixth month the Lord visited Sarah and did unto her as He had spoken and she conceived. And she bare a son in the third month, and in the middle of the month, at the time of which the Lord had spoken to Abraham, on the festival of the first fruits of the harvest, Isaac was born.

Book of Jubilees 16: 12,13 R.H. Charles translation

And again Jacob went into her (Leah), and she conceived, and bare him a fourth son, and he called his name Judah, on the fifteenth of the third month…

Book of Jubilees 28:16 R.H. Charles translation

Shavuot is a dual feast observance. It represents us fully receiving the Holy Spirit at the resurrection and harvest of souls on the Day of the Lord. It was during Shavuot that the sign of the rainbow was given as an eternal covenant. Humanity was also prohibited from drinking blood. It is a one day memorial held annually whereby the covenant is renewed.

And he gave Noah and his sons a sign that there shall not be again a flood on the earth. He set His bow in the cloud for a sign of the eternal covenant that there shall not again be a flood on the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth. For this reason it is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets that they should celebrate the feast of weeks in this month once a year, to renew the covenant every year. And this whole festival was celebrated in heaven from the day of creation until the days of Noah…till the day of Noah’s death and his sons did away with (it) until the days of Abraham, and they eat blood. But Abraham observed it, and Isaac and Jacob and his children observed it up to thy days, and in thy days the children of Israel forgot it until ye celebrated anew on this mountain.

Book of Jubilees 6:15-19 R.H. Charles translation [20]

I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:13-17 Berean Study Bible

Finally, in the Book of Jubilees we are told that Abraham dies on Shavuot.

And it came to pass in the first week in the forty-fourth jubilee, in the second year, that is, the year in which Abraham died, that Isaac and Ishmael came from the Well of the Oath to celebrate the feast of weeks – that is, the feast of the first fruits of the harvest – to Abraham, their father, and Abraham rejoiced because his two sons had come.

Book of Jubilees 22:1,2 R.H. Charles translation

Day of Trumpets

The Day of Trumpets, is celebrated on the first day of the seventh month. Also known as Yom Teruah, this day points to Yeshua’s second coming which coincides with the first resurrection.

And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Matthew 24:31 Berean Study Bible

Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and loud voices called out in heaven: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”

Revelation 11:15 Berean Study Bible

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying “Speak to the children of Israel”, saying, “in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a rest, a memorial of trumpets: it shall be to you a holy convocation. Ye shall do no service work, and ye shall offer a whole-burnt-offering to the Lord.”

Leviticus 23:23-25 Brenton Septuagint

Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement is ten days after Trumpets and begins on the evening of the ninth day and ends on the evening of the tenth day of the seventh month. It is a Sabbath that focuses on humility and prayer. Yom Kippur looks to the final and complete forgiveness of our sins as we receive new bodies incapable of ever sinning again. [21]

Again the Lord said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. You shall hold a sacred assembly and humble yourselves, and present an offering made by fire to the LORD. On this day you are not to do any work, for it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. If anyone does not humble himself on this day, he must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on this day. You are not to do any work at all. This is a permanent statute for the generations to come, wherever you live. It will be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you shall humble yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to keep your Sabbath.

Leviticus 23: 26-32 Brenton Septuagint
A Sukkot Sukkah
Example of a sukkah or booth for Sukkot Feast

Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles + The Addition

Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles is considered a festival of joy because it was during this time that Abraham learned that Sarah was with child. Abraham is the first to celebrate Sukkot; building booths of sukkahs for himself and his servants. It was during this festival that Jacob passed the priesthood to Levi.

On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you hav gathered the produce of the land, you are to celebrate a feast to the LORD for seven days. There shall be complete rest on the first day and also on the eighth day.

Leviticus 23:29,40 Berean Study Bible

The Addition

In the Book of Jubilees, Jacob is credited with adding an extra day to Sukkot.

And he celebrated there yet another day, and he sacrificed thereon according to all that he sacrificed on the former days, and called its name ‘Addition,’ for this day was added. And the former days he called ‘The Feast.’ And thus it was manifested that it should be, and it is written on the heavenly tablets: wherefore it was revealed to him that he should celebrate it, and add it to the seven days of the feast. And its name was called ‘Addition,’ because it was recorded amongst the days of the feast days, according to the number of days of the year.

Book of Jubilees 32:27-30 R.H.Charles translation

Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, and Sukkot were considered pilgrimage festivals. Attendance at these feasts were mandatory three times a year because it was during these gatherings that people brought the first fruits of whatever harvest was ripe at the time. These particular first fruit offerings consisted of barley in the Spring, Wheat in the Summer, plus wine, oil, olives, dates, grapes, figs and more in Autumn.

Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place where he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.

Deuteronomy 16:16 English Standard Version

These celebrations are known as the Feasts of Yah because the Father, the Angels, and our High Priest Yeshua keep them in heaven. We believe the third temple will be in the New Jerusalem that descends to this earth on the Day of the Lord. When that happens, we will have a more complete understanding of how to do the feasts the way the Father intends. In the meantime, look for fellow believers who celebrate the Bible feasts and join in the festivities.

Featured Image: Josefa de Ayala, “The Sacrificial Lamb”, circa 1670-1684


FOOTNOTES

  1. Some translations use the term festivals instead of feasts. Leviticus 23:2, Numbers 28 & 29
  2. Genesis 1:14-17, Jubilees 2:8-11 (There is no mention of planets, which the Scriptures call “wandering stars.” These are not defined as celestial bodies in orbit around the sun.)
  3. Book of Jubilees 2:9,10
  4. In Daniel 7:24,25 we are told that a ruler would rise who would blaspheme the Most High and change the calendar. It was Antiochus Epiphanes IV who dislodged biblical Israel from set-apart time. During his reign he imposed a lunar calendar on the nation of Israel for the sake of tax collection. The Aaronic high priesthood was dethroned and a Hellenized priesthood, which accepted this new lunar calendar, took is place (175-159 BCE). This new priesthood had nothing in common with the priesthood that began with Aaron.
  5. See The Dead Sea Scrolls, by Micheal O. Wise, Martin Abegg Jr, and Edward M. Cook, HarperOne. The Book of Enoch, Messianic Prophecy Edition, by R.I. Burns, SageWorks Press, 2017
  6. The number of days Noah stayed on the ark. King David composed 364 daily Psalms and 52 sacred Psalms, one for each of the 52 Sabbaths per year.
  7. Contrast this to the Jewish lunar and Rabbinic lunar-solar calendars, which are dependent on cycles of the moon and men’s observations. The months also carry Babylonian names like Nisan, Tammuz, and Elul.
  8. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, 2003. The Hebrew word for sign is oth (Strong’s #H226) and can mean a signal, beacon, evidence, sign, token or mark.
  9. Exodus 31:12-17
  10. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
  11. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17
  12. Read The Gospel Worth Dying For Chapter 5, “The Resurrections” and Chapter 6, “Here Comes the Bride”
  13. Read The Gospel Worth Dying For Appendix I, “The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Feasts of Yahuah. Numbers 28 contains a comprehensive breakdown of all the feasts and their offerings.
  14. Read The Gospel Worth Dying For,Chapter 4, “Yeshua Our High Priest”
  15. Genesis 22
  16. Luke 22, Matthew 26, Ezekiel 45
  17. Jeremiah 31:38-40
  18. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17
  19. Galatians 3:19 and Hebrews 2:2 (Angels were known for showing up on feast days!
  20. This is a conversation between the Angel of the Presence and Moses while he was atop Mt. Sinai (Horeb) receiving the Law.
  21. Read The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 8, “Sheol, Heaven, and Gehenna”
Make Unleavened Bread

Make Unleavened Bread

Here is an easy to make unleavened bread recipe, just in time for the annual Spring feast observances. This recipe uses only five ingredients. It is a savory recipe, but can be tweaked if you want a sweeter flatbread.

On the night of the Passover, the Israelites in Egypt were told to prepare a meal in haste. They needed to be ready to grab their belongings and leave when Aaron and Moses gave the word. This meant that their bread would not contain a leavening agent which, under normal circumstances, would be given time to rise.

This is how you are to eat it: You must be fully dressed for travel, with your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You are to eat in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.

Exodus 12:11 (Berean Study Bible)

And they baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had no yeast, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves..

Exodus 12:39 (New American Standard)

For the matzoh dough you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
  • minced garlic or onion (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water or broth

Prepare Your Dough

Combine wet and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Once combined, the matzoh dough should be sticky. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured countertop or cutting board. Knead the dough gently by hand for a few minutes until it becomes smooth. Take care not to overwork the dough.

Unleavened bread dough

Roll dough into a ball and cover with a cloth to allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Next, divide your large dough ball into 8-10 pieces and roll each into smaller balls. Roll out each ball into flattened discs; making the dough as thin as possible.

Rolling out dough

Heat Your Pan

You can use either a cast iron skillet or a nonstick pan to dry fry the dough. If you use a nonstick pan, apply a thin coating of olive oil to the surface. Put a drop of oil about the size of a nickel on the surface and spread it around with your hand or silicone brush. Do this before you turn on the heat!

Set the cooktop temperature to medium high and wait for the pan to heat up. You pan is hot enough when you hear a sizzling sound after splashing a few drops of water onto the surface.

Unleavened bread in pan

Lay your rolled out dough into the pan, turning after about two minutes per side. You will notice the dough filling with air pockets in spots. That’s a good sign. Flip it when the flatbread has cooked through. Place each cooked flatbread under a towel to keep it warm and moist. That’s it.

Unleavened bread on plate