Prepping for Sukkot 2024

Prepping for Sukkot 2024

It is hard to believe, but we are only a few months away from Sukkot  – the Feast of Tabernacles. Recognizing that we no longer live under a Temple system, the Father is honored when His children do what they can to memorialize this important Festival.

Faith brothers and sisters are scattered all over this earthly realm. Unfortunately, not everyone will have friends nearby to join them in this 7+ day Festival. But you still have options.

Whether you plan to celebrate solo, with family, or with a group, here are some suggestions to help you prepare for these upcoming days of joy.

Celebrating Solo

If you will be celebrating solo, here are some things you can do:

  • Try to plan your vacation time around the feast days
  • If you can’t get the entire time off from work, request days off on the 1st and 8th days of the festival. Or, set aside time each day for prayer, praise, and worship.
  • Construct a sukkah or booth in your apartment, flat, patio, or backyard. You can even pitch a small pop-up tent inside your apartment for the week.
  • Cut some palm tree branches and wave them while listening to praise & worship music.

Celebrating with Family

  • If building a backyard Sukkah is impractical, consider traveling to a nearby park or recreational area that allows for tent or recreational vehicle (RV) camping. Invite others who follow the Torah to join you. 
  • Sukkot is not ‘just camping’ so try to align your activities as closely as possible to what is written in the Scriptures. (Lev 23:33-44, Deut 16:13-15, Num 29:12)
  • Assign various family members activities that fit their gifts and interests. Someone who is musically gifted can lead worship. Others can lead scripture discussion groups. 
  • Build a campfire each night (if allowed) to encourage fellowship.
  • Again, try to plan vacation days to coincide with these feast days.

Celebrating with a Group

Finding a Sukkot group can be tricky if you are new to the Torah and have not met others who share your understanding of scripture or maturity level. When beliefs collide during the feast days, it can get ugly. Over the years our ministry has heard stories of people leaving in a huff because they were offended by other’s interpretations of scripture meanings. This is why it is important for you to thoroughly research Sukkot groups who promote gatherings online. This is an important first step.

If the ministry you follow online offers a fellowship finder app, this is even better. Download the app and register. Most are zip-code (in the US) linked, so it is not hard to connect with others in your area. Just be transparent when you reach out and let the person know how you found them.

If you want to host your own gathering, the fellowship finder method also works. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Decide who will host the gathering and publish their contact email addresses.
  • Scout a location to host the gathering. A state park is an excellent resource.
  • Once you decide on a location, look for zip codes within a reasonable drive to the location. For example, if you want to host the event in Waco, Texas, draw a 50-mile perimeter around the city and contain those who fall within that distance. It is up to you to decide how small or big you want the gathering to be.
  • Write a detailed introductory email explaining the who, what, when, where, why, and how — especially how you found them. Here is an example email:
Sample Fellowship Finder email
  • Create a webpage where people can get details, including contact email addresses.
  • Plan Q & A Zoom meetups to get feedback and enlist volunteers to help with Sukkot planning.

Final Thoughts on Prepping for Sukkot 2024

While this is not an exhaustive guide, it should be enough to get you started. The important thing to remember is why we gather in the first place. When we honor YHWH by observing His appointed times, we become anchored to our spiritual roots and stir up our faith in a glorious future as resurrected Kingdom people. Historically these pilgrimage feasts were beneficial for the people of Yah in several ways:

  1. These annual gatherings put the numerical strength and beauty of Yah’s people on display to the world.
  2. Leaving our daily routines and getting out into nature restores our health and well-being.
  3. Children and young adults realize they are not ‘weird’ when they bond with each other Yah’s way.
  4. We enlarge our understanding of the Scriptures in an atmosphere of love and appreciation for what YHWH and Yeshua have done for us.
  5. We get a ‘taste’ of what the Kingdom will be like.
  6. We demonstrate our commitment to obey YHWH’s commandments by honoring His feast days.

Hope this helps. We pray your Sukkot will be filled with joy this year.

Shavuot — Yah’s Divinely Appointed Harvest Festival

Shavuot — Yah’s Divinely Appointed Harvest Festival

As millions of professing believers prepare to observe the national day of Thanksgiving on November 23rd, few will realize that this tradition has nothing in common with Yahuah’s true harvest festival — Shavuot. When one considers Shavuot’s significance in biblical history, a case can surely be made that it is arguably the most significant of all the moedim Torah instructs us to observe each year. This can not be said of the Thanksgiving day observances in which many will participate in out of tradition. More on this later.

The significance of the Shavuot pilgrimage festival is affirmed in the Torah as well as the canonical Book of Jubilees.1 Jubilees devotes considerable attention to this dual festival, also known as the Feast of Weeks joined with First-Fruits. Here is the angelic account of the dual nature of this harvest festival as told to Mosheh (Moses) on Mt. Sinai:

For it is the Festival of Shabuoth and the Feast of First-Fruits: This Feast is twofold and of a double nature: according to what is written and engraved concerning it, celebrate it. For I have written in the book of the first Torah, in that which I have written for you that you should celebrate it in its season, one day in the year, and I explained to you its slaughterings that the children of Yisra’el should remember and should celebrate it through their generations in this month, one day in every year.

Jubilees 6: 20,21 Halleluyah Scriptures

Shavuot is anchored to our Covenant with Yahuah Most High (YHWH).

Genesis tells us that after Noah and his family endured the horrors of the deluge, the Father made a promise to him and all of humankind.

And I shall establish My Covenant with you, and never again is all flesh cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again is there a flood to destroy the earth. And Elohim said, “This is the sign of the Covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for all generations to come: “I shall put My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the Covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud, and I shall remember My Covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and never again let the waters become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I shall see it, to remember the everlasting Covenant between Elohim and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

Genesis 9:11-16 Halleluyah Scriptures
rainbow covenant
The rainbow is a sign of the Covenant between YHWH and believers in His Mashiach

The writer of Genesis quickly moves on from here. However, the sixth chapter of Jubilees sheds more light on Shavuot.

During the time that Moses was on Mt. Horeb (Sinai), the angelic agent2 of Yahuah also revealed that this unique festival day had been written on heavenly scrolls and had been observed since the Creation.

He placed His rainbow in the cloud for a sign of the everlasting Covenant that there should not be a flood again on the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth. For this reason it is ordained and written on the tablets of the shamayim (heaven/s), that they should celebrate the Festival of Shabuoth (Shavuot) in this month once a year, to renew the Covenant every year. And this whole Festival was celebrated in the shamayim from the day of creation till the days of Noah: twenty-six Yobelim (Jubilees) and five weeks of years.

Jubilees 6:16-18(a) Halleluyah Scriptures

Moses was also informed that even though Noah’s sons failed to continue in their father’s ways after he died, the festival of Shavuot was celebrated by Abraham.

And Noah and his sons observed it for seven Yobelim and one week of years, till the day of Noah’s death. And from the day of Noah’s death, his sons forsook it until the days of Abraham, and they ate blood. But Abraham observed it, and Yishaq and Ya’aqob and his children observed it up to your days, and in your days the children of Yisra’el forgot it until you celebrated it anew on this mountain.

Jubilees 6:18(b)-19 Halleluyah Scriptures

Religious Appropriation or the Plan from the Beginning?

Many in the Orthodox Jewish (and Evangelical Christian) community share the sentiment below that was posted recently on the GWDF YouTube channel. The video that triggered this person featured a recent Sukkot celebration held in Texas by this ministry. comment regarding religious appropriation
domenico fetti
Peter’s Vision by artist Domenico Fetti 1619

The Scriptures teach that Yisrael was to be a light to the world. All nations were to be blessed through Yisrael, based on the nation’s obedience to Torah.

It was prophesied that the Messiah would come through the line of Judah (Yahudah). However, Yisrael (as in all 12 tribes) was expected to instruct the “stranger” among them in the ways of the Torah and hold them to the same religious standards as themselves. Yah’s rituals associated with Covenant obedience were designed to teach everyone proper worship. These instructions in righteous living also pointed to promises regarding the coming Messiah who would be an agent of redemption through his High Priesthood.

A heart that professes to love Elohim Most High but desires to keep the glorious news of the Gospel veiled to all but a chosen few raises red flags.

The Book of Acts sadly reminds us that one of Yeshua’s inner-circle disciples — Peter — took issue with sharing what ‘belonged’ to Yisrael with unclean gentile nations. This was not a vision about unclean animals. It had everything to do with opening the door of the Kingdom to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.3 Peter had to purge his mind and heart of error-filled rabbinic theology.

And on the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Kepha (Peter) went up on the house top to pray, about the sixth hour. And he became hungry and wanted to eat. But while they were preparing, he fell into a trance, and he saw the shamayim opened and a certain vessel like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping creatures, and the birds of the shamayim. And a voice came to him, “Rise up, Kepha, slay and eat.” But Kepha said, “Not at all, Adonai! Because I have never eaten whatever is common or unclean.” And a voice came to him again the second time, “What Elohim has cleansed you do not consider common.”

Acts/Maaseh 10:9-15 Halleluyah Scriptures

Theologian Albert Barnes:

Perhaps Peter would suppose that the design of this vision was to instruct him that the distinction between clean and unclean food, as recognized by the Jews, was about to be abolished, Acts 10:17. But the result showed that it had a higher and more important design. It was to show him that they who had been esteemed by the Jews as unclean or profane – the entire Gentile world – might now be admitted to similar privileges with the Jews. That barrier was broken down, and the whole world was to be admitted to the same fellowship and privileges in the gospel.

At this point, it is important to distinguish between true biblical Yisrael and the nation-state that currently bears the name Israel in the Middle East. Biblical, spiritual Yisrael consists of believers from every nation, tribe, tongue, and people who have put their faith in Yahuah’s son — our Messiah — for redemption. This process, also known as salvation, is carried out by our High Priest Yeshua and will reach its fulfillment when we are resurrected. So, no one group can claim ‘ownership’ of Covenant blessings that have been ordained since the foundation of the world by our Heavenly Father. While everyone is ‘eligible’ to receive these promises, not everyone will qualify.

Thanksgiving — A Shavuot Counterfeit?

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving poster

Christianity has marketed the third Thursday of November as a day set aside to give thanks to God for agricultural bounty. When you research the origin of Thanksgiving you may be shocked to discover its pagan harvest festival roots.

Since childhood, most of us were told that Thanksgiving is a day ‘to honor God’ for all His blessings. Do you believe Yah approves of his children participating in a meal that is linked to gods of agriculture and at one time was associated with child sacrifice?

When you research the origin of Thanksgiving you may be shocked to discover its harvest festival roots that can be traced back to ancient Babylon and Rome.

This so-called holiday is also linked to war. Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Freedom from Want” painting was a promotional poster for the World War II war effort and insinuated that we should give thanks for the effort that kept Americans free from want. It appealed to the emotions of a nation desiring the comfort and security that only The Most High can supply.

Even Country Living online magazine is aware of Thanksgiving’s pagan roots and symbolism such as the Cornucopia or Horn of Plenty:

The word “cornucopia” is derived from two Latin words: cornu, meaning “horn,” and copia, meaning “plenty.” A frequent presence in Greek and Roman folklore, the overflowing cornucopia was often depicted as a symbolic accessory carried by gods and goddesses like Hercules, Fortuna, and Demeter. It was first described as an actual animal “horn” taken from Amalthea, the goat nurse of Zeus. According to the ancient Greeks, baby Zeus was being cared for and fed by Amalthea when he broke off one of her horns, which began to emit a constant supply of food for him. That’s how this “horn of plenty” first came to symbolize prosperity, wealth, and abundance. The pagan symbol was later adopted by Christians and used often in European harvest festivals to celebrate lush, bountiful crops. It was also used on currencies, coats of arms, and church decorations.

Knowing all this, should we, as Torah-observant followers of Yeshua, continue to believe that Yahuah is pleased when we serve up Thanksgiving ‘holiday’ meals? We are commanded not to worship in the manner of the heathen. The Father has already designated a day in the Spring for harvest thanksgiving. It is Shavuot.


1 The book of Jubilees is considered canon by Ethiopian Jews and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Fragments found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran which were compared to the Ethiopian version of Jubilees found them to agree.

2 See Chapter 9, “Agency and Prolepsis”, The Gospel Worth Dying For, page 147

3 Revelation 14:6, Revelation 5:9

Photo credit: Laura James

The Biblical Fall Feasts – A Time of Trumpets, Tears, and Triumph

The Biblical Fall Feasts – A Time of Trumpets, Tears, and Triumph

The Zadok calendar places these Biblical Fall Feasts — the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Sukkot — in the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year. On the fourth day of this week (Wednesday), we will kick off this season of celebration with a day of Trumpets. Ten days later will be a day of humble reflection known as the Day of Atonement, followed by a week of joyous celebration and fellowship at Sukkot.

Before we summarize the significance of each festival, let us pause to reflect on a few important points regarding how we as disciples living in the 21st century should view our participation in these appointed times.

biblical fall feasts

Church or Ekklesia?

The Greek word ekklesia is used in several writings of the New Testament such as the book of Acts, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Peter. Most English translations have replaced ekklesia with the word church, which is unfortunate because it camouflages the term’s deeper meaning.

The word church denotes a gathering place set aside for worship amongst those of a particular denomination who agree on doctrine and styles of worship. The New Testament use of this word connotes any assembly of people. Following the Reformation, the term church was more or less a generalized umbrella term for either a place of worship, a body of believers collectively, or ecclesiastical authority.

Christian1 is a description that was first coined in the city of Antioch. This word identified those who were followers of Christ – the anointed one.

Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. So for a full year they met together with the church and taught large numbers of people. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.

Acts 11: 25,26

However, instead of the word church, the descriptive term ekklesia elevates our understanding of the unique purpose of disciples of Messiah who identify and connect with the Torah from a Hebraic mindset.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

Now if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you will be My treasured possession out of all the nations–for the whole earth is Mine.

Exodus 19:5

Remember, the collective books of the so-called New Testament did not exist during the time of the first apostles. The word church was never uttered by the apostles and early disciples. Followers of Yeshua were mostly known as the people of the Way — followers of the path of righteousness taught by Yeshua.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it

Matthew 7:13,14

And there will be a highway called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not travel it–only those who walk in the Way–and fools will not stray onto it.

Isaiah 35:8

The letters and writings that would eventually make up the New Testament had yet to be published in a Bible that was split into two parts called the Old and New Testaments. This publishing “line of demarcation” was artificially imposed on readers by Bible publishers.

According to Tomas Bokedal, associate professor at the University of Aberdeen:

The first New Testament books to be written down are reckoned to be the 13 that comprise Paul’s letters (circa 48-64 CE), probably beginning with 1 Thessalonians or Galatians. Then comes the Gospel of Mark (circa 60-75 CE). The remaining books – the other three Gospels, letters of Peter, John, and others as well as Revelation – were all added before or around the end of the first century. By the mid-to-late hundreds CE, major church libraries would have had copies of these, sometimes alongside other manuscripts later deemed apocrypha.

As followers of Yeshua and people of the Covenant who have been grafted into Israel (Yashar’el), we are expected to obey the terms of this eternal covenant. This means we should practice memorializing all appointed feast days as best we can.

The Biblical Fall Feasts

The Feast of Trumpets

On the first day of the seventh month, you are to hold a sacred assembly, and you must not do any regular work. This will be a day for you to sound the trumpets. Numbers 29:1

In the Old Testament, trumpets were used to call Yahuah’s people to war, announce victories won by Him, and declare the coming of the King. On the Day of the Lord, the trumpet sound believers hear will be a joyful noise that means resurrection. However, unbelievers will be terrorized by it since it will signal the coming of Yeshua with his great army of angels.

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 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 24:30,31

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must be clothedf with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

1 Corinthians 15: 51-53

The Feast of Trumpets not only marks the beginning of the seventh month but it is a time for reflection, repentance, and anticipation of the future. In 1 Corinthians 15:51, the type of trumpet referred to was likely a silver trumpet. In Leviticus 23:24, the Israelites were instructed to use silver trumpets instead of shofars or ram’s horns. Silver trumpets were used for various ceremonial purposes throughout the year. They were blown to announce important events, such as the gathering of the congregation, the start of festivals, the calling of leaders, and even during times of war. the shofar had a unique sound and was seen as a call for repentance, awakening, or reflection. It was blown on specific set-apart days while the silver trumpets seemed to serve more general ceremonial purposes.

Yahuah said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly announced by trumpet blasts. You must not do any regular work, but you are to present an offering made by fire to the LORD.’ ”

Leviticus 23:23-25

This feast day is a Sabbath, so no servile work is to be done. On the GWDF Zadok calendar, the Feast of Trumpets happens this week on the fourth day (Wednesday). The countdown clocks for each appointed feast that follows are set to Central time (USA) based on the Zadok calendar.

Day of Atonement

Again YHWH 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 YHWH. Leviticus 23:26-27

The Day of Atonement is a Sabbath — a holy convocation or feast day. Although many who follow Judaism feel this is a time of fasting, there is no instruction given in the Bible for us to abstain from food. So, what does it mean to humble yourself if we do not follow the definition given in Isaiah 58?

The answer can be found in Jubilees 34 which gives the origin of this day of Atonement — the 10th day of the 7th month. After Joseph had been sold into slavery by his 10 brothers, they deceived their father Jacob by showing him Joseph’s bloody coat. Upon hearing the news of his son’s (presumed) death, Jacob’s entire household went into mourning. Bilhah and his daughter Dinah died during this time as well.

And he mourned for Joseph one year, and did not cease, for he said “Let me go down to the grave mourning for my son.” For this reason it is ordained for the children of Israel that they should afflict themselves on the tenth of the seventh month — on the day that the news which made him weep for Joseph came to Jacob his father — that they should make atonement for themselves thereon with a young goat on the tenth of the seventh month, once a year, for their sins; for they had grieved the affection of their father regarding Joseph his son. And this day hath been ordained that they should grieve thereon for their sins, and for all their transgressions and for all their errors, so that they might cleanse themselves on that day once a year.

Jubilees 34: 22-25

The affliction of the soul is mourning over sin. Symbolically Joseph would be Yeshua and we are the guilty brothers. However, Yeshua shows great compassion toward us and will not only resurrect us to eternal life but ultimately bring us into the goodly land of the Kingdom to come.

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 23:28-32

Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles

And YHWH said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Feast of Tabernacles to YHWH begins, and it continues for seven days. Leviticus 23:33-34

In just over two weeks, we will gather for Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles.

On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly. You must not do any regular work. For seven days you are to present an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a solemn assembly; you must not do any regular work.

Leviticus 23: 35-36

On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly. You must not do any regular work. For seven days you are to present an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a solemn assembly; you must not do any regular work.

Leviticus 23: 35-36

After his brothers had gone up to the festival, the he also went up, not openly but secretly.

John 7:10

Sukkot is symbolic of life in the Kingdom — and beyond — when we will literally tabernacle with Yahuah, his son Yeshua, the righteous angels, and all the redeemed. We will finally be able to fulfill our calling as kings and priests under the sovereign rule of YHWH and his son Yeshua.

The 8th day of Sukkot — also called Addition — symbolizes the end of sin, the emptying of Sheol, and the destruction of the wicked. This day was commissioned by Jacob and ordained by the Father after he had bestowed the priesthood on Levi during Sukkot.

And in those days Rachel became pregnant with her son Benjamin. And Jacob counted his sons from him upwards and Levi fell to the portion of the Lord, and his father clothed him in the garments of the priesthood and filled his hands. And on the fifteenth of this month, he brought to the altar fourteen oxen from amongst the cattle, and twenty-eight rams, and forty-nine sheep, and seven lambs, and twenty-one kids of the goats as a burnt-offering, inconsequence of the vow which he had vowed that he would give a tenth, with their fruit-offering, and their drink offerings.

Jubilees 32:3-6

It was also during this time that Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.2 He was told that he would die peacefully in Egypt3 and be buried with honor in the Promised Land, alongside his father Isaac, and grandfather Abraham.

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 the days of the year.

Jubilees 32:26-29

As you know, some members of the GWDF community will be gathering in Texas to memorialize Sukkot. We will pray, praise, and wave palm branches. Some of us will sleep in tents and all will fellowship around Yah’s word under the stars. We will share meals, pray for each other, and love one another as we memorialize this glorious feast week.

We pray blessings on everyone who will be gathering together — wherever you are in the world — to memorialize these wonderful feast days. Shalom!


1 The name was first given to the worshippers of Yeshua by the Gentiles (nations). From the second century Justin Martyr onward the term was accepted by them as a title of honor. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: a Christian, a follower of Christ.

2 Compare Jubilees 32 with Genesis 35.

3 Read Genesis 48 and 49

The Biblical Calendar Then and Now – A Book Review

The Biblical Calendar Then and Now – A Book Review

Bill and Karen Bishop’s book The Biblical Calendar Then and Now is bound to stir up controversy.

However, the same could be said of most literary works that challenge preconceptions and personal prejudices. If you’re like me, you are reluctant to dismiss a topic simply because it may make others feel uncomfortable. The goal is not to upset or to trigger others, but to motivate all of us to dig a little deeper and pray a bit harder in the pursuit of Scriptural truths. The late Walter Martin understood that, in the pursuit of truth, many would be labeled controversial.

truth quote

This brings us to the topic of the Biblical calendar. Never has one word — calendar — stirred up so many passions amongst followers of Yeshua and worshippers of the Almighty. Mention the calendar and mayhem and confusion will inevitably follow.

The Great Calendar Divide

The only calendar most believers were exposed to in church included seasonal observances that were never a part of Torah-observant ancient Hebraic culture. These traditional religious expressions of faith may have involved participating in family Christmas or Easter gatherings.

As believers, we look for ways to express and fight for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints.

Jude 1:3 NASB

Those who are new to the Torah inevitably find themselves torn between sincerely desiring to observe Yahuah’s feast days and appointed times and maintaining healthy family relationships. Confusion over how to express this faith in a post-temple priesthood era only adds to the frustration.

There are other challenges believers face when trying to find “the correct” calendar to follow:

  • A lack of a clear Biblical calendar methodology
  • Ignorance of historical events that impacted calendar methodology
  • Rejection of extra-biblical writings that may shed light on calendar construction methodology
  • Silence from the pulpit regarding Yah’s calendar and its required Sabbaths, Feasts, and appointed times
  • Lack of understanding of how the calendar we follow is tied to our Covenant duties and responsibilities
The Biblical Calendar Then and Now book cover

Enter Bill and Karen Bishop and their book The Biblical Calendar Then and Now.

The authors humbly submit that their work is a way for the reader to challenge personal assumptions and stretch their understanding concerning how the calendar is divinely constructed. While not intended to be a theological dissertation on the calendar, the authors’ intention is clear — “to provide a practicable body of evidence that will spur further revelation through constructive dialogue, study, and debate on this topic among sincere believers of the Torah.”

The tone of the book is respectful and substantive. The chapters are designed to answer most of the questions they have encountered over the years. The writing is very straightforward, and the reader is encouraged to invest the time necessary to do their own research. The approach is not that of calendar “evangelists” whose motive is to sway you to their way of thinking. Their conversational writing style draws you in and logically walks you through the justifications given for various calendar-keeping methodologies.

The Biblical Calendar Book Review Synopsis

The book begins by helping the reader understand four main categories of Torah-based calendars and the methodology behind their determinations:

  • Luni-Solar
  • Astronomical Conjunction
  • The Sighting Method
  • The Hillel Method

The GWDF community will notice I did not mention the Zadokite calendar in this list. Hold on, it’s coming.

Chapter 1 of the book helps the reader understand how these different calendars are formulated. In the second chapter, the authors present a calendar “consideration” that has been hiding in plain sight for years. They point out in appropriate detail how the sun and harvest seasons (working together) help determine the timing of the feasts.

The Luminaries and Their Cycles

Most English-speaking followers of Yeshua lack a functional knowledge of Hebrew. When we read through the Psalms and Old Testament literature, words like “new moons” or “seasons” distort our understanding of what is written. Etymology matters.

In chapter 3, the authors delve into the Hebraic intent of certain words; even examining aspects of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. Words and definitions play a key role in understanding calendar formulations that involve the luminaries that were created on Day 4. The four seasonal transitions (spring, summer, autumn, winter) are explained in connection with the annual equinoxes and solstices.

Since all calendars require periodic adjustments, the need for intercalation is also explained and discussed in detail.

Historical Context + Ancient Writings

According to the writers, the Babylonian exile and the corruption of the Levitical priesthood are also factors in how the Biblical calendar was corrupted. They encourage readers to do a deep dive into the history surrounding the Sadducees, Pharisees, the Hasmonean Dynasty, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to the authors:

Though the Sadducees and the Pharisees did not agree in many respects, these two groups managed to cooperate with one another to run the Temple in their day…The calendar decisions they made then would have been based on lunar criteria, and loosely hinged to the evolving calendar we know as the Jewish Hillel calendar today. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls and encyclopedic research confirm that some sectarian groups observed a calendar other than the one sanctioned by the Sanhedrin.

The Zadokite Calendar

In Chapter 10, sufficient attention is paid to the Zadokite solar calendar. The authors confess that they initially tried to find reasons to disqualify this version of the Biblical calendar but couldn’t. Biblical Scripture is the filter through which they base their conclusions.

These observations regarding this calendar are made in this chapter of the book :

  • The “festival nature” of the equinox and solstice seasonal markers
  • The Zadokite year always makes a complete circuit
  • The Biblical New Year always begins in Spring
  • The year will always begin on Day 4 (Wednesday) of creation
  • A year = 364 days/52 weeks of 7 days each
  • There is never a 13th month added (for intercalation)

Make Your Own Calendar

Chapter 21 ties everything together by revisiting reasons why a lunar-based reckoning did not make sense for a people (Hebrews) whose lifestyles were agrarian-centric. Again, the authors leave the final decision as to which calendar to follow up to the reader.

However, those who would like to “test” the Zadokite calendar are given the tools to do so in the appendices section of the book. They provide the formulae and templates, data, and schemata necessary to make your own Zadokite calendar.

Those who are serious about meeting with their Creator on the appointed days he ordained should consider purchasing this book. A link to the Bishop’s website — Returning to the Garden — is posted below.

Book Ratings:

  • Research — 5/5
  • Writing — 5/5
  • Support Materials — 5/5

The Biblical Calendar Then and Now is 96 pages long. It is very easy to read and comprehend. There is bonus material in the appendices section at the end of the book. Those who want to put into practice what they have learned about the Zadokite solar calendar can use the templates, data, and schemata to chart their own calendar year!

Website: Returning to the Garden

Purchase the book on Amazon

Experiencing Sukkot Joy

Experiencing Sukkot Joy

And Abraham built there an altar to Yahuah who had delivered him, and who was making him to rejoice in the land of his sojourning, and he celebrated a festival of joy in this seventh month for seven days, near the altar which he had built at the Well of the Oath. And he built booths for himself and for his servants on this festival, and he was the first to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) on the earth. Book of Jubilees, Chapter 16

Jubilees tells us that Abraham was the first on earth to celebrate the festival of Sukkot just a few months after Issac was born at the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost/First Fruits). Talk about a time of rejoicing in Yahuah following the birth of the first-generation child that would receive the blessings of the covenant between Yahuah and Abraham in Genesis chapters 12 and 15.

We never knew Abraham or Issac but we do know Yahuah. We are witnesses to the faithfulness of His promises to keep His covenant with this generation and those to come; for believers that love Him, keep the testimony of Yeshua’s resurrection, and obey His ordinances. We also need to love one another and ourselves.

Sukkot – A Festival of Joy

Sukkot is a true festival of joy for every believer in Yahuah. It occurs during early fall as the summer crops ripen such as grapes, olives, pomegranates, and more. It is a celebration honoring all our Heavenly Father has blessed us with and will continue to bless those that love Him and keep His commandments. We rejoice in Yeshua, our High Priest, who sits at the right hand of Yahuah in heaven, mediating for his brothers and sisters in faith. What a wonderful time for all believers.

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of Yahuah; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

1 Peter 3:21b-22 KJV

The 2023 Sukkot will be my seventeenth celebration and I have wonderful memories of every festival. I have celebrated Sukkots with just one other person and with more than a thousand people attending. Each one was a blessed time because in my heart I knew there were other like-minded believers all over the face of this earth also doing their best to follow Yah’s instructions for keeping His feasts. I know our heavenly Father, His Son, and all celestial beings and luminaries above are looking down with big smiles on their faces thinking those kids do love us almost as much as we love each and every one of them. Brothers and sisters, that is what rejoicing at Sukkot looks like to me. Praise Yah!

Sukkot gives us a chance to practice two of Yahshua’s greatest commandments – to love our Father in heaven and to love each other with all our hearts. This year our ministry, GWDF, is inviting believers in our area to join us at Lake Brownwood state park in Texas. I look forward to meeting new and old friends deep in the heart of Texas where the park is located.

Sukkahs with a Dash of Creativity

There are many ways to celebrate Sukkot in a joyful manner. Folks celebrating the festival may sleep in tents, RVs, Sukkahs, hammocks, cars, and pickup camper shells or beds. Some of the GWDF group will camp out for nine nights while others only a few nights around the weekend in the middle of the feast.

Believers living in cities all over will decorate Sukkahs on their balconies and rooftops inviting friends and family to join them for special meals throughout the festival. Others will camp in their backyards or gazebos, have slumber parties in their congregation parking lots or in their church buildings, and still others will rest under the stars in open fields or woods. These are all great ways to honor Yah by following the ordinance of keeping Sukkot.

Sukkot – A Wonderful “Family Reunion”

Sukkot is a great time to get back in touch with Yahuah’s creation family. We will be still and enjoy the great outdoors while feeling a breeze of fresh air blow across our faces. Sukkot time is spent watching Yah’s kids of all ages laughing, singing, playing, hiking, and melting smores on an open fire. It is a time when we enjoy fireside chats with other believers, looking up at the stars while singing songs to the heavens above. Many will choose to renew their covenant with Yahuah by water immersion. It will be a time of reading Yah’s word, praying for each other, and sharing our testimonies as we enjoy the love all around us. All these events are a foreshadowing of eternal times to come.

Trust me, family, you will make long-term friends and memories at Sukkot. Many eyes tear up on the last day while we pack to go home as we all yearn for the days when we dwell with our heavenly Father, His Son, and the resurrected family of believers in the New Jerusalem kingdom of everlasting love. Amen!

In those days Yahuah bade (them) to summon and to testify to the children of earth concerning their wisdom: Show it unto them; for ye are their guides, and recompense over the whole earth. For I and my son will be united with them forever in the paths of uprightness in their lives; and ye shall have peace: rejoice, ye children of uprightness.

1 Enoch: 105

The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Feasts of Yah

The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Feasts of Yah

The Gospel of the Kingdom is the ageless story of when the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth. The event known as the Day of Yahuah (Day of the Lord) was a key component of Yeshua’s Gospel message from day one of his ministry. This unique day in history was written about by Enoch, prophesied by Isaiah, envisioned by John, and authored by our heavenly Father before the creation began.

At his first coming, Yeshua’s mission was to proclaim the eternal benefits of his Father’s Kingdom to come. He said it would be a place devoid of disease, poverty, hunger, thirst, fear, or sin. Peace would abound. Citizenship in this Kingdom will ultimately be granted to those who put their faith in him as their Redeemer.

The Gospel of the Kingdom unlocks the mysteries of heaven, speaks of Yeshua’s high priesthood, explains the ministry of angels, and speaks of the eternal destiny of the righteous.

Most of us have understood the Gospel to mean Yeshua’s death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. But there is more to this amazing story. Much more.

The Feasts Proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom

Our heavenly Father never intended for his children to be left stumbling in the dark, confused about their future. He left us evidence of his plan to redeem mankind within the pages of our Bibles. When you thumb through chapter 23 of Leviticus, you will discover how this Gospel of the Kingdom is proclaimed during appointed times and feast days. Read on.

Then Yahuah said to Moshe, speak to the Israelites and say to them, “These are My appointed feasts, the feasts of Yahuah that you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”

Leviticus 23:1,2

The twenty-third chapter of Leviticus gives us a detailed outline of the annual appointed times and holy convocation assemblies we are expected to honor as covenant keepers. 

These are Yahuah’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.

Leviticus 23:4

This goes beyond ritual. These assemblies encourage spiritual discipline, obedience, and brotherly/sisterly love – integral components of Kingdom life.


For six days work may be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest, a day of sacred assembly. You must not do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to Yahuah.

Leviticus 23:3

Kingdom Key: The seventh day Sabbath rest is a hallmark of the Gospel of the Kingdom promises. The Sabbath represents the covenant promise of resurrection given to us by Yahuah.

The weekly Sabbath is a perpetual weekly reminder of what’s in store for those who endure until the end. Amongst other things, it teaches us how to rest in the promises of our heavenly Father as we walk in obedience to his commandments. 

It is a holy convocation whereby we are told to assemble for worship and study of the scriptures.


The Passover to Yahuah begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.

Leviticus 23:5

The Hebrew word for passover is pesach or pesah (#H6453) which is derived from pasach or pasah (#H6452). Some have defined this word to mean to “pass over” or protectively cover the houses of the Israelites when the destroyer was sent out that fateful night in Egypt. (Exodus 12:23(b), Hebrews 11:28). 

Pasach or pasah can imply the merciful passing over of a destructive power or outcome. This occurred in ancient history when the destroyer killed the firstborn of those without blood on the doorposts of their homes.

Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When Yahuah passes through to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway; so He will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

Exodus 12: 22,23

That you will say, It is the sacrifice of Yahuah’s Pesach, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.

Exodus 12:27

The etymology implies that when the Messiah returns to earth with his warrior angels, he will “pass over” first resurrection believers who are being taken up to New Jerusalem. This is the moment when saints are literally passed over while in the air until after the “indignation has passed.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)

For Yahuah 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.

I Thessalonians 4:16,17

Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves a little while until the wrath has passed. For behold, Yahuah is coming out of his dwelling place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth will disclose her bloodshed and will no longer conceal her slain.

Isaiah 26:20,21

The New Testament Greek word pascha (#G3957) can either refer to the actual paschal lamb that was slain at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month, or the Passover itself.

Kingdom Key: Passover represents the moment Yeshua returns and resurrects us. His wrath passes over us as he descends to battle the wicked.

Passover and Unleavened Bread point to Messiah’s death. His death was necessary so this Lamb without spot or blemish could be resurrected and enter into his High Priesthood. As our High Priest, he is now able to mediate with the Father on our behalf and ultimately resurrect us from Sheol.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

On the fifteenth day of the same (first) month begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Yahuah. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day, you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any regular work. For seven days you are to present an offering made by fire to Yahuah. On the seventh day, there will be a sacred assembly; you must not do any regular work.

Leviticus 23:4-8

Kingdom Key: The feast of Unleavened Bread represents the glorified, sinless bodies we will receive and the clearing out of the wicked from the geographical Promised Land.

Read: Make Unleavened Bread

First Fruits 

And Yahuah said to Moshe, speak to the Israelites and say, “When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you are to bring to the priest a sheaf of first fruits of your harvest. And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahuah so that it may be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.

Leviticus 23:9-11

This is a special offering but is not to be placed in the category of a “holy convocation” feast assembly. (The greater harvest comes 50 days later during the wheat harvest.)

A way to understand this dichotomy is to look at the timing of spring harvest seasons. Deuteronomy 8:7-8 tells us that Israel’s major crops were olives, figs, grapes, pomegranates, honey, wheat, and barley. 

During the Spring the most important crops harvested were barley and wheat, which were planted during Autumn. Since the barley harvest came first, a sheaf of this first fruit would be waved by the priest on the “day after the Sabbath” following the feast of Unleavened Bread.

Kingdom Key: Yeshua is a type of the early yield of first fruits. Our wonderful Redeemer is symbolic of the first fruits of the harvest of righteous souls to come.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Feast of First Fruits

From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you are to count off seven full weeks. You shall count off fifty days until the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:15,16

Kingdom Key: This is a dual feast. It represents us fully receiving the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) upon resurrection during the “wheat” harvest of righteous souls, which takes place when the Day of Yahuah commences. This is the first resurrection event. It is during this holy convocation that the covenant with Yahuah is renewed each year. 

And He gave Noah and his sons a sign that there should not again be a flood on the earth. He set His bow in the cloud for a sign of the eternal covenant that there should 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

Jubilees 6:15-17

And this whole festival was celebrated in heaven from the day of creation till the days of Noah – twenty-six jubilees and five weeks of years [1309-1659 A.M.]: and Noah and his sons observed it for seven jubilees and one week of years, till the day of Noah’s death, and from the day of Noah’s death 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 it anew on this mountain.

Jubilees 6:18-19

Shavuot did not begin with Moses. It has been celebrated since creation.


Yahuah also said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly announced by trumpet blasts. You must not do any regular work, but you are to present an offering made by fire to Yahuah.’ ”

Leviticus 23:23-25

Kingdom Key: At the sound of the last trumpet, believers in Yeshua will be resurrected and/or translated if still alive on earth at this time. The “wheat” of the second harvest will be escorted by angels into barns while the “tares” will be burned.

His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:12

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

Day of Atonement

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,f 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.

Leviticus 23: 26-31

At last! This day marks the final and complete forgiveness of all our sins. We are given resurrection bodies made of water and spirit that will be incapable of ever sinning again. 

Yeshua answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of Yahuah unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

John 3:5

Kingdom Key: With our redemption complete we will be able to fully participate in Yeshua’s Melchizedek priesthood. In our resurrected state we will be ordained as priests with the law written on our hearts. 

Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles

And Yahuah said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Feast of Tabernacles to Yahuah begins, and it continues for seven days. On the first day, there shall be a sacred assembly. You must not do any regular work.

Leviticus 23:33-35

Kingdom Key: Sukkot points to the time when Father and Son will tabernacle with us in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth – The New Jerusalem. We will be joined by those righteous angels who remained faithful to the Most High and their mission to minister to those of us who were destined to inherit eternal life. We will also serve those who survive the Great Tribulation and who will learn Torah during the Millennial reign of Messiah.

Feast of the In-Gathering/Addition/The 8th Day

For seven days you are to present an offering made by fire to Yahuah. On the eighth day, you are to hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made by fire to Yahuah. It is a solemn assembly; you must not do any regular work.

Leviticus 23:36

Kingdom Key: This 8th Day is symbolic of the second resurrection event and the time when death and Sheol will no longer exist. It is a time of great joy which comes at the end of the Millennium as we enter the eternal age. These will be days of rest that will be never-ending. 

In the Book of Jubilees, Jacob is credited with adding this 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 the days of the year.

Jubilees 32:27-30

Although covenant promises will not be made real until the resurrection, how we behave now matters. 

Our behavior is evidence of our faith in Yeshua’s ability to redeem us from the penalty of sin. It is also a sign that we truly belong to him.

The Torah of Yahuah is eternal and has not been “done away with.” When we obey the commandments to honor feast days and appointed times, we are living the Kingdom life now. 

As you prepare to welcome a new biblical year, we pray you will appreciate the Gospel of the Kingdom signposts that have been embedded in Yahuah’s calendar.

Photo by: Luis Gonzalez/Unsplash