The Bible Feasts Still Matter

March 13, 2022

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”
Brenda Ross
Brenda Ross

Brenda Ross is a co-author of the book, “The Gospel Worth Dying For.” She is a former major market radio and television broadcaster who has served as Single’s Ministry Director at one of Houston’s Memorial Drive-area churches, a Jews for Jesus staff volunteer, and participated in mission outreach activities in Costa Rica, Mexico, and China. Urban mission experience includes volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and catering to the homeless in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

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