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Holy Days

Spring Feasts
Pesakh
Matzo
First Fruits
Shavuot

Fall Feasts
Rosh Hoshanah
Yom Kippur
Sukkot

2007 Dates For Moedim/Holy Days

Biblical Calendar Links

Pesakh

Pesakh (Passover) commemorates the Exodus -- when G-d freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. It is also the first of the three feasts that require a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Pesakh begins the evening of Aviv (Nisan) 14. It is a night to remember when G-d passed over Egypt killing the firstborn of each household that did not have lambsblood on its doorway. We commemorate Pesakh each year by having a seder. The Haggadah is traditionally read, which tells the story of the Exodus and teaches of G-d's mighty arm redeeming Israel from bondage. It is at this meal that the youngest one at the Seder traditionally asks four questions, beginning with "why is this night different from all other nights?" The seder ends with the hope of "Next Year in Jerusalem." Over the years many mistaken traditions have crept into Passover observance, for more info see Passoverisms: Rabbinic Follies. For Messianics, we believe Yeshua was our Pashal lamb -- in Him we find deliverance from sin and death.

Matzo

Matzo (Feast of Unleavened Bread) follows Pesakh, though many refer to the Festival of Pesakh as meaning both festivals: Pesakh and Matzo. The Feast of Matzo lasts from Aviv (Nisan) 15-21. No leaven is consumed during this holy festival, reminiscent of the Exodus, when the Israelites fled from Egypt -- having no time for their bread to rise -- it was baked unleavened.

Homemade Matzah Recipe

First Fruits (Yom Hanafat H'omer)

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the sabbath 1 the priest shall wave it." Leviticus 23:10,11 (KJV)

This wave offering occurs on 'the day after the weekly sabbath' (Sunday) and symbolizes the first gathering of the harvest. Yeshua rose on Firstfruits, so He was the Firstfruits of the resurrection (as Sha'ul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:20 "But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." )

Counting the Omer begins on FirstFruits and counts 50 days / seven weeks until Shavuot. For more information read: Counting The Omer

Shavuot

Shavuot (Pentecost) is symbolized by green plants --- originally it was an agricultural festival when a new grain was offered to G-d. Shavuot is reached by "counting the omer" (counting 50 days) from FirstFruits ---- hence in Greek it's called "pentecoste" which means "fiftieth." The timing of Shavuot is based on counting seven sabbaths. To arrive at Shavuot, we are commanded: "‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. ‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD." Leviticus 23:15,16. Note Shavuot always falls on the day after the seventh sabbath.' (NASB) or 'on the morrow of the seventh sabbath'. (KJV) Since the day after the weekly shabbat is always the 1st day of the week (Saturday evening and all day Sunday) Shavuot will always occur on a Sunday just as Firstfruits will. Messianics should not let their distaste for the Christian Sunday observance deter them from commemorating FirstFruits and Shavuot on a Sunday. I mention this since many Messianic studies on the internet attempt to place Yeshua's resurrection on a Saturday Sabbath, and similar articles try to find ways to make FirstFruits and Shavuot fall on anyday but Sunday. The day after the weekly sabbath is Sunday.

Judaism teaches that Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the giving of the Law and is when children begin Hebrew School. Traditionally dairy products are often eaten because Song of Songs compares the Torah to milk --- some stay awake all night in one long study session of the Torah. Generally Exodus (or at least the 10 commandments) are read along with the book of Ruth on this holy day. In modern Judaism, Shavuot is often a time for Confirmation. In Acts we learn Shavuot was the day the Ruach (Holy Spirit) fell on the apostles in Jerusalem and began Its indwelling ministry within believers.

Rosh Hoshanah (really Yom Teruah)

Rosh Hashanah is Scripturally known as the Feast of Trumpets/Day of Blowing the Shofar. It begins on the first day of Etanim (Tishri) which is the seventh month in the biblical calendar. So Rosh Hashanah isn't really the Jewish New Year. Traditionally Rosh Hashanah has become a time of family gatherings, special meals and sweet tasting foods. It is biblically a day of blowing the shofar and begins a ten day period known as "Days of Awe" lasting until Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is also viewed as a day of judgement -- where people examine their lives for sin, and have ten days to make peace with those whom they have hurt, or broken promises to. It is the time to cast away sin, as symbolized by the traditional act of Tashlich ('to cast') -- where people visit a body of moving water and cast bread crumbs into the water -- this symbolically "casts away" our sin into the river. This tradition originates from Micah 7:19, "He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

For a longer article on Rosh Hoshanah (Yom Teruah) and to hear the shofar, Click Here!

Rosh Hashanah has traditionally been linked to the resurrection -- perhaps Yeshua had Rosh Hashanah in mind when he spoke of Israel's regathering "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31)

Traditionally it is believed that G-d records us into the "book of life" on Rosh Hashanah, so you'll want to greet others with "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life!"

Traditional foods eaten on Rosh Hashanah are sweet -- items sweetened with honey -- and lots of apple dishes. For the evening's meal, it is traditional to eat apple slices dipped in honey.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the most solemn day of the Jewish year and concludes the Ten Days of Awe -- falling on the tenth day of Etanim (Tishri). We are commanded to 'afflict your souls on this day or be cut off from your people' Leviticus 23:29. Some interpret this to mean fasting, others argue fasting afflicts the body not the soul. Yom Kipuur is a solemn day of prayer. Yom Kippur is the "Sabbath of Sabbaths" -- the holiest day of the year. Yom Kippur is the day to seek forgiveness for vows broken --- vows between man and G-d and between each other. On Yom Kippur, food, marital relations, washing, wearing leather shoes, and use of lotions/colognes, etc., are traditionally avoided -- it is a solemn time.

At shul on the eve of Yom Kippur, men wear their tallit and the cantor sings "Kol Nidre" three times -- getting louder each time. This reminds people of the importance of keeping their promises to G-d and other men. This is a time of confession and prayer -- admitting the guilt of our sin and asking G-d for forgiveness.

When the temple still stood, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur and offer the blood of the sacrifice for the people. The high priest would offer solemn prayers that G-d would receive the offering and forgive the sins of the people. Yeshua is our high priest -- He entered the heavenly Holy of Holies and is currently making blood atonement for our sins.

Sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles/Booths) occurs on Etanim (Tishri) 14. Booths (Sukkahs) are temporary dwellings comprised of natural tree branches -- they are built in backyards and familes share meals in them. The booths bring to mind the forty years in the wilderness -- with the covering presense of G-d surrounding the Israelites and protecting them.

Yochanan 1:14 relates Yeshua's body as temporary dwelling like a tabernacle/booth: "And the Word was made flesh, and "tabernacled" among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." Many versions say "dwelt" but that doesn't adequately convey its meaning. The Greek word was "skenoo" derived from "to tent" or "to encamp." It is possible that Sha'ul, known as a "tentmaker," was actually a "sukkah" maker.

Sukkot also foreshadows the Messianic Kingdom, a time when Yeshua our king will be among us again -- and all the nations will go up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot each year throughout His thousand year reign. (Zechariah 14:19)

Following Sukkot is "Simchat Torah" ("Rejoicing of the Law").

2007 Dates
NOTE: ***ALL MOEDIM DATES LISTED BELOW BEGIN THE DAY BEFORE AT SUNDOWN***

Pesakh
April 3, 2007

1st Unleavened Bread
April 4, 2007

FirstFruits (Yom Hanafat H'omer)
April 8, 2007

7th Unleavened Bread
April 10, 2007

Shavuot
May 27, 2007

Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting)
September 14, 2007

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
September 23, 2007

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)
September 28, 2007

Shemini Atzeret (8th of Assembly)
October 5, 2007

Purim
February 22–23, 2008

1 "After the sabbath" here in vs 11 can only mean the weekly Sabbath and not a HolyDay Sabbath of Pesakh, since Pesakh isn't referred to as a Sabbath within this section of the passage, whereas the weekly Sabbath has already been identified in vs 3 as 'the seventh day sabbath of rest.' Shabbat (Strong's 7676) is used in vs3, vs 11, vs 15 and in vs 16, all referring to the same day. Notice that in vs 16 one is commanded to count 7 shabbats within a 50 day period of time -- we could not count 7 HolyDays within 50 days, but we can easily count 7 weekly Sabbaths within 50 days. For consistency within this section: if we make vs 3's 'seventh day shabbats of rest' to mean the weekly Sabbath, and we make vs 16's 'after seven shabbats' to mean weekly Sabbaths, then we must consistently make vs 11's 'after the shabbat' to also mean the weekly Sabbath.

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