There are seven feasts of Israel:
- Passover (Pesach)
- Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot)
- First Fruit (HaBikkurim)
- Pentecost (Shavuot)
- Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)
- Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
- Tabernacles (Sukkot)
- Purim: This festival was established to celebrate the failure of Haman’s plot against the Jews, which is seen in the Book of Esther. It originally took place on the fourteenth and fifteenth of Adar (12th Month). The word, “Purim” then means, “lots,” which is referring to the lots cast by Haman to determine the day of destruction of the Jews (referenced in Esther 9:21). The Megillah, which is the rolled scroll of the Book of Esther, is read in the Synagogue on the eve of Purim and the next morning as well. Many times, skits and other comical readings would be done for the Megillah reading. The people may give one to another or to the poor, and even in memoriam of the tradition representing donations in the Synagogue just before the reading of The Megillah.
- Hanukkah: This is also called the Feast of Dedication, which was established to commemorate the recapture and cleansing of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus (from the Greek forces of Antiochus IV around 164 BC). This ceremony would usually take place on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month (Chislev). John 10:22-23 appears to mention that the holiday is an occasion, to which Jesus was in Jerusalem, “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.” Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for “Dedication.” The story of the events is chronicled in 1 and 2 Maccabees (Apocrypha books – not part of the Biblical Canon of Inspired and Infallible Word of God material). It celebrates the rededication of the second Temple by the Maccabees after they liberated it from the Greeks and restored it. They cleaned and repaired the Temple, and once finished, a dedication and celebration ceremony ensued. Nevertheless, the Jews celebrate Hanukkah by light oil or colorful candles in a Menorah every night for 8 days. The ninth candle serves other candles by lighting them.
- Shabbat: This is a regular holiday, the Sabbath, which was observed every seventh day to commemorate both the creation and the exodus (as we see in Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15). The idea was for a day of rest from work, so that Man could come away from his work and duty and reach a place of fellowship and rest with God. This is regarded in Leviticus 23:3 as a holy convocation, to which we can rest with God in all of our dwellings – therefore, this doesn’t mean we just rest while we go to church or when we fellowship at a specified time… what it does mean is to rest in all of the dwellings, that is in all places where you are. There shouldn’t be a time on the Sabbath not to rest, for God wants us to set aside one day of holy convocation. He will give us rest when we come unto Him! (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Feast of the New Moon: This was a festival that was celebrated by sounding trumpets over their burnt and fellowship offerings, which is a memorial between them before God. We see this in Numbers 10:10, “Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.” This would be based upon the instruction then in Numbers 28:11-15. It is usually a regular worship day and celebrated in parallel with the Sabbath.
Special days in Israel words:
- Mo’ed: A season or appointed time. The sun, moon, and stars were created for times and seasons. Or, from a different perspective, we see in Daniel 7:25 that one day, the antichrist will speak against God and try to change the set times and laws, “And he [the antichrist] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” This includes the antichrist speaking against festivals, important dates and times especially for fellowship, etc.
- Mikrah: A holy convocation or sacred assembly, which is best defined in Ezekiel 43:7, “And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.” Such events are done in remembrance of the Messiah’s Ministry.
- Chag: A festive celebration. Examples abound… We see in Exodus 10:9 Moses suggesting a feast before the Lord; a feast upon a sacrifice where all must be present and ready to do as God commands. Even in 13:6, “Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord” (for the feast of unleavened bread). Best example in Leviticus 23:41, “And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month” (referring to the feast of tabernacles).
- Tishah B’Av: This day, though not of celebration, is a day of mourning. Tishah means, “ninth day,” and B’Av is “of the month.” It is a fast day that commemorates the destruction of both Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple in 70 AD. Both Temples were destroyed at the same date but on separate years. The Temples were the center of Jewish life and religion, where many sorts of celebrations and ceremonies took place there with worship. The Temple is greatly missed, and causes them to mourn on this specific day.
- Yom Hashoah: This day is set aside for remembering of the terrible Holocaust the Jews had endured. They remember the Holocaust daily, but the 27th of Nisan is the special day set aside to remember. In the ungodly onslaught that is so difficult to forget for the Jews was about 6 million killed. The antichrist is on the rise, wanting to eradicate the Jews (Luke 21:20, 28).
- Yom Ha-Zikkaron literally means Day of the Remembrance, which is similar to America’s Memorial Day. It is set aside to remember all Israeli soldiers who died in duty of service to the country. God has miraculously preserved Israel, and it is the duty of Gentiles (other Christians) to support her and help her as God leads.
- Yom-Atzmaut is a day of independence, the day after the Yom Ha-Zikkaron, to which, they feast and celebrate their independence, for not long after Christ’s time on Earth, Israel has been cast out of Israel and has looked forward to the rebirth of their nation (which happened on May 14, 1948) – a fulfilling of a prophecy found in Isaiah 66:8-10, 12-14). As Christians, we hope one day, they will come to realize and believe in Christ!
Fun things people did during Purim
- During the Megillah reading (which appears to be fun in and of itself due to the comical nature of the way it is read), frequently used are greggers, which are noisemakers, when Haman’s name is read (which is read quite often), therefore, the reading of the Megillah could be surely noisy.
- Masquerading parties would be done as well, especially in Western Europe, which may be a substitute for the usual play. Costumes may be worn elsewhere.
- People will give gifts or treats in celebration.
- Parade/carnival activity
- Feasting and celebration Write Haman’s name on their shoe soles and stomp until his name is erased (that could take a while).
So the feasts…
God’s ultimate desire is to have fellowship with Man. God has set in motion a plan, the Plan of Salvation, that Man might be reconciled back to God Himself. We were made in His Image and for His Pleasure. Even after Man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, God has still continued to love His Creation overall! We may fear God, but He does not fear us (and He definitely will still look upon us when we do wrong, and continue loving us no matter what we do).
The word, feast, can have several meanings. In English, the word feast reminds us of a festival, which is a religious festival of rejoicing, as opposed to a fast. In Hebrew, the word for feast is “chagag” – which means, to dance, such as occasions of joy and gladness. It means to move in joy or gladness, especially to “move in a circle.” It also means to march in a sacred procession, to observe a festival; by implication – “to be giddy.” In Greek, feast means, “heorte” – of uncertain affinity, a festival. It is translated “feast holyday.” Even with all of these definitions, it means, “an appointment with God.”
Pesach is the Hebrew word for “Passover.” This word means, “Rejoicing.” It also means, “A high, holy day.” It reflects back to the night the Angel of Death passed over Jewish homes, while killing the entire first born of Egypt. After that, there was the Exodus from Egypt, which led to the birth of the Jewish nation. It is the only feast that was celebrated while the Jews were still abiding in the land of Egypt.
After about 430 years (after Joseph’s prosperity), the Pharaoh in Egypt feared that the Israelites were becoming too strong and becoming a group of people to be on guard against, so he made them all to become slaves, and cruelly beat and mistreated them.
Ten Egyptian Plagues
- Water to Blood – This is referred to in Exodus 7:19, to which, the Nile River is turned to blood, and was very sacred in Egypt. They looked upon the Nile as Hapi, a fat man with the breasts of a woman. This was a picture of the powers of being fertile and giving nourishment.
- Frogs – This is referred to in Exodus 8:2-4. Frogs were represented by Heka, a frog-headed goddess, which was considered the goddess of fertility and rebirth – to which, she was called upon to bring the resurrection of Osiris, god of the afterlife. However, she never did come back to life.
- Gnats or lice – Referring to Exodus 8:16, the magicians of Egypt were able to duplicate the first two plagues, but not the third one – for this judgment came against Geb, the earth god, the one who the Egyptians felt reported directly to Osiris on the state of the harvest. The term lice could be used in this circumstance to describe gnats or mosquitoes. This verse in Exodus says the dust became lice, to which, it would almost appear the ground itself was moving.
- Flies – This is referenced from Exodus 8:21, to which, we see the first few plagues falling upon Egypt and Goshen – however, from now on, the plagues were not going to touch Goshen, which was home to God’s People. Many golden scarabs (flies of a sacred beetle or scarab type) have been found in Egyptian tombs, and were sacred to the sun god Ra.
- Livestock diseased – We see this in Exodus 9:3, where there shall be grievous murrain, which is defined as a pestilence or plague affecting domestic animals. Bulls were considered a very sacred animal in Egyptian culture, especially the black bull Apis. Whenever a black bull died, it would be embalmed and buried in Memphis. It was believed that a new Apis was born upon the death of an old one.
- Boils – This is referred in Exodus 9:8-9, in which, it was thought that Pharaoh was the first person to experience boils; however, many priests also experienced these boils. It would have made them unclean and unfit to serve in their many temples, so that false worship would be halted in Egypt.
- Thunder and hail – We see in Exodus 9:18 that hail was to come along with thunder. Egypt has very little rain, so when God spoke and said a plague of hail, the Egyptians didn’t believe it or found it difficult to believe. Some believed and took their cattle to safety. Those that believe and sought protection were saved, but those that didn’t suffered consequences. This plague was direct against Isis, sometimes represented as cow-headed.
- Locusts – Included in Exodus 10:4-5 that after this plague, Pharaoh’s servants begged him to let Israel for to serve their God before Egypt was destroyed.
- Darkness – We see this in Exodus 10:21-22, to which, involved a plague of darkness that proved how useless and dead their false god was (sun god: Ra).
- Death of the firstborn – Exodus 11:4-7 explains that all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt would die, and a great cry will erupt through Egypt. Those that put blood of the doorpost on a full moon night would be “passed over” as the Lord’s Spirit came to eradicate the firstborn. This caused Pharaoh to sorrowfully agree to let the Israelites, God’s People, go.
Pharaoh’s trials of compromise toward Moses and God’s People
- The first way that Pharaoh attempted to make Moses and God’s People compromise was to sacrifice where you are currently at – to which, Moses replied saying that if they sacrificed according to the commands of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that it would be an abomination to the Egyptians, and they would want to stone them.
- The second way was to only partially separate yourself from Egypt and the things of the world, to which, he encouraged Moses to also sacrifice by saying that Moses could go and sacrifice but not go too far from Goshen. Pharaoh also says that Moses could also pray for him – however, this substitute will not work for God’s People.
- Next way was to not take your children with you – which Pharaoh finally told Moses that he could go serve the Lord, but that the children had to stay in Goshen. He felt if he kept the children, the adults would come back, which was deception.
- Last attempt was to say they were to leave their animals and perhaps their livelihood back in the land of Egypt – to which, once again, people would want to come back anyway, and was still deception therein.
Preparation of Passover
- The Lamb was selected on the 10th day of Abib (known as Nissan today), to which was a lamb for a house, but if the house was too small to eat a complete lamb, then they were to share it with another family until they reached the amount of people that could eat an entire lamb.
- The lamb was to be a male of the first year, and it was to be kept until the 14th of the same month, and then it was to be killed in the evening in front of the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel.
- They were to take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses where they would eat the Passover lamb in the evening.
- The lamb was to be roasted with fire, and eaten that night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to eat it with their loins girded, shoes on their feet, a staff in their hand, and eat is in haste because it was “the Lord’s Passover.”
It is important to maintain expectancy in our hearts for the return of the Lord so that we are ever ready that the Judgment will “Pass Over” us, and we are found to be under the hand of God’s protection. Shir Ha-Shirim is the ancient ‘love song’ of King Solomon that is read during the Shabbat of Passover week. In Jewish tradition, since Passover marks the time when our ‘romance’ with God officially began, the sages chose this song to celebrate God’s love for His People.
King Hezekiah once had a revival and reinstated the Passover, to which, a remarkable thing about the Passover Hezekiah encouraged is that because there wasn’t enough time to have it when due, in order to create more time for the preparations, the expected mass pilgrimage and the purification of the Priest and Temple, the King postponed the holiday for a month. The event was very joyous and festivities occurred for one more week.
The celebrants used to conduct the Seder in haste, wore sandles and held sticks as if ready for a journey, but at the time of Christ, they no longer observed that custom, but rather reclined during the Seder meal like the custom of the Romans. It became much more leisurely, and was a type of the rest which Israel had when they came out of Egypt.
A couple of terms: Seder means, “Order,” as everything during the evening of Passover had to follow a certain order. Many things began weeks before, which preparations were known as nullification. The Haggadah is a book placed by each plate, which tells exactly how to run the Seder.
Under the plate with the special Pesach cloth, there are three matzot, to which, the one conducting will take the middle matzah, break it in two, and put the one inside a cloth to set aside. Children may steal it from him, but if they don’t, the host hides it from them at the end of the meal. The lucky child who can steal and find it gets a gift. The piece of matzah identified here is called the “afikoman.” When found, they eat it as part of a dessert. The afikoman means, “that which was hidden.” To the Jewish people, their Messiah is still hidden from their sight. To Christians, we look upon the afikoman as a reminder of the broken bread – the body of Christ that was broken for us at the Cross.
The Hallel is a Jewish prayer – a verbatim recitation taken from Psalms 113-118, which is used for Praise and Thanksgiving by Jews on Jewish holidays. These Psalms of Praise are sung or chanted, and concluded with the “Great Hallel” – Psalm 136. Hallel is the source of our word, “Hallelujah.”
Four questions children ask at every Seder service
- On all the other nights, we eat bread or matzah; why do we eat only matzah tonight? Answer: Matzah is a reminder of two different things: deliverance from slavery in Egypt, and we have a new life. The Matzah represents the haste from which the Jews fled from Egypt – for they didn’t give the bread time to rise.
- On all the other nights, we eat all kinds of herbs. Why do we eat only bitter herbs tonight? Answer: We remember the bitterness of our ancestor’s slavery while they were in Egypt.
- On all the other nights, we don’t dip some foods into other foods. Why do we tonight dip two things: parsley into salt water and bitter herb into “haroset?” Answer: This serves as a reminder of tears (salt water represents the taste of tears as the slaves fled from Egypt) and the miraculous deliverance, as was just seen portrayed by the parsley.
- On all the other nights, we eat sitting or reclining. Why do we only recline tonight? Answer: Before, we were slaves, but now we are free and can express the rest we enjoy as a free people. The pillow you see represents our freedom!
Jesus the Passover Lamb: At Passover, Jesus is seen as the Passover Lamb (just as John the Baptist mentions He is in John 1:29). He could not eat the Passover Lamb because He became the Passover Lamb (as depicted in the Lord’s Supper). (In addition, He was being crucified in the process of the Passover Meal; therefore, He could not eat the one that would be prepared.)
The Day of Preparation: In John 19:14, we see the Preparation Day, the considered Preparation Day for the Passover (not necessarily/just the Sabbath), to which, Christ would be crucified, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!” Then, we see the events of the crucifixion in John 19:31-32, 42, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him… [Later,] There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.” (The Preparation Day for Christ would be preparation of the Lamb that was to be partook of in Passover in future communions.)
The token: The blood of the slain lamb was a “token” – an outward sign or expression. The Blood of the Passover Lamb was a token of the Lamb of God that was yet to be slain. And when God saw the Blood of the Passover Lamb, and the death angel passed through the camp, the death angel – and the Lord God – would “Pass Over” that household, and the first born son in the house would not be killed. Jesus Christ, then, is our Passover Lamb, to which, by the Blood of the Lamb, our sins are forgiveness. Shall the judgment of the Lord come nigh, God will “Pass Over” us and save us from our sins.
Communion today: Today, when we partake of Communion, we bow our heads and worship, remembering the Word of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is associated with water baptism (noted by Robert Thompson), to which, when we remove the leaven, we are symbolically removing sin from our life. When we enter into water baptism, we are symbolically showing forth the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and of our dying to sin, and being buried and resurrected into new life in Jesus Christ. It symbolizes the washing away of our sins, even as it did in the days when John the Baptist baptized the people, bringing them to repentance from their sins.
In Numbers 28:17-19, to which, we see it detailed that no manner of servile work should be done during the feast, “And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein: But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish.”
What this Scripturally means is they were to do no servile work, but to come away from those tasks that they were doing in order to live, survive, make a living, etc. This shows that God wants them (and even us) to draw close to Him. This is something good to do, for it gives us the chance to place God on a more important level, if even for just a short time, to show Him that He matters more than what we are doing. God has given us everything we need, the least we could do is be in harmony with only Him occasionally.
Jesus Christ is the gift that God has given to us, to which, is the best gift of all, because in Him, we find our Salvation, eternal life, and the ability to come into relationship with God the Father, God the Creator of Heaven and Earth (John 3:16). There is no one else that could cause global Salvation on such a scale, but only God can lead people to Salvation through His Great Gift of all! Jesus Christ is our Unleavened Bread, because He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). There is no sin (leaven) in Him, and He did not have a sinful nature as Man had. Some refer to Him as the Second Adam, for the Second Adam has no sinful nature in Him, and by Him, would arise a new generation of righteous people (the New Israel).
In Deuteronomy 16:3, we see, “Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.” Here we see that unleavened bread is referred to as the “bread of affliction.” Eating leavened bread would symbolically bring affliction to the soul – of body, soul and spirit, because that’s what sin brings with it. Here we are asked to eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction it is called here – to which, we “afflict” our souls, and if we are willing to do that with deep repentance, that we will turn to the Lord. It is good to eat the bread of affliction, for then we will seek the Lord to know His commandments and follow Him.
Jesus is representative of unleavened bread, and as His Followers, we too need to become as unleavened bread. We must put off the leaven, by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior and asking of His forgiveness for our sins. We then take on the Unleavened Bread (purity, sinless) of sincerity and truth. Newness of life is associated with Unleavened Bread (similar to Water Baptism). Newness of life occurs when the old leaven (sin) is removed so that you might become a new lump (a life rooted in Christ Jesus freed from the leaven of sin). Water Baptism is associated here, because it dramatizes that we are ridding the leaven; the old sinful life, and we are entering into the death, burial, and resurrection of a new life in Christ Jesus – available to anyone who accepts God’s Passover Lamb.
How these compare:
- Passover represents death
- Unleavened Bread represents judgment
- Firstfruits represents resurrection
The Sheaf of Grain
On Passover, a sheaf of grain is marked, bundled, and left standing in the field. On the next day, which is the first day of Unleavened Bread, the sheaf was cut and prepared for the offering on the third day. This day, known as Firstfruits, marks the beginning of the harvest of grain, and is celebrated by bringing this specific sheaf of barley to the priest on the morrow after the Sabbath, where he waves it before the Lord as an act of dedication for the harvest unto the Lord. No one could eat anything of the harvest until the sheaf had been presented to the Lord, and at this time, they begin to count the days (omer) until the 50th day, which is called Pentecost, or Shavuot – the next feast on the calendar. We see this all referenced in Leviticus 23:10-14.
God desires that we make our bodies a holy and living sacrifice, as we see in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Feast of Firstfruits
The Feast of Firstfruits is a type and shadow of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and therefore, Christians celebrate Easter for the Resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Christ is the becoming of the Firstfruits of them that slept (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). In Christ, we are all made alive. He is the Firstfruits, and the fulfillment of it completely is yet to come.
Jesus was the Firstfruits of Resurrection and when He arose, He led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8), which means, there were others who had been dead and they too arose from the grave. Jesus the Messiah, just as a triumphant conqueror (who he is really and was prophesied to be, just not like the kind of messiah that was in old times’ messiahs) who just returned from a battle and divides the spoils of war between His People, He came down to Earth, conquered sin and defeated satan and the powers of evil, and then returned to Heaven, where He shares all of the “spoils of war” with His Church!
Part of the Firstfruits celebration is the reading of the Song of Solomon, as God’s People celebrate – especially noting Song of Songs 2:10-13. The Rabbis understand that the Song of Solomon is an allegory for the love between God and His People. Passover is when we first meet Jesus – where we meet Him at the Cross as our Passover Lamb. The Feast of Firstfruits is where we meet Jesus as our Resurrected Lord. It’s the Firstfruits of our Christian experience and it’s the first love of our Christian life.
Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
Pentecost means, “Fifty” – and it takes place 50 days after Firstfruits – that is to say, 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus. The number 50 is used symbolically to represent liberty and freedom by deliverance. God gave to His Children a “Year of Jubilee” to be celebrated every 50 years. God had His People “Count the Omer” instead of having a particular date set aside for Pentecost, to help them never forget Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits (therefore, if our society messes up our calendaring methods, at least there is still a verified count on hand). It also pointed ahead to a wonderful gift that God was going to give Israel: the Sacrificial Death of Jesus Christ!
Today the Church represents the Firstfruits of the world being harvested, to bring in many souls to Salvation, but it also points toward a future date when there shall yet bet a final harvesting of souls, to the Glory of the Lord. Pentecost is called, “The Feast of Weeks,” because it occurred after seven weeks from the Feast of Firstfruits.
One day, King Jesus, His Most Excellent Majesty, will rule and reign over us – He will be our King and we will be His People! The Kingdom of the Messiah is based upon the eternal decree of God the Father that our Lord Jesus will govern a coming Kingdom where we declare Him as our King. The Son asks the heathen for his inheritance and desires happiness in him. He seeks to save, and those that are Christians are the Lord’s possession. The Lord’s drawing power shall bring unto Him a good people that will serve and reign with Him forever and ever! Amen!
The use of the Shofar
Quick note on the preference order for a shofar:
- A curved ram
- Curved other sheep
- Curved other animal
- Straight – ram or otherwise
- Non-kosher animal Cow
- The Ashkenazi and Sefardi Shofar is made from the horn of a domestic ram
- A Yemeni Shofar is made from the horn of a kudu
- A Moroccan Shofar is a flat Shofar with no curves besides the main curve
In addition to blowing a Shofar, it is necessary to hear the Shofar being blown. Jewish commandment is given that men must hear the Shofar being blown, however, women and minors are not required – but may do so if they wish. The Sages indicate that the Mitzvah was to “hear” the sounds of the Shofar. It is also best that the direct sound be heard (and not just an echo as in a cave). Sincerity of fulfilling the commandment on hearing the Shofar does matter, and is indicated by if the listener is standing still and attentive. If a person is moving while it is being blown with no intention of hearing or blowing one themselves – they are considered as insincere.
The Shofar of Rosh Hashanah is purposed to rouse the Divine in the listener. To a Jew, the Shofar is intricately linked to the story of Abraham, to which, they think of the binding of Isaac, the son of Abraham – and the Lord would indicate that spiritually as the binding of them to Him. The ram, as we see in Genesis 22:13, was caught in the thicket by its horns, and would free himself from one thicket, but would become stuck in another. The Lord said to Abraham that his children would become caught in iniquities and be entangled in misfortunes, however, in the end; they would be redeemed by the horns of a ram. Zechariah prophesied the redemption in 9:14, “And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.”
The bend, therefore, in a Shofar, would represent how a human heart, in true repentance, bends before the Lord. Those that are pious would remember how Abraham offered his son Isaac in sacrifice, reprieved when God decided that Abraham could sacrifice a ram instead, and therefore, the man who blows the Shofar is required to be blameless in character and of conspicuous devotion.
Sounds of the shofar:
- Tekiah – which is an unbroken, long sound – a long “blast.”
- Shevarim – Three “blasts” – some say that these three broken notes should resemble sobbing.
- Teruah – Some say that this should be “9 staccato ‘blasts’” – that is, short, punctuated sounds. Others say it should be “15 staccato ‘blasts.’” It may be accurate that at least 9 should be blown – and that it should indeed represent wailing.
- Tekiah Gadoliah – This is an unbroken long sound, starting out soft and becoming increasingly loud.
Reasons Trumpets were blown in Israel
- For the calling of the assembly (Numbers 10:2)
- To sound the alarm to prepare to journey (Numbers 10:5-7) · To announce days of gladness (Numbers 10:10)
- To announce solemn days (Numbers 10:10; Joel 2:15)
- To proclaim the beginning of months (Numbers 10:10)
- To sound the alarm to prepare the people for battle and to warn them of that which was coming (Numbers 10:5-7; Joel 2:1; Amos 3:6-7). (Detailed more below)
- Over burnt offerings and sacrifices of peace offerings As a memorial before the Lord … as in the Feast of Trumpets
Upon sounding the alarm of preparation for battle, including a warning of the enemy coming, it is good to compare these Scriptures to see the usage of it in different cases – because they were unique:
- In Numbers 10:5-7, we read, “When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.” Here in this chapter overall, we see that Moses wanted to pass on God’s commands to the people, therefore, he called a meeting by sounding two trumpets. If he only blew one, it meant he was calling only the tribal leaders. If the movement of the cloud show that the time came to break camp, they would have a series of short blasts (or alarm calls) with the trumpet, which would tell the various tribes when to begin their march. (A bit later in verses 9-10, we see that they were to be blown in times of war and at the annual feasts to request of God to remember His People.)
- In Joel 2:1, we see noted, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Joel had pictured an approaching swarm of locusts as a person in Jerusalem would see them, and then compares them to an enemy army and commands the guard on the city wall to blow the trumpet to warn the citizens of the attack.
- In Amos 3:6-7, we see detailed, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Here in this chapter, Amos gives an illustration of the different things that occur, for there is a reason for everything. In describing such things, he notes that if a trumpet is blown, troops will assemble for battle with the reason that the city fears an attack. The ones warned of such attack prior to it occurring would be the prophets, who can assist the city leader(s) in preparing for it, so that the first sign shall be noticed and action be taken.
Shofars are prophetic in these ways:
- The blowing of the Trumpets points to the present regathering of Israel.
- Also points to the return of the Messiah.
- The long space of time between Pentecost and the Blowing of Trumpets is symbolic of the long period from the formation of the Church on the Day of Pentecost to the present regathering of Israel and the soon to be heard Trumpet blast, calling Christ’s own blood-bought ones back to Him to be gathered.
- The Shofar came from some sacrifice, either a bullock or a ram, and was used during Israel’s special “Appointed Times” – and today we are seeing a resurgence in the use of the Ram’s Horn at God’s Appointed Time!
Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets)
The Penitence, that is, the ten days, starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur, are called, “The Ten Days of Penitence” (10 days of Repentance). Now, in Hebrew, that means, “ten days of return.” The term, “10 Days of Penitence,” frequently refers only to the seven intermediate days linking the two holidays. Prayers of Penitence are included in daily services, and there are two special days:
- Tzom Gedaliah – This is a fast day commemorating the assassination of Gedaliah, the governor of Judea during the Babylonian rule about 2500 years ago (as we see some detail in Jeremiah 41:1-5. This is observed one day after Rosh Hashanah, and is believed to be the anniversary of his death; however, some still devote it to fasting as part of repentance.
- Shabbat Shuva, or “Sabbath of Returning.” This name is given to the Shabbat that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, to which, involves Rabbis speaking about Penitence and the moral way of Jewish life.
Rosh Hashanah – Shanah Tovah, “Happy New Year.” Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. We call this the Feast of Trumpets, to which, is celebrated for two days. It commemorates the creation of the world, God’s Handiwork. The Spring Feasts reveal aspects of Jesus as seen during the First Advent (when He came to Earth as Jesus around 2000 years ago). The Fall Feasts point us toward the Second Advent of Jesus – when He comes again for His Bride, the Church, and also sets up His Kingdom on the earth.
Blowing of the Trumpets
- The Trumpet was blown to warn God’s People about potential danger, as we see in Amos 3:6-8 or Ezekiel 33:6-7. In order to save people from imminent danger, the blowing of the Trumpet was helpful so that people could take a proper shelter and be shielded from the enemy. (In many different cultures, this is still used today. In America, for example, natural disasters and enemy threats will commonly trigger an alarm, which allows people to prepare for the oncoming event. In Japan, it can be seen a bell triggered whenever there is a threat or disaster coming.) These are considered alarms, and have been used for ages, especially those that are symbolic and attributable to the Lord’s Work and protection.
- To announce the Presence of the Lord, as we see in 2 Samuel 6:15, “So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.” They also used shouting to their advantage, as if there was a big party, and the celebrity had just shown up – to which, the crowd goes wild.
- We must blow the Trumpet in Zion, because we must warn others (Joel 2:1, 15). If we don’t blow the Trumpet to sound the alarm, we may be in danger, as we see in Ezekiel 33:6-7, “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
The Day of Atonement takes place on the 10th day of the month of Tishri – 10 days after the Feast of Trumpets and the “Days of Awe” – 10 day period of repentance, and it revolves around the Holiness of God. Sometimes on erev Yom Kippur (evening before) – or shortly before, there is an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish celebration called Kapparot, which is like a “scapegoat” ceremony, to which, a person’s sins are symbolically transferred to a rooster or hen.
Seven services on Yom Kippur
- The Kol Nidrei Service – This evening service with chants voids any promises made during the previous year.
- The Ma’ariv Service – This consists of the reciting of the Kaddish, the Shema, and the Amidah – along with confessions of sins and additional prayers.
- The Shacharit Service – This service is similar to other services for festivals during the Jewish year, to which, there are several traditional morning prayers, the recitation of the Shema and Amidah, and the Torah readings.
- The Yizkor Service – The Yizkor portion of Yom Kippur functions as a memorial service for family members that have deceased.
- The Musaf Service – This service immediately follows the morning service and has two parts: repetition of the Amidah (by the cantor) and the “Avodah” service, which recounts the priestly service for Yom Kippur in ancient times.
- The Minchah Service – This afternoon service includes a Torah reading service (Leviticus 18), another repetition of the Amidah, and the recitation of the “Avinu Malkenu” poem. The entire Book of Jonah is recited as the Haftarah portion of this Torah service.
- The Ne’ilah Service – The appeal to have one’s name sealed in the Book of Life needs to be done by this service (they should’ve repented sometime prior). It is a closing service that has a reading of the Shema at the end. A phrase is said loudly, “the LORD He is God.” Following this is a long blast of the Shofar, which was to remind how the Shofar was sounded to proclaim the Year of Jubilee Year of freedom through the land.
Nadab and Abihu
Aaron and his four sons (including Nadab and Abihu) were devout and noble people of God’s People; however, Nadab and Abihu acted independently of God, which resulted in sin. This was when they offered fire upon the altar of incense contrary of what was prescribed; they were punished with instant death (because the only fire allowed on the altar of incense was that which came from the altar of burnt offering). God demanded obedience and holiness in all matters of the services, especially within and of the Tabernacle: Carrying out a service carelessly would not be tolerated. God commands His People that they were not to leave the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation – after Nadab and Abihu were slain by the Lord. This is because man’s heart is deceptive, and there is sin in Man’s heart, to which, Man has not come into complete Sanctification yet in the Presence of God.
Redeeming of the land
To Redeem the Land, you find some area where something has happened (sin is prominent or some other cause), therefore, some area that satan has a foothold. Before going to that area, it is important to pray for forgiveness, to which, you are assured of coverage by the Blood of Jesus. Many times, saints will pray and even fast to prepare. Then, they go to the location that they are praying over, and take Communion with them. This represents the Body and Blood of Jesus – and then they pray for God’s forgiveness/Atonement over that area. After that, they pray for God’s hand to cover that location (and even break some bread or sprinkle some wine onto the ground) to cover it in the prayers of the saints, and claim that area back for the Glory of God.
Feast of Tabernacles
The whole emphasis of Tabernacles is the indwelling presence of Christ within us; and abiding forevermore in His Presence.
- The Word Made Flesh – We see in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The Son of God, the Word, was made into truly man, but not the “mortal man” that we are. He came and dwelt with us – “Tabernacled” – to which, we beheld His Glory within by the Spirit that testifies of Him – The Holy Spirit!
- The fullness of the Law – Jesus said in many instances, when referring to the Law, “You have heard…” and then, “…but I say…” Jesus knew the Law inwardly and outwardly, and was able to fulfill it in its fullness (see below). This allowed Him to become the fullness of the Law, because of Him knowing it perfectly and being able to perform it, or re-describe it in a more understandable way (such as parables and sermons). (One example was Matthew 5:21-22.) In addition, we read in Galatians 5:14 that Charity is the fulfillment of the Law, which corresponds to the Great Commandment to Love God and love people as the fulfilling of the Law given by Jesus (Matthew 22:36-40).
- The fulfillment of the Law – We see that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” He came not to abolish, but to fulfill the Law, Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” This was done so that we might be justified by faith (in righteousness), Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
- Holiness – Jesus was declared to be the Son of God according to the spirit of holiness, Romans 1:4, “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” He is considered the redeemer, the Holy One of Israel in Old Testament prophecy, Isaiah 54:5, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
- Absolute Perfection – Christ is the Express Image of God (who we know is perfect, so Christ is perfect), and is the brightness of His Glory, Hebrews 1:3, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” He also has no sin (1 John 3:5). These things made Him perfect, as we see in Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
- Perfect Peace; Beauty; Perfection – Jesus will keep us in perfect peace, as we see in Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). His Peace will keep us focused, Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
All the way from Passover up to the time of Tabernacles, the Lord has been working patiently in the hearts of men bring all to Him who hunger and thirst for righteousness. We are laboring to see the Day of the Lord come in its fullness. We are looking forward to the return of the Lord, and therefore, we prepare our hearts.
Other names for the Feast of Tabernacles:
- The Feast of Ingathering – This completes the ingathering of all the grains and fruits at the end of the year.
- The Feast of Booths – People dwelt in booths to commemorate their life in the wilderness.
- The Feast of the Seventh Month – Nehemiah 8:14, “And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month.”
The three main ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles:
- Simchat Beit HaShoeiva – This is the rejoicing of the place of drawing water (literally Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing). According to the Talmud, Sukkot is a time of year that God judges the world for rainfall, and this ceremony invokes God’s blessing for rain in its proper time.
- Water Libation – This ceremony is a ritual that water is poured out onto the ground as a sacrifice to God. We see Jesus saying later in John 7:37-38 that if anyone thirsts, they should come to Him and drink and out of thy belly comes living water (to which, Jesus is saying he is the libation or offering).
- The Beating of the Arava (Willow) – Each day, new willow branches were brought to the Temple, and the altar was decorated with them as symbols of water, because willow trees were commonly found growing near brooks. Before or after that, the altar was circled holding lulavim (palm branches) and willow branches, and saying Hashanah prayers. On the last day, they circled the altar seven times and, at the end, beat the arava branches until all the leaves fell off.
Three types of Harvest:
- Barley Harvest – This harvest symbolizes the Jewish converts.
- Wheat Harvest – This harvest symbolizes the Gentile converts.
- Fruit Harvest – This harvest symbolizes all nations converts.
The first great harvest (barley and wheat) – Passover and Pentecost. After it came 4th, 5th, and 6th months of the dry season. Then the Feast of Tabernacles in the 7th month. This ripened the Harvest and prepared the soil for the new season’s sowing. During this great harvest, the last of the fruit harvest was brought in (wine, oil, etc.).
Great things about this feast:
- It was the most joyous of all feasts
- It was a feast of gratitude for God’s goodness through the year
- It was a feast of remembering how they had lived in tents in the wilderness
- The Israelites made booths of goodly trees, the palm, the willow, the olive, the pine, the myrtle, etc., and made booths out of them.
- They left their houses or else built them on the roofs of their houses
- They rejoiced in these booths for seven days before the Lord…
- Palm Tree = Victory
- Willow Tree = Weeping
- Myrtle Tree = Joy
- Olive Tree = Anointing
- They were commanded to bless their families, their servants, the Levites, the strangers, the fatherless, and the widow in their gates… and the Lord.
Sukkah: A Sukkah is known as a booth, which have instructions for it in the Talmud, and it stipulates that there must be three sides. The sides may be built from anything, but the roof must be made of things that grow (such as tree branches). There are other instructions, and even some restaurants make them available. It is a “Mitzvah” to decorate a Sukkah, and children are especially encouraged to do it. For seven days, the Israelites were to sleep out under the stars in these booths, which would be a reminder of the days of wandering in the wilderness, and a reminder that God delivered His People out of Egypt.
This Feast has not yet been fulfilled and will only be fulfilled at the Second Coming of the Lord when He sets up His Kingdom of Glory upon this Earth during the Millennium – and we will have moved out of our Earthly Tabernacles and into our new glorified bodies.
Hoshana Rabbah: This is a very important and significant ritual of the Feast of Tabernacles, which involved the pouring of water in the Temple that lasted for 7 days. The last day was Hoshana Rabbah, meaning “The Day of the Great Hoshana” (Hosanna). This was done as the priest blew the trumpets.
Blessing of animals (Sukkot): Sukkot became the time we pray not only for rain, but also for blessings for the earth, the crops, the animals, for our people, and for humanity. This is all involved in the prayer of “Hoshanot” that has many different lines that begin and end with Hoshana.
Feast of Illumination
During the time of Christ, the entire Temple was illuminated. The outpouring of the waters took place in the morning. The lighting of the lambs was done in the evening on the first day of the feast. The daily sacrifice was first offered followed by special sacrifices that pertained to this day. After that was the festive meal and the study of the Law. Then the evening sacrifice, before people went with joy to the pouring of the water. For the Jews, the illumination of the Temple symbolized the coming of the Shekinah-Glory Light into the Temple of Solomon at the dedication of the Feast of Tabernacles.