Feasts of Israel

PESACH (1st Hag)

Passover SederCommemorates night before the Exodus when the death Angel destroyed all first born of Egypt (Exodus 12) but passed over all the Israelite homes protected by the blood of the lamb.

Passover is celebrated with the seder meal and the chanting of the story of Exodus from the Haggadah. Ritual food and wine celebrate the coming of Elijah and the Messiah. The “Song of Songs” is read.


Yeshua is the Lamb of GodIsaiah 53:1-9 predicted that Messiah would be the final paschal sacrifice, the final sacrifice for sin. Messiah Jesus is represented as "our passover" in I Corinthians 5:6-7.

Yeshua is portrayed as this final Passover Lamb in four New Testament passages: John 1:29, 1:35-36, I Peter 1:18-19, and Revelation 5:6. John the Baptist introduced Him as the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world!


MatzahOn the original passover, in haste of preparation for flight, there was no time for the Israelites to wait for the bread dough to rise. They ate matzah (unleavened bread) on departure. The biblical name for this feast is Hag Hamatzot, which means the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” (Exodus 23:15).

Celebrated seven days (Leviticus 23:6), eight days in the DIASPORA. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted for seven days following the Feast of Passover, which is only one day. Since they are back to back feasts, there are actually eight holy days. This is the reason Jews often speak of “the eight days of Passover,” although technically, only the first day is Passover and the next seven days are the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Biblical practice was that no leaven could be eaten during this period.

In modern Jewish practice, Orthodox Jews eat nothing that contains leaven for the entire seven days of the feast. The main song during the feast is known as the Hallel, the Jewish name given to Psalms 113-118. Every day of the feast there is a synagogue service in which certain Scriptures are read. These Scriptures all center around either Pesach or Hag Hamatzot or are in some way related to them.


A symbol of purity (1 Corinthians 5:8) and a picture of freedom from the slavery of sin. Whenever the word leaven is used symbolically in Scripture, it is always a symbol of sin. This is the reason God would not even allow this symbol of sin to be eaten by the Jewish people during this period or to have it in their homes or to have it anywhere in the Land of Israel.

While Passover itself was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is fulfilled by the sinlessness of His blood offering, according to Hebrews 9:11-10:18. In this passage, His offering of sinless blood accomplished three things: first, the cleansing of the heavenly tabernacle; secondly, the removal of the sins of the Old Testament saints; and thirdly, the application of the blood to the New Testament saints.


First-FruitsHag HaBikkurim is a derived name because this is when the first-fruits were offered. Reishit Ketzirchem, which means the "Feast of Your Harvest" is one of the biblical names found in Leviticus 23:10.

B'Yom Haneefchem Et Ha Omer, “The Day You Bring in the Sheaf of the Wave Offering.” God commanded the people, once they got to the Promised Land, to bring before Him the Bikkurim (firstfruits) of their barley harvest as a wave offering (Leviticus 23:10, Joshua 5:12).

Counting of the Omer. Recalls the journey of the children of Israel from the Red Sea, fulfilling 50 days to the giving of the Torah at the Mountain of God on Shavuot.

The date of this feast was a major point of conflict between Sadducees and Pharisees. The key issue was the meaning of "Sabbath" in Leviticus 23:11 ...and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

According to the Sadducees, the Sabbath was Saturday or the seventh day of the week. Thus, the morrow after the sabbath was Sunday or the first day of the week. The Feast of First fruits would therefore be on the first Sunday after the Passover.

The Pharisees interpreted the sabbath to be the day of Passover itself, regardless on which day of the week it happened to fall. This would make the morrow after the sabbath the day after Passover, therefore, it was the same as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Sadducees based their view on what the biblical text actually said, while the Pharisees based their view on rabbinic tradition. In this case, the Sadducees were correct for this would be the normal meaning of Sabbath. So the sabbath of Leviticus 23:11 is Saturday and the morrow after the sabbath is Sunday.


The Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah; the Feast of Unleavened Bread by the sinlessness of His blood sacrifice; and, the Feast of First fruits was fulfilled by the Resurrection of Yeshua according to I Corinthians 15:20-23: But now Messiah has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah all will be made alive.But each in his own order: Messiah the first fruits, then those who are Messiah's, at his coming.

2 8 IYAR
YOM HAAYZMAUTH, or ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY is celebrated on IYAR 5. The Republic of Israel, was proclaimed May 14, 1948. Within a few hours, the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, with Saudi Arabian contingents, crossed its frontiers at several points. They were defeated and Israel became a nation again after almost two millinea.

SHAVUOT (2nd Hag)
Begins 7 weeks after Pesach ends and is the second of the three annual pilgrim festivals (Shelosh Regalim) that brought all the adult Jews to Jerusalem. Celebrates the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19).

Includes singing of Psalm 30, the solemn reading of the Ten Commandments and Book of Ruth emphasizing acceptance of God's law by a proselyte (Ruth 1:16, Leviticus 23:22).


In the genealogy of Ruth, we find that King David and, therefore, Yeshua, “the son of David,” are descended from Ruth and Boaz (Matthew 1:5-6).

When the Ruach HaKodesh was poured out on the believers in Acts 2, the law was written on our heart (Jeremiah 31:33).

4 10 TAMMUZ The 17th of TAMMUZ begins a 3-week period of national mourning leading up to the fast of TISHA BE-AV, the 9th day of AV. Moses broke the Tablets of the Torah; also the Babylonian Army broke through the walls of Jerusalem and The Roman Armies attack of the Temple mount on this day caused the cessation of the sacrifice. The 9th of AV marks the Destruction of both Solomon's Temple by the Babylonians in 587 B.C and Herod's Temple by the Romans in A.D. 70.

A total of eight major disasters have occurred on this date to the nation of Israel. This is a phenomenon unprecedented in the history of all the nations of the world. Zechariah spoke of this day of mourning (7:5), but when Messiah comes, all of Israel's fasts, including this one, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts” (Zechariah 8:19).
5 11 AV
6 12 ELUL ELUL has no special ceremony days but begins Teshuvah, “The Season of Return.” It is a time of active preparation for the High Holy Days of TISHRI. Jews visit cemeteries to pay respect to the dead during ELUL. A Shofar is blown at morning service.
The Jewish New Year begins with Yom Teruah (an awakening blast), Tishri 1. It is observed for 2 days on Tishri 1 & 2 but is called one long day. Begins a 10 day season of repentance known as Ya'Amin Nora'Im or the “Days of Awe”. Ends on Tishri 10, which is Yom Kippur. Although TISHRI is the beginning of the Civil Year, NISAN, the 7th month begins the Sacred Year with Passover (Exodus 12:2, 13:4; Leviticus 23:23-24; Numbers 29:1).
Rosh HaShanah means “Head of the Year” and celebrates the anniversary of the week of re-creation (Genesis 1:2-2:2). A time of rejoicing as well as a holy occasion (Nehemiah 8:2, 9-12). Services include blowing of the Shofar (Ram's Horn), dipping bread in honey, opening the Ark of the Torah, the Akeida story of Abraham and prayers for the peace of all mankind.
Holiest Day of the Year celebrated for 2 days by Orthodox Jews. Messianic Jews reflect that Yeshua the Messiah, bore the sins of all the people as was foreshadowed by the scapegoat in the Atonement ritual. It includes 2-24 hour fasts, the making of atonement offerings, chanting of the Kol Nidre and communal confession of sins.
Yom Kippur is the day the Cohan HaGadol (Great High Priest), came FACE TO FACE with God, known as Yom HaPeduth, The Day of Redemption. Picture of Messiah's second coming, known also as Yom HaDin, (The Day of Judgment). The Shofar HaGadol (Great Shofar) is blown to gather the surviving believers from the awesome days. Neilah, “closing of the gates.”
SUCCOTH (3rd Hag)
A 7-Day festival recalling the 40 years of Wandering in the Wilderness, when God miraculously provided for Israel as they traveled and dwelt in Succoth, referring to portable booths or tents. It concludes on Hoshana Rabbah, “Great Hosanna” (save now) and is followed by 2 special days, seen as one long day.

In ancient Israel, the 8th day of Succoth was the day of prayer for timely rain to assure a plentiful fall harvest.

Simchath Torah, “Rejoicing in the Torah” is the Last Great Day of Succoth.


Succoth is also known as the Feast of Ingathering of the spring harvest. The “Blessing of the Lulah” is performed and the Book of Ecclesiastes is read on Succoth Sabbath. It is the third Hag, or pilgrim festival.

The two special days of Shemini Atzereth and Simchath Torah are combined today in Israel. On this last great day, the annual cycle of Torah readings end and begin again. The Scriptures are removed from the Ark and the people dance with great joy while embracing the Torah Scrolls.

Zeman Simhatenu is the rabbinic name for Succoth and means “The Season of our Joy.”
This SECOND MONTH of the Civil Year has no Holy Days. It sometimes has 30 days, sometimes 29. It approximates the Roman Calendar month of November. HESHVAN is also known as MARHESHVAN (Bitter Heshvan) because there are no Holy Feast Days in the month.

ChannukahChannukah (dedication), commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. by the Maccabees exactly 3 years after it was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 8:13-14).

An 8-Candle Menorah is lit, one candle each night for 8 nights to recall the Maccabees cruse of oil that miraculously outlasted its supply.


TempleYeshua observed this feast as is evidenced in John 10:22-23: It was the Feast of Hanukkah at Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple, in Shlomo's porch. The Yehudim therefore came around him and said to him, "How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly. Yeshua answered them, "I told you, and you don't believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me".

11 5 SHEVAT TU B'SHVAT, or ISRAEL ARBOR DAY is an important part of Israel's long program of reforestation. Thousands of private and communal plantings of tree saplings are made in both rural and urban areas to improve and beautify the land. Celebrated on SHEVAT 15.
Celebrates Esther's story. She fasted to find favor before her husband King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) in order to stay the annihilation of her people. Haman had cast lots (pur) to fix the day of genocide but his treachery cost him his own life.
Purim is a joyous celebration of Esther's act of faithfulness in 473 B.C. Special foods are given to the poor, the Book of Esther is read and the children twirl noisemakers whenever Haman's name is read. A special festive meal is enjoyed.
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