On the Hebrew calendar, the 9th day of Av (Tisha b’Av in Hebrew) is a notorious date of tragedy for the Jewish people. Many major tragedies are recorded in the Bible and continue up to modern history.
The Bible tells us that Aaron died on the first day of Av. Although he was a faithful servant for 40 years, he was part of that first generation that did not get to go into the Promised Land because of unbelief. Later, both temples were destroyed on the 9th of Av, as well as many, many other calamities down through the centuries.
I had been reading the five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) every year for five years and observing the Sabbath, Feasts and Festivals for five years. But as many times as I’ve read the Bible and practiced the Feasts, Yehovah never fails to show me new insights every time. This year has been no exception.
I had signed up to speak on the portion of scripture called “Phineas,” Numbers 25-30. Not knowing what I would speak about, I figured there was plenty to choose from. Numbers 28-29 are commonly referred to for teachings on observing Yehovah’s appointed times or Holy Days.
As I came to those chapters, I read quickly through the list: The daily offerings, the Sabbath, the New Moon, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost… Wait, the New Moon? When did they start that? Is that one of Yehovah’s appointed times? Why have I never observed this day? I decided I had to look into this. (more…)
What’s the only feast that falls on a new moon? Feast of Trumpets! The Feast of Trumpets always begins on Tishrei 1, the beginning of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. It’s always marked by a new moon.
Genesis 1:14 tells us:
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;”
The Spring Feasts begin with Passover during the Hebrew month of Nisan. On the Hebrew calendar, the Feasts always begin during the month of Nisan. But “Nisan” is a Babylonian name adopted well after the original command to observe Passover. In looking at the Hebrew name of the month, I found it was actually much more – more than a name or even a month. It’s a season, a designation, a process – the understanding of which brought all new revelation about the significance of the Spring Feasts. (more…)
Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
Olympic multi-gold medal swimmer, Michael Phelps started training at the age of 7, but his coach knew habits—not skills alone—would be the driver of his success. So, Phelps’s coach built a series of activities before every race designed to give him a sense of building victory. On the day of the race, he gets out of bed, eats certain things, does specific stretches and exercises, he thinks about certain things. By the time the race arrives, Phelps is already more than halfway through his unconscious habits and the pattern he lives by on a daily basis. That way, the race itself—and winning the race—is just another step in Phelps’s laundry list of things to do. He’s made winning a habit.
Wow – the mind is an amazing thing! But how do we transfer that to other parts of our lives? (more…)
The Lord’s Holy Days, Feast Dates, Jewish Feasts, Appointed Times, Mo’edim — whatever term you use, don’t miss these days! This year the Fall Feasts begin mid-September and continue into October. (For specific dates, visit this page.)
As a Christian seeking more intimacy in my walk with Yeshua, learning about, experiencing and keeping these feasts (including the Sabbath) has brought me not only into deeper intimacy with him, but God has showered me with new understanding, unexpected blessings, strengthened faith and fresh excitement daily. I highly recommend it!
Included here is a list of my blog posts about the Fall Feasts. (more…)
But the instructions for this day are a bit vague – it is to be a Sabbath with a holy convocation and an offering – much the same as the weekly Sabbath. What’s the significance of this day? (more…)
In a separate blog post I discuss how the day of Pentecost/Shavuot kicks-off the new covenant, guarantees our eternal inheritance, and brings new life through the Holy Spirit – enabling us to fulfill our mission and destiny on earth.
Pentecost, Feast of Weeks, Shavuot – the culmination of the omer count, the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit – all on one day. This is certainly something to celebrate!
My dad was a pastor. One day he was speaking to another pastor and they got on the topic of the Holy Spirit, which was one of my dad’s favorite topics. At one point this pastor asked, “So, what’s the big deal about the Holy Spirit?”
Well, my dad was so flabbergasted, he ended up writing a book to answer the question. It’s called, The Holy Spirit…So What’s the Big Deal?
It IS a big deal! And…in my opinion, it’s a big deal in a whole series of big deals. (more…)
In Part 1, we looked at not just the month of Nisan, but the season of Nisan, “The Abib” (called Aviv in Hebrew). We learned that it’s a time of:
- Moving from one place to another by the supernatural hand of Yehovah.
- The unrighteous becoming ripe for punishment and the righteous ripe to step into their future.
- Moving toward our destiny.
What is our role in all this? (more…)
On the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh Hashanah) we put aside our work and gather with other believers, share a meal, blow our shofar, present an offering and worship just as Yehovah commanded us in Leviticus 23.
But Leviticus 23:24 also tells us this is to be “a day of complete rest for remembering.” Remembering what, it doesn’t say. In fact none of the references to the Feast of Trumpets tell us what we’re remembering.
To get some perspective, let’s go back in time about 3,500 years when the observance of this day was first commanded. (more…)
How would you characterize the month of August? How about September? Or January? Just like the Gregorian calendar in which each month reminds us of the season and a mood, the Hebrew sages have determined the spiritual seasons of the year.
The Hebrew month of Elul is considered the start of the “Season of Repentance.” This season extends 40 days, from Elul 1 to Tishrei 10, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). (more…)
In Part 1, we looked at the Hebrew understanding of the month of Elul, which begins 40 days before Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). From the days of the Israelites in the wilderness, this period has emerged as a Season of Repentance, specifically repentance from idolatry, and originally the idolatrous Golden Calf.
For us it may not be a statue, figurine or carved image, but idolatry can take many forms. Repentance is an ongoing process of discovery of sin in our lives and realignment with God’s ways. In my own journey I’ve found four places where idolatry can hide and have watched God realign my life as I walk through each one. We’ve discussed the first two: discontentment and following my own plans. Let’s continue with the third:
“…and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matt. 6:12)
…”Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Forgiveness: Relinquishing our desire to punish another for their offenses. (Dr. Jerry Cook)
Easy to understand, hard to apply. But The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur in Hebrew) is all about forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man, and man’s forgiveness of others. Yom Kippur (literally translated the Day of Atonements) is the sixth in the seven Biblical Feasts. It commemorates God’s annual forgiveness of the Israelites as a nation and God’s forgiveness of all through Yeshua’s death. Likewise, it’s a time when we are to forgive others. (more…)
Often we hear that Jesus taught against the Sabbath as a day of rest. After all, he healed on the Sabbath, he defended his disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath. Every time the Pharisees challenged him about the rules of the Sabbath, he set them straight that “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
I heard those teachings; I read the Pharisees’ criticism of his actions on the Sabbath and Jesus’ responses defending himself and his disciples. I was convinced that the Sabbath and all its rules had been done away with when Jesus came and taught us the New Covenant.
Then I read the original instructions for the Sabbath in the “Old Testament.” (more…)
There are seven Feasts or Holy Days commanded in the Bible – four in the Spring, and three in the Fall. It’s true, Jews had been observing these Feasts for 1,400 years before Yeshua’s birth. But what if Yehovah set those dates as days He intends to fulfill specific prophecies in Yeshua’s lifetime and His second coming? Wouldn’t you want to know which dates those were? Let’s recount what happened on the Spring Feast dates during Yeshua’s lifetime. (more…)
The Feast of Tabernacles, called Sukkot in Hebrew, is the seventh and last Feast in God’s holy days. It looks back to God’s unlimited provision for the Israelites as they sojourned 40 years in the wilderness. During the seven days of Sukkot, we spend time in our flimsy, homemade shelters to remind us of our complete dependence on God. Sukkot also looks forward to the Millennial Age where we will “tabernacle” with Yeshua eternally.
But there’s an often overlooked aspect to this Feast. (more…)
Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles – lots of Feasts, each with different instructions for observing them. Sometimes when we’re just starting out observing the Feasts, or approach a new season of Feasts, we can easily think of all the instructions and do’s and don’ts, and forget the richness of each Feast. It can feel – and in fact become – like we’re just going through the motions.
I can imagine that’s how the Hebrews must have felt when they heard the instructions for the first time as well. Exodus 12 is 50 verses full of instructions for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the instructions are not exactly intuitive or logical. What were they to make of killing a lamb and smearing its blood on their door frames? Had that ever saved them from death before? Was this a common practice? And what’s so bad about leavened bread? What does that have to do with saving their firstborns? (more…)
Typically we think of the Spring Feasts as a time to remember – the Exodus and Yeshua’s death on Passover, his resurrection on the Feast of Firstfruits, the giving of the Torah and the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Then, we think of the Fall Feasts as a time to anticipate – Yeshua’s return on the Feast of Trumpets, the Lamb’s Book of Life opening on the Day of Atonement and tabernacling with Yeshua on the Feast of Tabernacles.
However, I found there’s also more to anticipate in the Spring Feasts. There’s more to come. The remembering helps us understand what to anticipate in the future. (more…)
In Leviticus 23:15 God instructs us to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. But counting days with no explanation? Why would this be important to God and to us?
For the Israelites, it pertained mainly to their harvest cycle and offerings to be presented. For us living after the time of Yeshua, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, we can see the spiritual implications of this count. We know that on the 50th day after Yeshua’s resurrection, something unimaginably wonderful happened: The pouring out of the Holy Spirit not only on the disciples, but on all those who come to faith in Yeshua as the Messiah! The implications of that day reverberate even stronger in these last of the last days. The 50th day is one I want to be prepared for every year. (more…)
Passover and Easter usually occur close together on the calendar, and presumably both commemorate the same event. Are they the same or what’s the difference? Up until a few years ago, I assumed Passover was Jewish and Easter was Christian. But what I found surprised me. (more…)
The Day of Pentecost – we remember the supernatural flames appearing in the room where Yeshua’s followers were gathered. Inside the room, there was the sound of a “mighty rushing wind” and the speaking of other languages they’d never learned. It’s the pouring out of God’s very spirit into mere humans (Acts 2). That’s plenty to celebrate and remember right there. But what’s the purpose in our noting it every year? (more…)
The Sabbath – we think of the Jewish day of rest, or maybe any day when we’re not working, or the day we attend church. Yeshua says of the Sabbath, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath is one of the blessings God made for mankind to enjoy. He practiced it Himself on the seventh day of creation. Was God tired? Had all the work He’d done on the first six days worn Him out? I can imagine it could, but no — God created it along with the world and its inhabitants as a gift to man, animals and the land.