The fall feasts of the Lord are rich with symbolism and meaning, and they are about to begin.
I have received countless messages and emails from people who want to learn more about the biblical feasts, I am by no means an expert, but I am going to share a basic introduction to some of the fall biblical feasts for those are new to studying them. This is not all of the fall feasts, but I think this is a good place to start. I will share more later on.
“Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai.’” Leviticus 23:23-25 (CJB)
When God redeemed his people from Egypt he gave them the permanent commandment to remember what he did through the keeping of the Passover feast and Unleavened bread. He told them it was so that they would never forget how he saved them through his mighty hand and miracles. That their children would ask, “Why do we do this?” and the parents could teach them the mercy and judgement of the Father.
Every one of the feasts of the Lord hold tremendous meaning, and are divided into to groups: the spring feasts and the fall feasts.
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The Hebrew calendar is not like our calendar, where our months are based upon set dates on a paper, and created in accordance with the orbit of the earth around the sun.
The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar and has different months than we are accustomed to.
Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishrei, Cheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar, Adar I (& Adar II),
That is why the Passover (& celebration of Jesus/Yeshua’s resurrection) varies from year to year on our calendar.
The fall feasts call us to regather to the Lord. They are Rosh Hashanah (Yom Teruah), Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Booths/Tabernacles).
Yom Kippur is considered such a serious and important feast, that preparations for it begin 40 days prior, on the first of Elul (August 27, 2022 after sunset.) The days are counted and referred to as “Days of Repentance.” They are a time of self-reflection, taking personal inventory of yourself and getting yourself spiritually back on track.
The first 30 Days of Repentance are called Rosh Codesh. During this time, each sunrise is often greeted with the blowing of a shofar/trumpet to announce that the days of repentance are continuing. We are counting down…or counting up to a momentous day.
Tradition says that this is the anniversary of when Moses ascended the mountain of the Lord to receive the second set of the stone tablets.
After the first 30 Days of Repentance, comes the feast of Rosh Hashanah.
There may be a special immersion ceremony called a mikveh, to symbolize cleansing ourselves of our old ways. Some people will have a ceremony where they throw rocks into a body of living water (sea, lake, river, etc.) to represent our sins being gone for good.
“He will again have compassion on us, he will subdue our iniquities. You will throw all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 (CJB)
Rosh Hashanah culminates with a festive dinner followed by an evening service that is both somber – because it is repentant – and hopeful, because God is merciful and forgiving.
On Rosh Hashanah there is again the sounding of the shofar or trumpets. Trumpets are blown by the priests, shofars belong to the common people.
In ancient times, the blowing of a shofar had many significant meanings.
It was to get the attention of the people or warn of danger. It was to call people together. It could be a call to arms.
Or to announce the arrival of the king.
With Rosh Hashanah being a feast that celebrates the regathering of God’s people – believed to be brought about by the Messiah himself, what better way than to call it forth with the sound of shofars blowing?
Another name for this holy day, is the Feast of Trumpets.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus/Yeshua went into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray and prepare himself for ministry? (Luke 4:1-15)
Just like there is a clear connection to the spring feasts and the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, as well as the gifting of the Holy Spirit. Many see a connection between his second coming and the fall feasts. As I share more about the fall feasts, or if you do your own studying, you may see them as well.
The Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah, is a day of blowing the shofar/trumpets and a day of regathering for God’s people, and it paints a picture of the return of the king.
“He will send out his angels with a great shofar; and they will gather together his chosen people from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31 (CJB)
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (CJB)
“It will take but a moment, the blink of an eye, at the final shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever, and we too will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52 (CJB)
So how do I Celebrate Rosh Hashanah?
As I shared in a recent post, every year I learn more and more about the meaning of the feasts. And every year when I celebrate them, it looks a little different as I am learning. It is not about doing them perfectly – it is about doing them, appreciating them and spending time with the Father. I feel so blessed to get to keep them.
When the Days of Repentance begin at sunset on August 27th this year, I will go outside and blow my shofar. Then I will come inside, light candles and spend the evening in prayer and study.
Each morning, counting up to the 30th day – Rosh Hashanah (Yom Teruah) I will blow my shofar.
During this time, I spend a great deal of time in self-reflection, looking at my life and how I can grow more in the Lord.
When Rosh Hashanah arrives, there is a festive meal at sunset, and there’s many traditional dishes that are often made. Roasted honey-glazed carrots, honey cakes, brisket or turkey. I will prepare a nice meal and set the table with a pretty table cloth, candles and use my special dishes.
Rosh Hashanah is a sabbath, which means that once the sun has gone down, work will end and there will be a day of rest.
There is a worship service that day to remember the feast. It is a day of expectant celebration – looking forward to the day when we are all regathered to the King of Kings.
The final 10 days of repentance after Rosh Hashanah are called the Days of Awe. They are often very somber and serious, as Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement is coming. They are spent in much prayer and seeking to be closer to the Father. Looking in at your own life and deeds and thinking of how you will stand before the Lord.
“Adonai said to Moshe, “The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny yourselves, and you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai. You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people. You are not to do any kind of work; it is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.” your God.” Leviticus 23:26-32 (CJB)
Many will fast and pray during this time, give to charities and do acts of kindness in gratitude to the Father.
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is the day that the Father restores his people to himself. (Zechariah 12-13)
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The ‘sheep’ he will place at his right hand and the ‘goats’ at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” Matthew 25:31-34 (CJB)
I will share about the next feast, Sukkot, in the near future.
If you would like to learn more about the biblical feasts, I recommend the following books:
Messiah in the Feasts of Israel by Sam Nadler
God’s Appointed Times: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holy Days by Barney Kasdan
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays: With Activities for All Ages by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce
The bible I use is the Complete Jewish Bible