In Lev. 23 the Feasts of YHWH are described. All of them are holy convocations, meaning they are to be observed in the fellowship of believers. The Hebrew word for these appointed feasts is moedim, meaning a set or appointed time. These are not “Jewish holidays”, but “set times” or an appointments with the Creator. In fact, Lev. 23 begins as YHWH tells Moses that these "are My feasts." (see Lev. 23: 2).
There are historical records proving the early believers observed the moedim until the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. made it illegal to do so. From that time on the Sunday and unscriptural feast days, based on ancient pagan worship days, usurped the appointed times of YHWH and now most berlievers are unaware they are not observing YHWH's "holidays". However, we do not observe these appointed times out of a legalistic belief that this is what saves us or earns us "extra credit" in the judgment. The WORD in Galations 2:16 states that “a man is not justified byd the works of the law (Torah), but by the faith of Jesus Christ (Y’shua Messiah)…for by the works of the law/Torah no flesh shall be justified.” Our motivation is love for Messiah and a desire to please Him in all things. He told His disciples “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) an "he that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me…” (John 14:21).
These are the appointed feasts/moedim of YHWH:
Shabbat/Sabbath: This is a weekly convocation of believers in remembrance of the Creator. This occurs on the seventh day. It begins at sundown on Friday evening and ends at sundown Saturday evening. This was first given to the human race at the creation of the world, along with marriage(Gen. 2:1-3; 21-25).
Pesach/Passover: This is on the fourteenth of Nisan, which is in March or April. Passover is uniquely special in that it marks two momentous times in history—the Exodus from Egypt and Messiah’s death on the cross. The first Passover is the memorial of freedom from Egyptian bondage and the second is the memorial of freedom from the bondage of sin through the blood of Y’shua/Jesus, the Passover Lamb. Even though this is a mo'ed, it is NOT a shabbat.
Unleavened Bread: This begins at sundown on the fifteenth of Nisan and for the next seven days (thru Nisan 21) anything containing yeast or organic leavening agents is removed from the home and not eaten, not even in a restaurant. Yeast is a scriptural word picture of sin, which YHVH wants to remove from our lives(I Cor. 5:6-8). The first day and the seventh day are both Shabbats and holy convocations (Lev. 23:7,8)
Hag Bikkurim/Firstfruits: This begins on the day after the Sabbath. (Lev. 23:11), which is Resurrection Day when Y’shua rose from the grave as the Firstfruits from the dead (I Cor. 15: 20-22). We are told to bring a special offering to present before YHWH. Even though it is one of the mo'edim, it is not commanded as a Shabbat.
Shavuot/Pentecost: Fifty days after Firstfruits is the feast that memorializes the giving of the Torahon Mount Sinai and the outpouring of the Ruach ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit in the upper room in Jerusalem. This is on the tenth of Sivan. It is a Shabbat and a holy convocation of meeting with fellow believers.(Lev. 23:16-21)
Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah: On the first day of Tishri is the feast day of the blowing of trumpets. It is a Shabbat and a holy convocation of meeting with fellow believers. This is the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe in which time is spent in fasting, prayer and repentance before YHVH.
Yom Kippurim/Yom Kippur: This is known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths and the most holy day of the year. It is a holy convocation meeting of fellow believers, but there is not a festive meal on thismoed/appointed time. Instead we are to afflict our souls by fasting and remember the shed blood of Y’shua, our Atonement (Heb. 8:25-27; 9:11,12,22-28).
Sukkot/Tabernacles: On the fifteenth of Tishri, which is in Sept/Oct., is the Feast of Tabernacles orSukkot. This is another feast with multiple applications. The people of Israel lived in tents/booths/sukkot during the forty years of wandering in the desert before crossing the Jordan to live in the land of promise. We also live in tents (II Cor. 5:1-9) during our earthly lives in the spiritual wilderness waiting to enter the promised land of Messiah’s kingdom. It is also the time that Messiah appeared and “tabernacled among us” as “Emmanuel, God with us.”(Matt. 1:23).
We invite you to join us as we seek to learn more of the ways of YHWH by walking in His paths through observing the appointments/moedim He has graciously set aside in order to meet with His children.