Year 5778 (2017 – 2018)
“The Fall Feasts of the Lord” (last 3 of 7)
Rosh HaShanah / Trumpets: (sundown to sundown) 20th – 21st September 2017
Yom Kippur / Atonement: (sundown to sundown) 29th – 30th September, 2017
Sukkot/ Tabernacles: (sundown to sundown) 04th – 11th October, 2017
The Great Day is the 8th Day of Tabernacles: (sundown) 11th – 12th October, 2017
Shalom Partner and Friend of Israel,
As summer winds down in Israel and the autumn (fall) of the year approaches, we enter into an extremely important period in the Jewish calendar known as the Fall Feasts. In fact three significant biblical feasts occur in quick succession: Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement and holiest day of the year), and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths). Prophetic in nature, all three remain to be fulfilled! The Fall Feasts carry tremendous Biblical, historical, and cultural meaning for the Jewish people but also possess a wealth of value for all believers today.
On the 28th September, 2015 at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles the last (Lunar Tetrad of the four) “Blood Moon” occurred ….on that day and made this year very special. The Shemitah (Sabbatical) Year also ended in the Biblical Year – 5775 which ran from Rosh Ha-Shanah 25th September, 2014 until the evening of 13th September 2015. And, that meant that the following Biblical Year – 5776 (2015 – 2016) would begin with a Jubilee Year (50th) for the Jewish nation – Israel! We are now into that year 5777 (2016/2017) until 20th September, 2017 when the new Biblical year 5778 will begin again on Rosh HaShanah! World changing events began to take shape during the 2014/2015 with the “bloodmoon” Tedrads, Shemitah year and we also believe the Jubilee year 5777 (2017) will end with prophetic implications that we just cannot ignore. Since the first blood moon ocurred on 15th April, 2014 much has already taken place in Israel and began with the war in Gaza. Time certainly will tell!
Who doesn’t like holidays…? But, great as our holidays, their origin is from men. How different are Israel’s Holy days, as holidays should be pronounced if we would get the original thought behind the word! No other nation ever had God establish their holidays, as did Israel, while waiting – supernaturally sustained in the wilderness – to enter the Promised Land. Each of these …‘Holy days’ spoke of God’s concern and care for His people. In the case of those added later, such as Purim and Hanukkah, men established them with the fear of God in gratefulness for God’s gracious intervention in human affairs for their deliverance. How thrilling to have days like these to celebrate! Yes, the Holy Scripture is a living force among the Jewish people, and its influence can be felt in Israel’s public life.
The Jewish holidays are NOT only historic… but prophetic and very definitely point to Israel’s Messiah. “These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.” Leviticus 23:4
What is the “Prophetic” significance of these Feasts…? Jewish people did not seem to realize is that all of the feasts were also symbolic types. In other words, they were “prophetic in nature,” each one pointing in a unique way to some aspect of the life and work of the promised Messiah:
1) Passover… pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins. Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.
2) Unleavened Bread… pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Yeshua’ – Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
3) First Fruits… pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Yeshua (Jesus) was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”
4) Harvest – Shavuot or Pentecost… pointed to the great harvest of souls, both Jew and Gentile that would come into the kingdom of God during the Church Age. The Church was actually established on this day when the Messiah poured out the Holy Spirit and 3,000 souls responded to Peter’s first proclamation of the Gospel.
The long interval of three months between Harvest and Trumpets pointed to the current Church Age, a period of time that was kept as a mystery to the Hebrew prophets in Old Testament times.
That leaves us with the last three (fall) Feasts which are yet to be fulfilled in the life and work of the Messiah… Because Yeshua (Jesus) literally fulfilled the first four feasts and did so on the actual feast days, we think it is safe to assume that the last three will also be fulfilled and that their fulfilment will occur on the actual feast days. We cannot be certain how they will be fulfilled, but our guess is that they most likely have the following prophetic implications:
5) Rosh HaShanah / Trumpets — points to the Rapture when the Messiah will appear in the heavens as a Bridegroom coming for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with… the blowing of a loud trumpet! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:52)
6) Yom Kippur / Atonement… points to the day of the Second Coming of Messiah when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:1-6; 25-36)
7) Sukkot / Tabernacles — points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again tabernacle with His people when He returns to reign over all the world from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1-7)
Important to take note that of the Seven Feasts of the Lord – There are THREE MAJOR “HARVEST” FEASTS “where God has promised blessing” and they are:
- “Passover” or “Feast of Unleavened Bread.” (SPRING FEAST)
- “Shavuot / Feast of Weeks”– which is also called“Pentecost,” a Greek translation of the Hebrew words meaning, the “fiftieth day” when the Festival was celebrated. (Leviticus 23:15, 16) (SUMMER FEAST)
- “The Feast of Tabernacles.” (FALL FEAST)
When the Jews went up to Jerusalem three times a year for the pilgrmage Festivals; Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles – they were commanded to not appear before God empty-handed (Deuteronomy 16:16). Each Feast was one of thanksgiving; for Israel to commemorate God’s provision during their history as a nation and in their personal lives by bringing a generous offering to Him. Even the Apostle Paul, who we know was in Jerusalem for these Feasts (Acts 20:16), must have presented the gifts he collected from the churches across Greece and countries in Asia to assist the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. The Feast of Tabernacles is a special time for all believers to come together and be a blessing to the needy in Israel presenting our financial gift to God’s land and people …and God has promised a blessing for doing this!
In addition to the SEVEN FEASTS of the LORD, other days were added in later years to commemorate certain events. But, according to the original instructions there were only seven occasions during the year when Israel was to observe religious festivals and fasts. To take in other important holidays, we have to include, Purim, Independence Day, Hanukkah (Christmas which is really Jewish – our Jewish Messiah).
The seven “Feasts of the Lord” are arranged in Leviticus 23 in two groups. The first four came at the beginning of the Biblical Jewish Year, while the last three came toward the end of the year. That seems God’s method in revealing future things (compare Luke 1: 31-33). Between these two groups there was a period of several months, when there were no feasts or holy convocations.
Biblical – Jewish Lunar Calendar… The Jewish calendar is based on the cycles of the moon. Each one of the twelve months begins with the new moon.
God explicitly and repeatedly commanded His people to celebrate the New Moon and the beginning of each month (“Rosh Chodesh”), just as He told then to celebrate the Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts: 1 Samuel 20: 18, 1 Chronicles 23: 31, Ezra 3: 5, Nehemiah 10: 33, Psalms 81: 3, Isaiah 66: 23, Ezekiel 45: 17, Ezekiel 46: 1- 6. The Hebrew months are 29 or 30 days long and periodically an extra month (Adar 2). It is added to catch the Lunar Calendar up to the cycles of the sun. Today everyone celebrates the completion of one year and the beginning of the New Year, even though we are not commanded in Scripture to do so.
The Sabbath (Hebrew Shabbat … means: to cease) was (and is) observed every week from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday and had a two-fold significance. It was both a remembrance of creation and a remembrance of the nation’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. The Israelites were to imitate God’s example and rest on the seventh day, as the Lord rested on the seventh day of creation. Also, remembering that they were once slaves in Egypt, they were to rest themselves and allow their bond-servants to rest (a day of rest was a radical concept in ancient times). No work was done, nor did anyone fast on the Sabbath, since it was considered a day of joy. …on the contrary meals were often more elaborate and eaten more leisurely.
High Sabbaths do not necessarily fall on the weekly Sabbath but are related to the annual feast days as listed in Leviticus 23. There were seven annual or High Sabbath days, although neither the Passover nor the Feast of First Fruits are High Sabbath days. However the first and last days of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread and the seven day Feast of Tabernacles were both High Sabbaths. Perhaps one of the most fascinating Biblical studies is the historic and prophetic significance of these special Feast days. Whilst believers are not require to keep these feasts, every believer should be very familiar with them, as they not only celebrate a historical event in Israel’s past but are, at the same time, a prophecy of future events. In Christian theology ‘a type’ is a factual happening in history, which is a glimpse of one or more actual events yet to come.
God’s plan of salvation for mankind is summed up in these feasts, which relate to Israel‘s agricultural seasons and therefore fall into three clusters… The spring and summer feasts typify the inauguration of redemption while the Fall Feasts its consummation. “The first three feasts; Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits occur in rapid succession in the spring of the year over a period of eight days. They came to be referred to collectively as “Passover.” The fourth feast, Harvest, occurs fifty days later at the beginning of the summer. By New Testament times this feast had come to be known by its Greek name, Pentecost, a word meaning fifty.
The last three feasts; Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles extend over a period of twenty-one days in the fall of the year. They came to be known collectively as Tabernacles. These last three feasts of this year (2015) are the only feasts that will begin with a “New Moon!” On (Rosh HaShanah) the evening of the 13th September… the new Biblical Year 5776 will begin with a “new moon” or “crescent moon” and officicially starts when the shofar sees the very crest of the “new moon” and will then blow the “trumpet” and the “Feast of tabernacles” will begin.. first with Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets) … leading to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and then the final of the seven feasts Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles)… therefore we can see that there are other situations that affect the beginning of these feasts… and connects us Biblically to the Scripture… “No man knows the day nor hour” of our Lord’s return in Matthew 24:36. While we certainly do not know exactly how the LAST Three Feasts will be fulfilled, it is perhaps reasonable to surmise that they will be fulfilled in the same manner… on the actual feast day?
VERY interesting…! The arms of the Menorah lamp stand are connected in a very significant way, the Spring Feast are tied to the Fall Feasts on the same arms and the relevance of each is tied together…. Feast of Firstfruits saw Yeshua (Jesus) resurrection and begining Pentecost Age of Grace, on the same arm is Feast of Trumpets… etc!
Feast Number 5:
The Feast of Trumpets “Rosh Hashanah” …or New Years of the Day Biblical Year 5777 (2017-2018)
Begins at sunset with sighting of the “new moon” at the sound of the shofar…
on the 20th September – 21st September, 2017
Scriptural references: Leviticus 23: 23 – 25; Numbers 10: 9 – 10, 29:1 and Nehemiah 8: 1 – 12
The Feast of Trumpets is Israel’s ‘dark day.’ It is the only feast of the seven that ocurrs at the beginning of a “New Moon” when the primary night light of the heavens is darkened. Israel’s prophets repeatedly warned of a “coming dark day of judgement” – known as “The Day of the Lord!” (Zephaniah 1:14-16; Amos 5:18-20) But, even as the darkening of the moon in the night heavens announced “The Feast of Trumpets” so too will the heavens be divinely darkened in the future in the coming “Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31 and 3:15; Isaiah 13:9-10; 34:4,8; Acts 2:10). The apostle Paul also described this cosmic disturbance and darkness which will announce the “Day of the Lord! (Revelation 6:12-17)
The Bible says less about the Feast of Trumpets than any of the other feasts – it was simply to be a holy day celebrated with trumpet blasts, on the first day of Tishri the 7th Month (Sept. / Oct.). The blowing of the trumpet was associated with the calling of the solemn assembly; a warning of danger and action to be taken (such as gathering of the troops to war or the arrival of a king). Over the centuries this feast, because it was the first in the series of three fall festivals is considered to be the holiest time of the year. It was traditionally to be called “Rosh Hashanah” (literally head of the year), or New Years day. This may be connected to the events described in Nehemiah 8: 1–12 called “holy” in verses 10 and11. While this event is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament, at least two extremely important prophetic events are described there with the beginning of the trumpet blast – the “re-gathering” or “rapture” of the church; (1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 18) and the return of the Lord (Matthew 24: 31).
The Biblical New year for Israel is the first day of the first month, called Nissan in the Jewish calendar (called Nissan in Esther 3:7, and Abib in Exodus 13:4; 34:180). The Rabbi’s of the time of the early century believed that the Lord God created the world in the month of Tishri. The blowing of Trumpets was a memorial of God’s grace to Abraham when He substituted a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son Isaac (Gen. 22). Therefore the Jewish people today blow a ram’s horn on Rosh HaShanah.
This feast was not only to be observed as a memorial, but like all the seven Feasts of Jehovah, it is a prophecy … It points to the present re-gathering of Israel. From Numbers 10:1-10we learn that the blowing of the trumpet was for the calling and gathering of people (Isaiah 43:5-6; Ezekiel 36:24). Almost seven and half million have been gathered from over eighty countries and are now in the land of Israel. It almost seems that we should hear God’s trumpet blasts! The blowing of trumpets also points to return of the Messiah; so, like all these Feasts of the Lord, this one points to Him, Yeshua the Messiah.
The present re-gathering and the establishment of the State of Israel are strong evidences that His coming is close at hand. At His coming in the air for His redeemed ones, the “trumpet of God” will sound forth (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:51 – 52). We are not looking for signs any longer; we are listening for the trumpet call and shout!” The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated today with several blasts of the “Shofar” (trumpet made of ram’s horn). It is a very solemn time, just proceeding the holiest day of all – the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). On Yom Kippur God’s atonement (forgiveness) is sought and His judgement is feared.
The 10 days of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are called the “days of awe“… when one considers his/her sins before God and enters into a period of repentance; of asking for forgiveness from God and those one has harmed; and of restitution. All over the world, wherever possible, Jewish people will go to their Synagogue, recite long prayers, confess their sins of omission and sins of commission (Ne Al Chet), and pray God; “that He should inscribe them for the coming year.” Our very best wishes are extended to them and it is our prayer that in the province of God, they will have a blessed year. God grant that all our Jewish friends will have less tears and fears than in past tragic years… So to all our Jewish friends we say; “Rosh HaShanah, Good Sabbath to you!”
No one can predict what will happen in the Middle East in the immediate future and how it will affect Israel, but we know the God who holds the future for His Covenant people… So again, we pray the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He should inscribe them for the coming year, the traditional Jewish greeting; L’Shanah Tovah Tikoseivu!
While there is no special celebration of this feast in the Church… a time of repentance, asking for forgiveness and of restitution certainly would not be out of place, especially as we await the last trump and the coming of the King of Kings.
Feast Number 6:
Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement … begins at sunset – 29th September – 30th September, 2017
Scriptural references: Leviticus 16: 29 – 34, 23: 26 – 32; Hebrews 9: 11 – 14, 22: 24, 10: 1 – 25.
Yom Kippur is the most solemn and important day in the Biblical calendar. Only once each year was any Israelite permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle or Temple and to approach the Lord where His Spirit resided above the mercy seat. The High Priest on the Day of Atonement went through a complex set of sacrifices to atone for his own sins and the sins of all the people, and a goat was then led out to die outside the walls of the city – symbolically taking the sins of the people with it. The High Priest was then able to enter the Holy of Holies, sprinkling blood on the Ark of the Covenant. It was by no means certain that he would leave alive! A rope was tied around his legs so he could be pulled out if he should die. If he lived, he would go outside, lift his hands up and pronounce the Aaronic blessing on the people – the only time in the year any one would invoke the tetragamatron (“Y-H–V-H”), the usually unutterable Name of God.
The blood of bulls and goats could not provide true and permanent forgiveness of sins, and so God’s Son came to provide the ultimate sacrifice Himself. He was sentenced to death in the temple by the High Priest who said, prophetically, that it was good that one man should die for the nation. He was led outside the walls to bear the sins of the people – all the people of the world. When the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, and again by the Romans, there was not longer a Holy of Holies, a High Priest or a sacrificial system. The Jewish people had to find another means of atonement. Their solution was prayer and good deeds. Today, the Day of Atonement is spent in the Synagogue, in repentance, fasting and prayer asking to be written in the Book of Life for one more year. And, in modern Israel, nothing moves on Yom Kippur. One can walk down the centre of highways without fear of being hit by a car. It is an awesome day!
This day, or any day is a good time to approach the Lord with the fear and awe that He deserves, to repent of our sins and thank Him for His Son’s sacrifice bringing us into continual “At-one-ment” with our Maker and our names to be recorded forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Feast Number 7:
Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles… begins and ends at sunset 04th October – 11th October, 2017
Scripture: Lev. 23: 33 – 44; Deut.16: 13 – 15; Zech. 14: 16 – 19; John 7: 2 – 52
“Last Great Day” is the ’8th day’ of Tabernacles begins 11th – 12th October, 2017
The Feast of Tabernacles was the last of the seven Biblically mandated celebrations and also the most joyful; in fact it was the only one in which the Israelites were commanded by God to rejoice!(Deuteronomy. 16: 14) starting five days after the Day of Atonement on the fifteenth of Tishri (Sept. / Oct.) and extended for seven days… the first and last days being those of “solemn rest”. Tabernacles are also known as the “Feast of Ingathering” (Exodus 23:16; 34:22)… and the “Feast of Booths.” On the first day of the feast, each participant had to collect branches of wild olive, myrtle, willow, and palm trees to construction their booths. (Nehemiah 8:13-18) They then lived in them for seven days. It celebrated the final harvest of the year, and God’s great provision for His people. During this feast, the Israelites were required to leave the comfort of their homes and live in tabernacles or booths – three-sided temporary structures with leafy roofs through which the stars could be seen. In this way they would remember how their ancestors had lived in booths or tents when they came out of slavery in Egypt. The two most important ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles was the pouring out of water drawn from the pool of Siloam, and the illumination of the Temple. They were both of post-Mosaic origin and referred back to the “water and the pillar of light” provided during the wilderness wandering, when people dwelt in temporary shelters.
The Feast of Tabernacles looks forward to the Kingdom of the Messiah. Revelation 7:9-17 describes a great multitude, which have come through the tribulation, as arrayed in white robes with palms in their hands. In New Testament times Sukkoth was a major celebration, often referred to simply as “the feast.” It incorporated great ceremonies using water and light. Yeshua (Jesus) made His proclamation in the temple during Sukkoth: “In the last day, of that great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirsts, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,’” John 7: 37 – 38. He was challenging the system in a very relevant and pointed way.
ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH… While Israel is given signs to observe relating to God’s plan for His elect nation, the church is told to watch and eagerly await the any-moment rapture. Signs for Israel… Paul notes that “Jews ask for signs” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Why? We believe it is because God has historically related “signs and seasons” to His earthly plan for Israel. Zechariah says that, in the Millennium, all nations will come up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, or incur God’s wrath, Zechariah 14: 16 – 19. The ultimate fulfilment of this feast will come after the return of the Lord, when God will once again dwell or “tabernacle,” with His people.
We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information.
Alf & Julie Saunders
02nd January, 2017