“These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. – Leviticus 23:4
Feasts, Fasts & Festivals
Americans view Thanksgiving as a defining national holiday, complete with feasts focused on our Utopian culture of American families. Yet a stark reality lingers as a less than an alternative truth of family feasts of the American family. In fact, as I pointed out in the preface to this Thanksgiving message for 2017, we focus almost entirely on ourselves rather than God.
Festivals, feasts and celebrations have digressed to a holiday from work. Who do we thank, anyway? Certainly not the Lord. Though these feasts may have originated with God and governments, the LORD loses honor in all lands in our contemporary celebrations of self-accomplishment.
Never-the-less, let’s take a brief Biblical look at the origin of feasts and fasts appointed by the LORD.
Note: Most information shared from other sources. Check out the several links for additional study.
|Feast and Holy Days and Dates||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Purim Adar 14||Mar. 12||Mar. 1||Mar. 21||Mar. 10||Feb. 26|
|Pesach (Passover) Aviv 14||Apr. 11||Mar. 31||Apr. 20||Apr. 9||Mar. 28|
|Feast of Firstfruits Aviv ___ (varies)||Apr. 16||Apr. 1||Apr. 21||Apr. 12||Apr. 11|
|Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) Sivan ___ (varies)||June 4 §May 31||May 20 §May 20||June 9 §June 9||May 31 §May 29||May 23 §May 17|
|Rosh haShanah (Feast of Trumpets) Tishri 1||Sep. 21||Sep. 10||Sep. 30||Sep. 19||Sep. 7|
|Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Tishri 10||Sep. 30||Sep. 19||Oct. 9||Sep. 28||Sep. 16|
|Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) Tishri 15-22||Oct. 5||Sep. 24||Oct. 14||Oct. 3||Sep. 21|
|Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) Kislev 25||Dec. 13||Dec. 3||Dec. 23||Dec. 11||Nov. 29|
Contemporary Jewish Calendars include a mixture of Hebrew Festivals, some which are considered minor festivals, with others of more importance.
Names of Hebrew festivals in other languages vary widely, without a singular reference such as ‘Thanksgiving’ for each.
All preexilic festivals were “holy convocations”
PRE-EXILIC Annual (Hebrew) Festivals
1. Passover, 15th-22d Nican
2. Pentecost, 6th Ciwan) Pilgrimage
3. Tabernacles, 15th-22d Tishri) Festivals
4. Shemini ‘Atsereth, 23d Tishri
5. New Year, Feast of Trumpets, 1st Tishri
6. Atonement, 10th Tishri
Five festivals, in addition to the all-important weekly Sabbath [שַׁבָּת], monthly (28 days) New Moon, Sabbath Year (every 7) and Jubilee Year ( every 50) ALL honor the LORD! The Day of Atonement was the only ‘pre-exilic’ fast.
Faithful worshipers of God included fasting, prayer and preparation for these feasts honoring the LORD. A feast was much more important than a mere family gathering, a feast followed a prescribed honoring of Almighty God.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.
- Passover, known as The Feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD
- The Feast of First-fruits
- Shavuot or The Feast of Weeks
- Rosh ha Shanah or The Feast of Trumpets
- Sukkot, known as The Feast of Booths ESV, also known as:
- Feast of Tabernacles KJV
- Festival of Shelters NLT
- Festival of Tabernacles NIV
- חָג [Hebrew – feast] סֻכָּה [of tabernacles]
- always occurs after the most important day of atonement (which of course is not a feast but a fasting with prayer.
More Feasts, Fasts & Festivals
The Hebrew calendar begins with two thanksgivings (holy convocations, rather than festivals) to the LORD.
Both commemorate events when the Lord saved Israel: Passover or Pesach the Lord saves the Hebrew people through Moses from slavery in Egypt. And Purim celebrates the Lord using Queen Esther during the exile to save the Hebrews from holocaust at the hands of Haman the Persian.
After the fall of Jerusalem more than a dozen new celebrations and fasts were added to the Hebrew calendar. The period of the Babylonian captivity marks a complete change, not only in the kinds of festivals instituted from time to time, but also in the manner of celebrating the old.
God, America & Thankfulness
What do Hebrew holidays and a uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving have to do with you?
(After all, most of the world is neither Hebrew or American.)
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations. – Psalm 57:9
Yes, giving thanks is our most appropriate witness to the Lord.
1 Chronicles 16:8 הֹודוּ לַֽיהוָה קִרְאוּ בִשְׁמֹו הֹודִיעוּ בָעַמִּים עֲלִילֹתָֽיו׃
As the Lord has chosen but a remnant of Jacob for eternal redemption. God chooses no nation, but only a faithful remnant of those who believe.
Israel fell. Rome fell. The U.S. spirals down toward destruction as has every earthly nation before us. The Lord will judge each man and woman for our own sin. He has prepared a remnant for His witness, praise and thanksgiving.
εὐχαριστία – thankfulness, the giving of thanks
Our witness is that the Messiah Jesus was, is and is to come – He is God in the flesh, the Spirit and Creator of all things.
He will judge and condemn the evil which surrounds us.
He will redeem those who call upon His Name; therefore give Him thanks for the covering of our sins.
Praise to our Lord Jesus Christ
16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
See how evil unmasks evil. It cannot remain covered and neither will our sin, unless we are in Christ by his love and mercy and grace.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,
the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy
health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near;
Sing now in glad adoration!
Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that
is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come
now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen
Sound from His people again;
Gladly for aye we adore Him.