Congregation Beth Simcha
Messianic Synagogue of Lufkin, Texas
Loving God and Loving Each Other
The Moedim Biblical Holy Days
These are the designated times of ADONAI, the holy convocations you are to proclaim at their designated times.." Leviticus 23:2
God gave His holy days to the people of Israel to be observed throughout all their generations. The Moedim are days in which Israel, including those from the nations who are grafted in through Messiah, observe and remember God's deliverance, His giving the Torah, the call to righteous living, and so much more. In short, these days are cyclical reminders of God's redemption.
These great days bear witness of God’s faithfulness to His people and to the nations and portray redemption in Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazereth.
Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for Himself. Exodus 20:8-11
Shabbat is the greatest of God's appointed days because it is celebrated each week. Shabbat means “rest” and occurs on the seventh day of the week, or Saturday. It is a day of joy and delight.
Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The holiday originated in the Torah, where the word pesach refers to the ancient Passover sacrifice (known as the Paschal Lamb); it also refers to when God “passed over” (pasach) the houses of the Jews during the 10th plague on the Egyptians, the slaying of the first born. The holiday is ultimately a celebration of freedom, and the story of the exodus from Egypt is a powerful metaphor that is appreciated not only by Jews, but by people of other faiths as well.
Passover occurs on the evening of the 14th of the month of Nissan and is followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread in which the Jews eat unleavened bread as God instructed in Leviticus 23. Usually, the entire holiday is collectively referred to as “Passover.” This holiday is celebrated in remembrance of the first Passover when God told the people of Israel not to wait for their bread to rise, but to eat their meal in haste so they would be ready for His deliverance at a moment’s notice.
Messianic Jews celebrate the mighty acts God did to rescue the Jewish people from slavery to Egypt. Over and over again, God commanded the Jewish people to remember what He brought them out of. Messianic Jews also recognize, as Rabbi Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) pointed out in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that Yeshua became our Passover lamb. He sacrificed His life for us, and we are saved from eternal, spiritual death through His death and resurrection.
Shavuot is also called the Feast of Weeks because it occurs seven weeks after the first Passover Sabbath. God gave the Torah (the Law) to His people at Mount Sinai on the date of Shavuot. Therefore, the feast is a time of celebrating the gift of the Torah. Many Jewish people today stay up all night reading the Torah together, and when Shavuot dawn breaks, they pray together and read the Ten Words, commonly called the Ten Commandments.
Shavuot is one of three pilgrimage feasts in the Jewish year for which God required every Jewish man to travel to Jerusalem. The first Shavuot after Yeshua’s death marked the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jewish men living abroad in many nations returned to Jerusalem for Shavuot, and it was then that God gave the Ruach HaKodesh, or Holy Spirit. Men heard the Good News of Yeshua in their own languages, and 3,000 came to faith in Messiah that day.
It is a time to rejoice in fulfilled prophecy and expectation of the great harvest to come, the resurrection of the righteous dead and entering into the joy of His Kingdom.
Rosh Hashana is known as the Feast of Trumpets. Often referred to the “head of the year”, it is the Jewish New Year because the Sages teach that this is when HaShem (God) created the heavens and the earth. It is also the start of the High Holy Days, which include Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
Leviticus 23:23-25 reveals that the Feast of Trumpets was a time for all Israel to rest. It was ordained for the first day of the seventh month of Tishri, and the day was announced by the blowing of the shofar, or ram’s horn.
This prophetic day is the day of which Rav Shaul (Christians call him the Apostle Paul) wrote to the believers in
1 Thessalonians 4:14-16
14 For if we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, so with Him God will also bring those who have fallen asleep in Yeshua. 15 For this we tell you, by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the blast of God’s shofar, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first.
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement (Covering) is called the holiest day in Judaism. It was the one day the High Priest entered into the Most Holy Place before the presence of the HaShem. On this day alone each year the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice onto the Mercy Seat. The sins of Israel were then symbolically placed on the head of another animal, and it was led outside the camp. Thus Israel’s sin was removed from them.
Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and prayer, a day with no work. Messianic Jews and Gentiles celebrate the Day of Atonement with the understanding that Yeshua’s death was the final sacrifice, making atonement, having the sin of the world placed upon him. Messianic Jews and Gentiles rejoice in the permanent sealing of the Holy Spirit given to those who profess Yeshua as Messiah, according to New Covenant teaching. The book of Hebrews reveals Yeshua as both the perfect sacrifice and perfect High Priest who offered His own blood on our behalf. If we have a trusting faith in him, we are forgiven and made right with God, not for one year only, but for all time. Yom Kippur enables Messianic Jews and Gentiles an opportunity to reflect on the price Yeshua paid so that we might live in restored relationship to God.
Sukkot is the Feast of Tabernacles and commemorates the 40 years Israel was in the wilderness and had all their needs provided by HaShem (God).
Found in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Tabernacles (or booths) is known today as Sukkot.
These booths were temporary tent-like structures that could be dismantled and transported when God’s presence in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night moved as a sign that Israel should follow. Sukkot is a commemoration of God’s protection, guidance, and provision to the people of Israel during their sojourn to the Promised Land.
Sukkot is a reminder of how God dwelt with the Israelites in the wilderness, comforting them with His presence, guiding and protecting them. Messianic Jews and Gentiles rejoice in Messiah Yeshua, named Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Followers of Yeshua have been given the Holy Spirit as God’s ever-present comfort and as a seal that He will never leave us or forsake us. For Messianic Jews and Gentiles, Sukkot is an opportunity to remember God’s faithfulness to Israel in the past, in the present, and in the future. It’s a joyous time to celebrate the blessing of His presence in the heart of each Believer.