Overview of Annual Holy Days
Picturing the Marriage of the Lamb
Basic Festival regulations are in black type.
Messianic interpretations are in blue type.
The Passover Seder is a memorial celebration of the redemption of a slave girl
(Israel) from the land of sin (Egypt). The Feast of Firstfruits / Pentecost
celebrates her betrothal to Messiah, with the Torah being the Shitre Erusin
/ Betrothal Contract. The Day of Trumpets rehearses the hearing of the Last
Trump and Messiah returning for His Bride. The Day of the Atonements marks the
purification of the Bride. The Feast of Tabernacles rehearses the seven-day
Wedding Feast, and the Eighth Day celebrates their future eternal new home
The Holy Days are Biblically called zikkaron / rehearsals or memorials
(Leviticus 23:24), and moedim / appointments with God (Leviticus 23:2).
Every Yom Tov (Holy Day – observed as a Sabbath) requires a miqra
/ public worship service (Leviticus 23:4), and has a seder / order of
service described in Mishnah as observed in the Temple of the Holy One.
It is helpful to be aware that each Biblical day starts at sundown (not
midnight), and each Biblical month starts with a 'new moon' (the evening before
a small crescent moon is observed and sanctified).
Portions of the ancient Biblical Holy Days are outlined herein to portray their
relationship to Messiah taking His bride. The quotations from Yeshua (Jesus) and
His apostles are seen as being based on such an understanding of the Feasts and
the marriage of the Lamb.
Rosh Hodesh / New Moon
Nisan 1 (beginning at sundown on April 9, 2005) – the Biblical Festival Year
begins. The first day is called Rosh Hodesh Nisan, meaning Head of the
Month Nisan, and is generally called New Moon Nisan. It is now celebrated
according to a calendar patterned after the ancient requirement of sighting of
the new crescent moon and sanctification of the month by the Great Sanhedrin.
This is not exactly the same as the astronomical new moon. A Rosh Hodesh
is celebrated at the beginning of each Biblical month, and is the basis for the
timing of each Festival. (Rosh Hodesh is pronounced Roash ho-DAYSH with a
guttural h in ho.) See Exodus 12:2; explanation of Hebrew texts may be found in
Mishnah: Rosh HaShannah.
Preparation of the Passover
Nisan 14 (April 23, 2005) is called the Preparation of the Passover. This
afternoon is when the Paschal Lamb must be slain, and other elements
prepared for the coming Feast. Starting at noon on this day, no leaven may be
found with us: while the Feast does not start until sundown, leaven cannot be
present at slaying time. See Exodus 12:6 and John 19:14, 31, 42. (Note: you will
hear much confusion, such as calling this day the Passover Feast, separating it
from Unleavened Bread. This generally results from depending upon unclear
Yeshua was presented as Messiah Prophet, Priest, and King during His four-day
examination at the Temple grounds. He went through all the preparation rites for
the Paschal Lamb, preceding His crucifixion. He was found to be without blemish.
Hag HaMatzot / Feast of Unleavened Breads
Nisan 15 - 21 (beginning at sundown on April 23, 2005) is the Biblical seven-day
Hag HaMatzot, translated Feast of Unleavened Breads. This is the first major
Festival of the Biblical year. The first and seventh days are each called a
Yom Tov, meaning a Holy Day – observed as a Sabbath. On the first evening of
this Feast, we have a Pesach Seder, meaning Passover order of service: that is
when the lamb is eaten in Temple times. (Hag HaMatzot is pronounced
Hawg haw-MAWT-zoat. Yom Tov is pronounced Yome Tove. Pesach Seder is
pronounced PAY-sock SAY-der.) See Exodus 12:18, 12:16, Leviticus 23:10-11;
explanation of Hebrew texts in Mishnah: Pesachim.
Passover is about
Messiah redeeming a slave-girl (Israel / the church) to be His future bride.
The ancient Passover
Seder (order of service), as recorded in the Mishnah, is divided into four
parts. Each part is related to drinking a cup of grape juice / wine which is
called the blood of the Covenant. The four cups represent the four parts of the
Covenant that Messiah made with His intended bride (Exodus 6:6-7).
The first cup is
called the Cup of Blessing. It represents the first part of the Covenant, "I
will sanctify you," which is God's promise that Messiah's bride will be
separated from idolaters of the world. Paul refers to this cup -- "The Cup of
Blessing with which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?"
(1 Corinthians 10:16). The
first cup is also called Kiddush for the blessing of Sanctification, and the
blessing of Him who Preserves – called the Shehechianu.
A special piece of
matza (unleavened bread), which is pierced and striped, is broken for us, and
hidden in a linen pouch (symbolically buried).
The second cup is
called the Cup of Plagues. It represents the second part of the Covenant, "I
will deliver you," which is a promise of deliverance from the sin of this world.
Deliverance from Egyptian slavery was through ten plagues. The final deliverance
from the slavery of this world will be through similar plagues (Revelation 16)..
The feast is eaten at
this time. It must include lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (Exodus
12:8). It is a large meal for which a tithe is saved during preceding months.
The lamb must be completely eaten by midnight (Exodus 12:10).
At the end of the meal,
the dessert is the special piece of matza previously broken for us; it is
symbolically resurrected from the linen burial cloth and eaten. At the "Last
Supper," Yeshua said, "This is (represents) my body, which is broken (killed)
for you" (1 Corinthians 11:24).
The third cup, taken
after supper, is called the Cup of Redemption. It represents the third part of
the Covenant, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm," which is God's
promise to redeem Messiah's bride through crucifixion.
The third cup of the
blood of the Covenant is taken after the meal and dessert are finished. At the
"Last Supper," Luke tells us, "And in the same way, after the supper, He
(Yeshua) took the Cup, saying, 'This Cup which is poured out for you is the new
covenant in My blood' " (Luke 22:20).
After the third cup,
the singing of Hallel (Psalms 113 - 118) is finished. At this point during the
"Last Supper," Mark confirms that Yeshua and His disciples sang Hallel
(sometimes translated praise or hymn -- Mark 14:25).
The fourth cup is
called the Cup of Glorification or the Cup of Completion. It represents the
fourth part of the Covenant, "I will take you as My own people and I will be
your God" (God's promise of Messiah dwelling with His bride in immortality).
The second day of this Feast is called
Waving Day, when an omer of barley flour is mixed with oil and waved with a
lamb, then offered upon the altar, thus starting 50 days of Counting the Omer.
From Waving Day to the Day of the
Firstfruits we count each of the fifty days. After being
redeemed, we excitedly count the days until the betrothal.
The third day after the
Passover seder (the third day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread) is the
day Yeshua came out of the tomb - in defeat of Satan's armies, and in
fulfillment of Jonah's prophecy of three days and three nights in the heart of
The forty-second day of Counting the
Omer is Iyyar 27, the date that Noah's flood waters were dried from the earth
(Genesis 8:14). The water of life ascended from the earth.
This being forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), Yeshua ascended into
the heavens, after saying, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2-3).
After redeeming the slave-girl, He must go to His Father's house to prepare a
dwellingplace for their future married life. John later foretells of this
prepared city that will come down from the heavens adorning the bride for her
husband (Revelation 21:2).
Hag Shavuot - Yom HaBikkurim / Feast of Weeks - Day of the Firstfruits -
Sivan 6 is the fiftieth day of Counting the Omer. Pentecost means fiftieth day.
This day is Biblically called Yom HaBikkurim, meaning Day of the
Firstfruits. (Yom means Day, Ha means The, Bikkur means Firstfruit, and im on
the end makes it plural.) It is also called Hag Shavuot, meaning Feast of Weeks,
because it is the day after counting seven weeks. Two large loaves of leavened
wheat bread are waved on this day. (Yom Habikkurim is pronounced Yome
haw-bee-koo-REEM. Hag Shavuot is pronounced Hawg shaw-voo-OTE.) See Exodus
34:22, Leviticus 23:15-17, Numbers 28:26. (Note: you will hear teachings that
confuse these names with Waving Day. This often results from misguided attempts
to tie the Day of Firstfruits with Yeshua’s resurrection. The term "firstfruits"
is often used without referring to this feast.)
Pentecost is about
Messiah giving a betrothal contract to His future bride.
thirty-three-hundred years ago, on Pentecost, the Torah was given as a betrothal
contract in the tongue of angels (Hebrew) and the tongues of men (languages of
the 70 nations). In a similar manner, almost two-thousand years ago, on
Pentecost, the Gospel was given in the tongue of angels and the tongues of men,
displaying an "earnest contract" with the bride (Acts 2:1-11, Ephesians 1:14).
At this feast, we take
the bride's Betrothal Cup, saying, "All that the Lord our God says, we will
obey, and we will learn" (Deuteronomy 5:27). We will literally and perfectly and
whole-heartedly fulfill this when we are glorified and dwelling with Messiah.
Yom Teruah / Day of Trumpeting
Tishrei 1 (beginning at sundown on October 3, 2005) is Yom Teruah, meaning
the Day of Blowing the Shofar, and commonly called the Feast of Trumpets. It is
also Biblically called Rosh HaShannah, meaning Head of the Year. (This is
the New Year for Sabbatical and Jubilee years; the New Year for Festivals is
Nisan 1.) This is the day that "no man knows the day or the hour". It is
observed as a forty-nine hour Sabbath during which we are to stay awake and
watch! On this day the Shofar (Ram’s Horn Trumpet) is blown many times,
with a shout preceding each trump. The command for this day is to “Hear the
Shofar.” (Yom Teruah is pronounced Yome Te-ROO-ah.) See Leviticus
23:24, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52; explanation of Hebrew texts in
Mishnah: Rosh HaShannah.
The Day of Trumpeting
is about Messiah returning for His bride.
On this day, a
ram's-horn trumpet, called a shofar, is blown several times with specific sounds
(see I Corinthians 14:8). Each trump of the shofar has a specific meaning
indicated by a preceding shout. The Last Trump of the shofar is preceded by the
shout of "Tekiah Gedolah," which translates as the Great Return.
This feast is an annual
rehearsal for that day when the archangel will shout "Tekiah Gedolah" , and the
Last Trump will be heard (I Thessalonians 4:16). Then the righteous dead will be
raised immortal (I Corinthians 15:52-54), and Yeshua will return for His
coronation as King of the Whole Earth.
The ten days from the Day of Trumpeting to
the Day of the Atonements are called Yamim Noraim, translated the Days of
We shall kneel in awe before
Yom HaKippurim / Day of the Atonements
Tishrei 10 (October 13, 2005) is the only Biblically mandated fast day. It is
called Yom HaKippurim, meaning Day of the Atonements (Yom means
means The, Kippur means Atonement, and the im ending makes it
plural. The singular word Kippur/Atonement never occurs in Scripture.) On
this day two goats are the main symbols, representing the two atonements. (Yom
HaKippurim is pronounced Yome Haw-kee-poo-REEM.) See Leviticus 16:7-34,
The Day of the
Atonements is about Messiah presenting to Himself a spotless bride (Ephesians
Two goats represent
Messiah. Two kinds of atonement are required (Leviticus 16:8-22).
The first goat is the
goat for Yahweh, commonly called an elevation offering (it is burned on an altar
and the aroma ascends). It represents Yeshua's righteousness being imputed to
us, ascending to God as our aroma of righteousness (Romans 4:24).
The second goat is the
goat for Azazel, commonly called the scapegoat. The sins of the people are
symbolically placed upon it, and it is led into the wilderness. It represents
Yeshua taking our sins upon Himself, and taking them away from us.
Hag Sukkot / Feast of Tabernacles
Tishrei 15-21 (sundown October 17 – October 24, 2005) is the seven-day Hag
Sukkot, meaning Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. It is observed by dwelling
in a sukkah, a temporary structure made of tree-branches, for the seven
days, and feasting primarily on tree fruits and nuts. The first day is a Yom
Tov – observed as a Sabbath. (Hag Sukkot is pronounced Hawg sue-KOAT,
and may be transliterated/spelled various ways including Hag Succoth.) See
Leviticus 23:39-43, Numbers 29:12-34, Deuteronomy 16:13-17; explanation of
Hebrew texts in Mishnah: Sukkot.
The Feast of
Tabernacles is Messiah's seven-day wedding feast. It is called the Time of our
By this feast, all of
the crops of fruit have been brought in. This culminating agricultural feast
represents the culmination of the marriage. The earth has been reaped, and all
of the fruit (God's people) has been brought in. The Covenant is fulfilled, and
Emmanuel (God with us) is pictured as dwelling in His tabernacle (this earth)
with His spotless bride.
Shimini Atzeret / Eighth Day Assembly
Tishrei 22 (October 25, 2005) is Shimini Atzeret, meaning Eighth Day: it
follows the seven days of Sukkot. It is a Yom Tov, observed as a
Sabbath. It is also the ancient Simcha Torah, meaning Rejoicing in the
Torah, though modern Jews celebrate this one day later. See Numbers 29:35 -
The Eighth Day Assembly represents Messiah dwelling with us on the eternal,
renewed earth. All seventy nations, represented by the seventy bullocks offered
on Sukkot, have become one, as the single bullock offered this day.
Hanukkah, meaning Dedication, is an eight-day Festival of Lights that begins
on Kislev 25 (sundown on December 25, 2005). It is called a Minor Festival
because it is not Torah mandated, and therefore has no day that is a Yom Tov.
It is, however, a Biblical Festival. It celebrates several dedications of the
Holy Temple. See Ezra 6:16, the apocryphal book of Maccabees, John 10:22.
We celebrate Hanukkah as the dedication of Yeshua, the Light of the World, at
His conception. We celebrate His birth nine months later at Sukkot, and His
circumcision and naming on the Eighth Day Assembly.
Purim, meaning Lots, is celebrated on Adar 14 (March 25, 2005). The Book
of Esther is read with acting parts at this Festival. (Purim is
pronounced Poo-REEM.) See Esther 9:31.
Revised 2-11-2003 ddd