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Keeping Passover at the Proper Time

The Passover observance was to begin at a specific time of the day. Leviticus 23:5 and other passages define this time as being “at even” in the KJV, or in the Hebrew, “between the evenings,” Leviticus 23:5.

Some believe that the Passover should be observed in the afternoon on the 14th of Abib, contending that “between the evenings” means any time from noon to sunset. Others maintain that it means at dusk at the beginning of the 14th of Abib. A proper understanding of the term “between the evenings” will show us the proper time to observe the Passover.

Between the Evenings – Ben ha arbayim

The phrase “between the evenings” is from the Hebrew ben ha arbayim. It is this phrase that describes the time that the Passover lamb or goat was slaughtered on Abib 14. The exact definition of ben ha arbayim has long been debatable. The goal of this article is to establish a well-defined and scripturally supportable definition of ben ha arbayim.

There are two differing definitions attached to ben ha arbayim. The Pharisees, in accordance with their man-made Talmudic adherence, defined ben ha arbayim as any time from afternoon to sunset. Conversely, the Sadducees, Karaites, and Samaritans, in accordance with the Biblical Torah (law), all interpreted ben ha arbayim as being the time from sunset to complete darkness.

Exodus 12:6 reads, “And you shall keep it [the Passover sacrifice] up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening” (literally, “between the evenings.”). The Pharisees interpreted this as meaning between midafternoon, when the sun’s heat abated, and sunset, whereas the Sadducees took it to mean between sunset and dark” (Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary, note at Ex. 12:6).

Another authority says, “In the evening. Hebrew, between the evenings. From very early days opinions have differed as to the exact time of the sacrifice. The Samaritans and the Karaites construed it as the time between sunset and complete darkness. The Pharisees held to the traditional explanation that it was from the beginning of lengthening shadows to sunset, approximately 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and with this the Talmud agrees” (Wycliffe Bible Commentary, note at Ex. 12:6).

And yet another source explains, “Between the evenings – Different opinions have prevailed among the Jews from a very early date as to the precise time intended. Aben Ezra agrees with the Caraites and Samaritans in taking the first evening to be the time when the sun sinks below the horizon, and the second the time of total darkness; in which case, ‘between the evenings’ would be from 6 o’clock to 7:20…According to the rabbinical idea, the time when the sun began to descend, viz. From 3 to 5 o’clock, was the first evening, and sunset the second; so that ‘between the evenings’ was from 3 to 6 o’clock. Modern expositors have very properly decided in favor of the view held by Aben Ezra and the custom adopted by the Caraites and Samaritans” (Commentary on the Old Testament, The Second Book of Moses).

It should be noted that the Pharisees, the political-religious leaders during the time of the Messiah, based their understanding not only the TANAKH, but also on their own rabbinical teachings that are found in the Talmud. The Messiah in Matthew 15 and Mark 7stated that the Pharisees transgressed Yahweh’s Word because of their traditions, referring to their rabbinical teachings found in the Talmud.

On the other side, the Sadducess and Karaites used only the TANAKH to establish their beliefs. Why is this important? Because we know that Yahshua kept the Passover not on the day that was reckoned by the Pharisees, but on the day established by Yahweh’s law and followed by the Sadducees, who were in charge of the Temple. Because Yahshua kept the Passover on the 14th of Abib as did the Sadducees, then He kept the Passover memorial between sunset and complete darkness. That could only have occurred at the start of the 14th to meet the requirement that the entire Passover be observed on the 14th (Num. 28:16).

Other Arguments Answered

Let’s look at some examples where ben ha arbayim is used in the Scriptures.

“I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even (between the evenings) you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your Elohim” (Exodus 16:12).

Exodus 16:12 states that Yahweh gave quail to the children of Israel between the evenings. Some speculate that this was done prior to sunset, thus being easier to capture the quail before nightfall. It is also a fact, however, that at sunset or dusk such birds are less active and more docile and confused because they have more difficulty seeing at twilight, thus making them easier to capture. There is, however, no evidence that this event occurred in midday or sunset.

In the Old Testament Yahweh instructed the Levites to offer one lamb in the morning and another lamb “between the evenings.”

“And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even (between the evenings), and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto Yahweh” (Ex. 29:40-41).

Both lambs were to be offered on the same day. Some say that this proves that “between the evenings” is before sunset, because at sunset one day ends and another day begins.

This argument also lacks definitive evidence that “between the evenings” refers to midafternoon. Scripturally, at sunset one day ends and another day begins. If a lamb was offered at the start of the day after the sun set (ben ha arbayim), and the other lamb was offered the following morning of that same day, both would be offered the same day. See Exodus 29:41 and Numbers 28:4, 8 for additional reference to the daily sacrifices.

Another example of ben ha arbayim is when Aaron the High Priest was commanded to light the menorah between the evenings.

“And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even (between the evenings), he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations” (Ex. 30:8).

The lamp that Aaron was commanded to light every morning and evening (between the evenings) was located in the Holy Place within the tabernacle. This particular place could not have natural light. The only source of light within the Holy Place was that light that the seven-branch menorah produced.

Therefore, because the holy place of the tabernacle had no natural light it would make no difference whether it was lit midafternoon or at sunset. This again lacks anything definitive one way or the other for ben ha arbayim.

The last example of ben ha arbayim that we will look at is in connection with the Passover lamb.

“And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening [between the evenings]” (Ex. 12:6).

This passage alone does not precisely pinpoint the time of ben ha arbayim. However, by looking at the entire context of the Passover the exact time will be made clear, along with the proper meaning of ben ha arbayim. A few facts must be established to understand this crucial Hebrew phrase and the timing of the Passover.

Fact One: the entire Passover service, and everything connected with it, must be kept on the fourteenth of Abib.

“In the fourteenth day of this month, at even (between the evenings), you shall keep it [Passover] in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it” (Numbers 9:3).

The Passover cannot start on the thirteenth or go through the fifteenth. Yahweh says unequivocally that His Passover is on the fourteenth day of Abib. And ALL rites and ALL ceremonies of the Passover must take place on the 14th, Numbers 9:3.

Further, no part of Passover can be on the 15th because the Feast of Unleavened Bread is commanded to be on the 15th day of Abib (Lev. 23).

Fact Two: Yahweh’s day begins at sunset, and thus the Passover began at sunset. The importance of this fact will be clear after fact three.

Fact three: the death angel that killed the firstborn of both man and beast “passed over” at midnight on the fourteenth day of Abib. “And it came to pass, that at midnight Yahweh smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle” (Ex. 12:29).

If the children of Israel had waited to slaughter the lamb between midafternoon and sunset on the fourteenth day, all their firstborn would already have died, because it is written that the death angel came through at midnight (Ex. 12:29). Another contradiction: Slaughtering the Passover lamb between midafternoon and sunset on the 14th would also demand that the death angel would have had to pass through at midnight on the fifteenth day of Abib, not the 14th, which also opposes Scripture. All Scriptures maintain that the Passover is on the fourteenth day of Abib. Not one verse in the Bible allows otherwise. Yahweh reserved the 15th for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which specifically had to be kept in the wilderness and not in Goshen with the Passover, Leviticus 23: 6; Ex. 5:1.

Understanding Yahweh’s Passover is much like a puzzle. The complete, accurate picture becomes clear when all the pieces are put together correctly. It is a matter of Scriptural fact that Abib fourteen began at sunset and that the death angel came through at midnight, which would have been approximately six hours after sunset. Therefore, the lamb had to be slaughtered at or after sunset on the fourteenth, but before midnight on that selfsame night. Thus, we can quantitatively establish that ben ha arbayim means from sunset to complete darkness, not from midday to sunset.

Modern Translations Support Sunset

Most modern versions, including the TANAKH, New Revised Standard, New American Bible, New Jerusalem Bible, New King James, and New International Version, use the word “twilight” in Exodus 12:6 to describe ben ha arbayim. The Britannica World Language Dictionary defines twilight as, “The light diffused over the sky from sunset to dark and from dark to sunrise, caused by the reflection of sunlight from the higher portions of the atmosphere; hence, any faint light.”

In addition to the above Bible translations, the Revised English Bible, James Moffatt Bible, Lamsa Bible, Five Books of Moses, Harper Collins Study Bible, and Insight on the Scriptures all say that ben ha arbayim is from sunset to complete darkness.

Notice:

• “Have it in safe keeping until the fourteenth day of this month, and then all the assembled community of Israel must slaughter the victims between dusk and dark” (Ex. 12:6, Revised English Bible).

• “Lamb or a kid, but you must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month, when every member of the community of Israel shall kill it between sunset and dark” (Ex. 12:6, James Moffatt).

• “And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at sunset” (Exodus 12:6, Lamsa Bible).

• “Between the evenings: at Twilight” (The Five Books of Moses, note at Ex. 12:6).

• “Twilight, lit. “between the two settings,” apparently between sunset and the last of the residual light in the sky” (HarperCollins Study Bible, note at Ex. 12:6).

• “From the foregoing, and particularly in view of such texts as Exodus 12:17, 18, Leviticus 23:5-7, and Deuteronomy 16:6, 7, the weight of evidence points to the application of the expression “between the evenings” to the time between sunset and dark” (Insight on the Scriptures, article: Passover).

Likewise, the same support is found in many concordances and lexicons.

• “Between the evenings, i.e. prob. between sunset and dark” (The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon).

• “Even, Evening, Eventide – “To be or grow dark. The evening, when the day begins to be obscured. Between the evenings, the time when…the paschal lamb was slain” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies).

• “Evening, twilight, dusk, the fading of the day; twilight can be extended to the dark of the night” (Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance).

• “Through the idea of covering with a texture; to grow dusky at sundown(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).

Summary

Overwhelming Scriptural and scholarly verification concludes that ben ha arbayim is from sunset to complete darkness. That is when the Passover observance was to commence, both anciently and today. This is provable from Biblical context, modern translations, and the majority of Biblical word studies.

passover high day; is passover a high day; passover is a memorial not a high day; is passover a feast day

10 Proofs Passover Is a Memorial, Not a High Day

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Throughout history a debate has raged concerning the proper timing of Yahweh’s Passover. Many observe the Passover on the 14th of the first month (Abib) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th. Others believe that both the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are on the 14th. Still others observe the Passover and first day of the Feast on the 15th of Abib. Why so much confusion? It need not be.

This study will harmonize both Old and New testaments to show that the two observances are clearly separate and distinct.

Part of the error is historical. After Judah and Benjamin went into Babylonian exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, these two Israelite tribes combined what is known in the Bible as the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

No one knows exactly when these two observances were combined, but what is known is that it happened during the Exile in Babylon. Israelites picked up a number of errors while under Babylonian influence, and the joining of Passover with the Feast was one of them. Because of this error some believe Passover is also the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica confirms the mistake committed by these Jews: “The feast of Passover consists of two parts: The Passover ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined,” Vol. 13, p. 169.

The book, The Torah, by W. Gunther Plaunt, corroborates, saying, “The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread rituals were originally two separate observances which were combined sometime between the events of the Exodus and the redaction of the text” (p. 445).

Clearly, the Scriptures proclaim that the 14th of Abib marks the Passover memorial, while the 15th of Abib starts the Feast of Unleavened Bread. But two particular deviations from this truth exist. One is that the Passover is the first high Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and falls on the 14th of Abib. The second is also that the Passover is the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but occurs on the 15th of Abib.

One central fact plainly obvious in Yahweh’s Word is that the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are separate observances. Consider the following passages (from the NIV):

  • “[Yahweh’s] Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month [Yahweh’s] Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast” (Lev. 23:5-6).
  • “And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of [Yahweh]. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten” (Num. 28:16-17). Other translations are just as plain, including the KJV.

Clearly, the Passover is on the 14th of Abib, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th of Abib and advances through the 21st day of Abib, making a seven-day Feast.

Ten Plain Proofs

At least 10 clear distinctions separate the Passover from the high day or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows it.

The first proof that Passover is a separate memorial comes when Moses was told that Israel could not keep a feast among the Egyptians. He emphasized twice to Pharaoh that he could not stay and hold a feast where Israel was living at that time in Egypt, in a region called Goshen:

— “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, This is what Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel, says: Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert” (Ex. 5:1).

— “Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, go, sacrifice to your Elohim here in the land. But Moses said, That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer Yahweh our Elohim would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us?” (Ex. 8:25-26).

Moses knew that holding the Feast of Unleavened Bread among the Egyptians would be disastrous. First, Yahweh prohibited it. Second, the Egyptians were notorious for animal worship. They held sacred some of the same animals that Israel was required to sacrifice during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moses realized this fact and knew that by sacrificing these animals that he would be signing his own death warrant.

Among other animals, the Egyptians worshiped bulls and cows to the god Hathor. They even venerated crops to honor Osiris, the god of vegetation and maker of grain. No wonder Moses could not hold Yahweh’s Feast among them, with all of the daily animal and meal offerings that were required of Israel during the Feast.

Moses told Pharaoh that it was not possible to hold a Feast at that location. Still, they kept the Passover there in Egypt. Yahweh had commanded Israel to hold a feast to Him in the wilderness, not among the Egyptians where they observed that Passover. How, then, could Passover be the first day of the Feast?

2 Another difference between the two observances is the characteristic mood of each. The Passover symbolizes a day of suffering and pain, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time of joy. Let us detail these differences.

Two major events contribute to the solemnity of Passover. First, Passover is the day that the death angel passed over Egypt destroying all firstborn of both man and beast. Second, this is the day that Yahshua our Savior was impaled on the torture stake for our sins.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is memorable for one great event. It is the day on which the Israelites were freed to leave and were no longer serving the Egyptians as slaves. Their harsh, brick-making days were over.

3 A third reason that Passover could not be a High Day is that there was only one sacrifice offered on Passover, while many sacrifices were commanded for the Feast days.

In Numbers 28:24-25 Yahweh commands Israel to offer various sacrifices during the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “In this way prepare the food for the offering made by fire every day for seven days as an aroma pleasing to Yahweh; it is to be prepared in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. On the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.”

Here is an unmistakable command for additional offering for all seven days of the Feast. Nowhere in the Bible do we find these sacrifices commanded or offered by Israel or any other people during the Passover.

How could the Passover be the first day of the Feast, with no evidence of these other offerings given on the Passover?

In addition, the unleavened bread on Passover specifically represents Yahshua’s sacrificed body given in death for us (Matt. 26:26). But the unleavened bread of the Feast has a different meaning. Paul writes in 1Corinthians 5:8 that the unleavened bread of the Feast stands for “sincerity and truth.” Confusing these by combining the two observances perverts the different purpose and design for these unleavened symbols.

4 A fourth fact is that Passover is never called a  Sabbath or High Day. InExodus 12:25-26 and Exodus 13:5 Passover is called a “service.”

The Hebrew word for service is No. 5656, abodah in Strong’s Concordance, and is defined as “work of any kind.” How could the Passover be a Sabbath when the Hebrew word that depicts the Passover means to engage in work? Work is strictly prohibited on a Sabbath or Feast High Day.

A fifth and often overlooked criterion for Passover as a non-High Day is that the Passover is referred to as a Preparation day for the Feast in the New Testament.

In Mark 15:42-43 Joseph of Arimathaea asks for the body of Yahshua the day before the first high Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “And when even was now come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a councilor of honorable estate, who also himself was looking for the kingdom of [Elohim]; and he boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of [Yahshua]” (American Standard).

Yahshua was impaled on the Passover, which is called the Preparation day, the day before the High Sabbath or the first High Day of the Feast.

Joseph of Arimathaea knew that he had to remove Yahshua from the stake before sunset, which started the first High Sabbath of the Feast.

Another passage that validates the Passover as a day of preparation is Luke 23:53-54. In this passage Joseph of Arimathaea removed the body of Yahshua from the stake and prepared it for burial: “And he took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet lain. And it was the day of the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on” (American Standard).

Note the plain statement that the Passover was the Preparation day while the High Sabbath was yet to come. The Hebrew word for Preparation in Strong’s Greek Dictionary is No. 3904, paraskeue, “as if from No. 3903; meaning, to make ready or prepare one self.” The day of Preparation is the Preparation day for the Feast that follows the Passover.

The Passover is a day to make ready for the Feast of Unleavened Bread by removing all leavening from one’s premises. Remember that Passover is also called a service, pertaining to work.

“Drew on” is epiphosoko in the Greek and literally means “to begin to” or draw on toward.” The High Day was about to begin, not come to an end, after Yahshua was taken down and put in the tomb.

If the women would not so much as visit the tomb on the weekly Sabbath (Luke 23:56-24:1), how could Joseph of Arimathaea, a Jewish follower of Yahshua, literally work to take the body down and prepare it for burial on a High Sabbath?

6 A sixth distinction that eliminates the Passover from  a High Sabbath of the Feast is that the commandment of the Passover was only for the circumcised, while the Feast and Sabbaths were commanded for ALL in the household to observe, circumcised as well as uncircumcised.

In Exodus 12:19 Yahweh commands all of Israel, including the uncircumcised stranger, to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born” (NIV).

Yahweh says in Exodus 12:43, however, that no stranger or alien may partake of His Passover. All must be circumcised: “[Yahweh] said to Moses and Aaron, These are the regulations for the Passover: No foreigner is to eat of it” (NIV).

A seventh factor that clearly separates the Passover  from a Sabbath or High Day is the strict prohibition against working on the Sabbaths.

This regulation can be seen in two passages. In Exodus 20, starting with verse 8, we have the Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your Elohim. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son nor daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Yahweh commanded no work whatsoever be done on His Sabbath day. This command is the same for the High Days of the Feast in passages found in Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23.

In Luke 23:26 Simon of Cyrene comes out of the country — a literal field — on Passover day. “And when they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the stake, to bear it after [Yahshua]” (American Standard).

The Greek word for country in this passage is No. 68, agros. Strong’s defines agros as: “a field (as a drive for cattle): generally the country, spec. a farm, i.e. hamlet.” Incidentally, from agros we get our word agriculture.

Here one of Yahshua’s own disciples comes out of the agros or field on Passover day, indicating that Simon was working in the fields on Passover day. Neither Simon nor any other disciple would have done this on a Sabbath or High Day because of the strict prohibition against work on a High Day.

8 An eighth factor witnessing against a High Day  Passover is that no buying or selling is permitted on a High Day. When Israel returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah, Nehemiah commanded them not to buy or sell on Yahweh’s Sabbath or Holy Day (Neh. 10:31): “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day” (NIV).

We find an additional proof in John 13:26-30, when Yahshua dips the bread (“sop” means a morsel, not a slice of leavened bread) and gives it to Judah Iscariot, the one that was soon to betray him. Yahshua said, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish. Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judah Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judah took the bread, Satan entered into him. ‘What you are about to do, do quickly,’ Yahshua told him, but no one at the meal understood why Yahshua said this to him. Because Judah had charge of the money, some thought Yahshua was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judah had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.”

We see two key facts within this passage. One is that Yahshua’s disciples acknowledged that the Feast had not yet begun, therefore the statement, “to buy what was needed for the Feast.” Remember that this was the start of Passover night. The other fact is that Yahshua’s disciples thought that Yahshua gave the money to Judah Iscariot in order to purchase supplies. But that would violate the commandment not to buy or sell on a High Day or the Sabbath. Would Yahshua have prompted his own disciple to break Yahweh’s law if this Passover were a High Day?

By His own instructions to Judah Yahshua shows that the Passover is neither Sabbath nor High Day. Nowhere does the Bible contain a prohibition against buying or selling on Passover.

A ninth fact is found in the Seder service held by  the Jews today. The Jews hold a Seder on the 14th of Abib to commemorate the Passover meal. The Seder service consists of prescribed foods, each of which symbolizes some aspect of the first Passover in Egypt. For example, they partake of horseradish, which signifies the bitterness of the first Passover. They also eat a blend of chopped nuts and apples, which symbolizes the building mortar used by the Israelites in their slavery. Also during this memorial the account of Exodus is retold and prayers of thanksgiving are offered to Yahweh. The entire family always observes the Seder service together.

What is interesting is that the Seder service is not a High Day service, but a memorial on the 14th, just as was the Passover.

On the one hand the Jews today honor the 14th Passover by observing the Seder service as a memorial, but at the same time they hold Passover on the 15th of Abib. Clearly we see a blending of the true Passover on the 14th with a tradition of keeping the 15th Passover that emerged from their Babylonian captivity.

10 A tenth reason why Passover is not a High  Day or the first day of the Feast may be found in two passages contained in Matthew 26:5 and Mark 14:2:

— “When [Yahshua] had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away — and the Son of Man will be handed over to be impaled.’ Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest [Yahshua] in some sly way and kill him. ‘But not during the Feast,’ they said, ‘or there may be a riot among the people’ ” (Matt. 26:1-5, NIV).

—  “Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest [Yahshua] and kill him. ‘But not during the Feast,’ they said, ‘or the people may riot’” (Mark 14:1-2, NIV).

The Jewish religious authorities were planning to take and kill Yahshua, but they knew that it would not be possible to do so on a Feast day, for that was against the Law of Moses. Therefore, they knew that He had to be taken and killed before the Feast. Instead, they accomplished their deeds on Passover itself, proving it was not a Feast High Sabbath.

Let’s Review the Facts:

The Passover is commanded for the beginning of the 14th of Abib, at dusk, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread comes on the 15th. The Passover is a memorial separate from the first day of the Feast. We have detailed in this booklet the following ten points, which offer unmistakable proof of this fact:

  • Yahweh said Israel could not keep a Feast among theEgyptians; they were able to keep the Passover in Goshenbecause it was not a Feast. Passover is a memorial ser-vice of the death angel’s Passing over as well as thedeath of Yahshua under the renewed Covenant.
  • Passover is a time of pain and suffering; the Feast is atime to joyfully celebrate freedom.
  • Passover had only one sacrificial offering, while each dayof the Feast had many commanded sacrifices.
  • The unleavened bread of the Passover service has dif-ferent meaning and significance from the unleavenedbread eaten each day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  • Work was done on the Passover; work was prohibitedon the High Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  • Only the circumcised could observe Passover; all werecommanded to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  • Passover is never called a High Day or Sabbath. Rather,it is called the Preparation day for the Feast.
  • Commerce was done on Passover day; commerce wasprohibited on all Feast High Days.
  • The Seder on the 14th is a throwback to the true Pass-over and is not a High Day.
  • The Jewish leaders would not take and kill Yahshua on aHigh Day; but they did do so on the Passover.

Our desire is to keep the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread properly as commanded in the Scriptures. If we take all the evidence into consideration, we are left with only one conclusion: Passover is on the 14th, the Feast of Unleavened begins with a High Day on the 15th.

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wine grape juice passover

Wine or Grape Juice for Passover?

Many people assume from their experience with “communion” that wine is the proper liquid to represent the memorial shedding of the Savior’s blood at Passover.

But was it wine that was in the Passover cup? There was once a group that could not decide, so they offered both wine and grape juice at the Passover memorial. Are we not commanded to discern what is right and proper from what is not? According to IKings 18:21,we are.

Have you ever investigated the meaning of the Passover cup and its symbolic contents?

Life in the Blood

A basic principle in the Bible is that the only possible atonement for the act of sin is a giving up of life. And the ONLY way we can be free of sin’s death penalty, which we have all earned because of our sins, is through blood, which contains life, Leviticus 17:11.

Israel’s sins were covered under an elaborate system of sacrifices in which animal blood was shed. That system gave way to a better sacrifice in the New Testament. Yahshua shed His blood on the torture stake as the perfect sacrifice. His blood paid the death penalty for our sins, just as the blood of animals was shed under the Old Covenant merely to cover Israel’s sins (but not take them away). Read Hebrews 9:13-15.

Contrary to what many believe, the principle of sacrifice remains, only now instead of animal sacrifice, it is the sacrifice of the Savior and the shedding of His blood that we trust in.

What Represents Blood?

Our Savior instituted a new symbol at that New Covenant Passover–the cup. This symbol represented the blood of the perfect Lamb, which was He Himself.

The question is, what liquid represented His pure, sinless life? Wine? Grape juice? Water? Is there any way we can know?

Yes, there is! Does it really matter? It certainly does, because one is right and proper, the rest are wrong and of no effect. Some readJohn 4:46 and say the cup should contain water, because Yahshua changed water into wine at Cana. They also opt for water in the cup because both blood and water came out of the Savior’s side when He was pierced by the Roman soldier while on the stake.

But the cup must symbolize blood. At best, John 4:46 shows only an association between water and wine, not water and blood.

The fact that both water and blood issued from His pierced side proves nothing in relation to the Passover cup. If He had shed only water on the torture stake, then we could conceivably call water his shed “blood.” But His blood is what saves us, not water. Therefore, we must find something other than water as the proper symbol for His blood.

Grape Juice Analogous to Blood

The Old Testament never mentions a cup for Passover–only the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. You might be wondering, but what about the drink offering?

The drink offering used in regular Old Testament sacrifices comes from the Hebrew word “nacak,” and it means to pour out. Although called a “drink” offering because it was liquid, it was not drunk but always “poured out” at the altar. Paul wrote to Timothy that he was ready to be offered (Greek “spendomai,” poured out like a drink offering”) at the end of his ministry. The drink offering, therefore, can give us no clue as to the contents of the cup that was drunk in the New Covenant Passover service.

An important indication of the cup’s contents, however, is found in the Hebrew word for blood, “dam.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew Dictionary defines “dam” or blood: “(as that which when shed causes death) of man or an animal; by anal. the juice of the grape; fig. (especially in the plur.) bloodshed(i.e. drops of blood).”

‘Wine’ Never Used for ‘Cup’

Both Yahshua and Paul referred to the Passover beverage simply as “cup” or “fruit of the vine.” They NEVER used “wine” in referring to the cup.

Fermented wine is the Greek “oinos,” used 28 times in the New Testament, but NEVER for the contents of the Passover cup.

What we can deduce, then, is that “fruit of the Vine” properly represents His blood (Luke 22:20). But is that fruit of the vine fermented, or is it the pure, unadulterated juice of the grape? Had the New Testament writers used “gleukos,” the other word for fermented wine (occurring one time in Acts 2:13), the meaning would be clear.

But just as they did not use “oinos” (fermented wine), neither did they employ “gleukos” in reference to the Passover cup. Why? Is there a reason they did not use “wine” when speaking of the Passover cup?

Wine Symbolic of Retribution, Celebration

Let’s look at the symbolic attributes of wine and see whether this substance would be appropriate for the solemn, redemptive Passover observance. In the prophetic Book of Revelation we find clear, symbolic meaning in wine. In 14:8 wine represents wrath unleashed for Babylon’s fornication. Verse 10 reads, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation…”

Wine (“oinos”) symbolizes the fierceness of Yahweh’s wrath in Revelation 16:19. He calls it “wine of her [Babylon’s] fornication” in 17:2. The use of wine (“oinos”) in other parts of the New Testament is significant as well.

In the New Testament wine is used in celebration, during times of rejoicing. The first miracle Yahshua performed was to change water to wine at a wedding feast, John 2. It is a celebration drink.

Upon Abraham’s victorious return from battle with the kings, Genesis 14:18, Melchizedek greeted him with bread and wine (“yayin”–a fermented drink).

Similarly, in Deuteronomy 14:26 we find that wine is expressly used for REJOICING at Yahweh’s joyous Feasts (“wine” here is the Greek “shekar,” an intoxicant, but we are commanded against drunkenness, Eph. 5:18).

Wine, therefore, would be inappropriate for the solemn, deadly SERIOUS and even frightening observance of the Passover (recall that the death angel struck absolute FEAR into the hearts of Israel).

Paul chastized the once pagan Corinthian Assembly for coming together at Passover to gorge themselves on food and drink. He showed in 1Corinthians 11 that the Passover was a solemn occasion and not a festive time. It is a time for sober introspection, v. 28.

Wine at the Passover would be inappropriate in light of what Paul was teaching about sobriety and humility at Passover. Both wine (yayin) and “strong drink” were expressly forbidden during worship services, “that you may put difference between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean.” This was a statute Yahweh gave forever, for “all generations” (Lev. 10:9-11). Under the New Covenant, an elder is not to be “given to wine,” 1Timothy 3:3.

Intoxicants simply have no place in a worship setting.

Wine: Chemically Altered and Leavened

Wine is not a firstfruit of the grape. It is a byproduct. Wine is produced when yeast, a leavening agent, acts on the sugar molecule of fruit juice to produce ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Wine, then, is juice that has been chemically changed into something different. It is not the original, pure fruit of the vine, but a secondary byproduct. As a symbol for the pure, uncorrupted, sinless blood of Yahshua, a modified substance like wine would be inadequate. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Messiah?…” (1Cor. 10:16)

More importantly, wine has been leavened in the same way bread is leavened by yeast. The Passover was to be eaten only with unleavened bread, Exodus 12:8. Nothing leavened was to be used at the Passover Memorial.

Unleavened bread represents Yahshua’s body unchanged by the corruption of sin, Mark 14:22. Similarly, the cup represents His pure blood, untainted by outside influences of the sinful world. Would a chemically altered drink like wine best represent His pure, unadulterated blood, or would the virgin juice from the grape?

Blood of the Grape

Biblically, the symbolism between blood and the pure juice of the grape is unmistakable.

In Genesis 49:11 we find a reference to the “blood of grapes.” A citation to drinking the “pure blood of the grape” is found inDeuteronomy 32:14.

Isaiah 63:1 speaks prophetically of the returning Messiah Yahshua, who comes from Edom (“red”) with dyed garments (red from blood) from Bozrah (meaning “vintage”–the yield of grapes from a grape crop).

Verse 2 reads, “Wherefore are you red in your apparel, and your garments like him that treads in the winefat?” “Winefat” is the Hebrew “gath,” which means to tread out grapes. It is not “yekeb,” which would be a wine-vat or a container storing wine.

“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garment, and I will stain all My raiment,” Isaiah 63:3.

“Winepress” is a misnomer. It is in fact a trough for squeezing grape juice, with a drain at one lower end. The grapes were pressed down and the juice flowed out the drain. Here, the juice that flows from the grapes is equated with the blood of those whom Yahshua will destroy when He returns. Their blood is equated with the “blood of the grape”–grape juice.

The analogy is complete in Revelation 14:20, where “blood came out of the winepress.” “Blood” here is the Greek “haima,” and according to Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary means: “Blood, lit. (of men or animals), fig. (the juice of grapes) or spec. (the atoning blood of [Messiah]).”

Savior as a Firstfruits

Yahshua is the firstfruit sacrifice for man, 1Corinthians 15:20. The people were to offer the firstfruits of their produce to the priests,Deuteronomy 18:4–“…the firstfruit also of your corn, of your wine…” “Wine” here is “tirosh.”

For more uses of “tirosh” as freshly pressed juice of the winepress, see 2Chronicles 31:4-5 and Nehemiah 10:37-39; 13:5, 12. Just as the winepress is really a giant grape juice press, so wine is also used metaphorically for grapes. “As the new wine [Heb. “tirosh,” fresh grape juice] is found in the cluster…” Isaiah 65:8. We don’t find wine in a cluster, but we do find grapes that way.

“New wine” signifies the best–that juice which squeezes out by the sheer weight of the grapes in the winepress, before the treading. Thus, it is the firstfruits of the grape batch.

Yahshua is called the firstfruit of the dead, and the true vine. This pure firstfruit can only equate with the first of the freshly squeezed grape juice, not with a byproduct or wine, adulterated through chemical change.

Pure, unadulterated juice is the only proper symbol of the pure, saving blood of Yahshua the Messiah in the Passover. Grape juice is the only symbol that fits all the criteria and offers the only symbolism that is unique to His pure, precious blood.

Paul tells us that the Savior represents the first of the harvest: “But now is the Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1Cor. 15:20).

Firstfruits offerings were commanded of Israel in Deuteronomy 18:4: “The firstfruit also of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil…” “Wine” here is the Hebrew “tirosh,” meaning freshly pressed juice. Similarly in Isaiah 65:8 we read of the “new wine [“tirosh,” fresh grape juice] found in the cluster” (see 2Chron. 31:4-5; Neh. 10:37-39; 13:5, 12).

Yahshua is actually the first of the firstfruits, 1Corinthians 15:23, and the true vine, John 15:1. This pure Firsfruit can only equate with the first of the freshly squeezed grape juice, not with the byproduct known as wine, which has been mixed with yeast spores and changed through aging and chemical action.

Can Grape Juice Be Preserved?

Some years ago a number of wine producers and processors of grape juice were contacted with the question, “Could grape juice have been preserved in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago from the fall of the year until early spring?” The response was equally divided. Those producing wine expressed doubts that grape juice could be preserved. Those producing grape juice stated it was possible even under primitive conditions, to do so. Furthermore, grapes in Israel had a high content of sugar, which was an advantage in preservation, some pointed out.

The Living Bible Encyclopedia in Story and Pictures explains how grape juice could be preserved: “The means for preserving grape juice were well known. Kato (De Agri Cultura CXX) has this recipe: ‘If you wish to have must [grape juice] all year, put grape juice in an amphora and seal the cork with pitch. Sink it in a fish pond. After 30 days take it out. It will be grape juice for a whole year’” (vol. 16, pp. 2088-2089).

Another method of preserving grape juice was to concentrate the juice by boiling it into a syrup. Stored in a cool place, this concentrate would not ferment. Adding water later yielded a sweet, unfermented grape juice. This was common in ancient times.

Still another way to have grape juice all year was to finely chop raisins, which are dried grapes–and then add water to produce the reconstituted juice.

Yahshua Kept His Promise

As Yahshua was participating in His memorial with His disciples, He said: “Drink you all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:27-29). About to die, Yahshua said He would not drink of the “fruit of the vine” until He was with them in the Kingdom. If the Passover cup contained wine, as some allege, then He broke that promise. Why is that? Simply this:

John 19:28-29 reveals that Yahshua’s thirst was satisfied when on the tree they gave Him “vinegar” (“oxos” in Greek), which is described as an inferior, common wine drunk by soldiers and laborers. (The Complete Biblical Library) “When Yahshua therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the Spirit” (John 19:30).

Yahshua had refused the wine (“oxos”) four times, but just before His death He did receive the wine. Had the previous Passover cup contained wine instead of “fruit of the vine” (grape juice), He would have broken His word not to drink of it again after the Passover and before the Kingdom.

Grape juice had to have been in the Passover cup. Pure, unadulterated “blood of the grape” is the only proper symbol for the pure, saving blood of Yahshua the Messiah in the Passover.

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The Timing of Passover

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One of the most contentious topics among True Worshipers is Yahweh’s calendar, especially as it applies to Passover. Because the first Biblical month is established at Passover, observing Passover in the correct month will help ensure that all the rest of the annual observances fall properly in the calendar year. One teaching says that we should use the vernal equinox in determining Passover. We discuss this issue beginning on page 10.

The Passover has been misconstrued since the time Judah and Benjamin were led away captive to Babylon. From that point in history the Passover has gone through various transformations. As Yahweh designed it, the Passover is a memorial (moed, appointed time) and separate from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but Judaism later combined the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread into one Feast and this has caused much of the problem among Feast keepers today.

Note what the Encyclopaedia Judaica says, “The feast of Passover consists of two parts: the Passover ceremony, and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined” (vol. 13, p. 169).

Ten specific passages relating to Passover have posed problems for Bible scholars and students alike. We will examine each of these. An important point to note: If our understanding does not correspond with the original standard given by Yahweh to Israel in the Old Testament, then it is erroneous. Many go wrong here—they fail to consider what Yahweh commanded in the Old Testament and apply those historical facts to the present. Let’s look at our first passage.

• “And ye shall keep it [the sacrifice] up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening” (Exodus 12:6, KJV).

The word “even” in Exodus 12:6 does not very accurately translate the original term. The Hebrew for the word “even” is ben ha arbayim, literally “between the two evenings.”

According to modern Jewish rabbis, “between the two evenings” indicates a time between noon and sunset. However, most scholars maintain that this phrase originally signified the time between sunset and complete darkness, which is about a 45-minute period. A number of modern translations interpret this Hebrew phrase as beginning at sunset or twilight, including: The New International Bible, Revised English Bible, New American Bible, New Jerusalem Bible, New King James Bible, James Moffatt Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Lamsa Bible, The Holy Scriptures (JPS), and the Jewish TANAKH.

Evidence shows that the Jews began only later to define this phrase as the time between noon and sunset. The Jerusalem Bible, in an Exodus 12:6 note, says: “Either between sunset and darkness (Samaritans) or between afternoon and sunset (Pharisees and Talmud). TheZondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance identifies this phrase as, “evening, twilight, dusk, the fading of the day; twilight can be extended to the dark of the night.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon agrees, noting, “between the two evenings, i.e. prob. between sunset and dark.” The Harper Collins Study Bible gives this explanation, “Twilight, lit. ‘between the two settings,’ apparently between sunset and the last of the residual light in the sky.” And The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says, “The phrase ‘in the evening’ [literally, ‘between the evenings’] means the period between sunset and darkness, ‘twilight’ (Ex. 12:6; KJV, ‘in the evening’).”

• “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:14, KJV).

Based on this verse, some Bible students believe that the Passover is a Sabbath and first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in which no work is permitted. The King James Bible is often difficult to understand and in some cases like this one offers a poor rendition of the original meaning. Notice that a semicolon separates “memorial” from the phrase, “and you shall keep it a feast to Yahweh…” as if they are two different observances. The word “it” is added (italicized), offering further evidence that the second phrase describes a Feast apart from the Passover.

The TANAKH seems to recognize this distinction, but renders Exodus 12:14 a bit differently, “This day shall be to you one of remembrance: You shall celebrate it as a festival to Yahweh throughout the ages…” The TANAKH says that we are to remember to observe the Passover “as” we might an annual feast, not that it is a feast. The annual feasts of Yahweh are to be observed on appointed times, and to neglect these feasts is to neglect the will of Yahweh.

For additional information on why Passover is not a high day or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, write for our comprehensive booklet, 10 Proofs Passover Is a Memorial, Not a High Day (no charge).

• “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even” (Exodus 12:18, KJV).

Those who advocate that the Passover is part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread often use this passage to show that both the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread begin on the 14th day of Abib and stop before the 21st day of Abib. The confusion lies in the word “until.”

The word until is translated from the Hebrew word “ad,” which can mean up to a particular point. This same word “ad” is found inExodus 12:6, which designates the day in which the Passover lamb was slaughtered. Exodus 12:6 says that the lamb was to be kept “until the fourteenth day” of Abib. In other words, the Passover lambs were kept up to the 14th day, and as the 14th day began the lambs were slaughtered.

In the Hebrew a word may have several different definitions or be used several different ways, and such is true for the word ad. The primitive root of ad is adah. Adah means to advance through or go through a certain point in time. Therefore, knowing that the Passover by Yahweh’s command is on the 14th day of Abib and that the Feast begins on the 15th (Lev. 23:5-6), we can conclude that in this verse the meaning from the root word “adah” is proper.

Another example of this usage of adah is found in Exodus 12:15, where Yahweh says that we are to eat unleavened bread “until” the seventh day. We know from Leviticus 23:6 that we are to eat unleavened bread for seven complete days during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, therefore showing that the word “ad” can mean the entire duration thereof. In this case, the Feast goes through the 21st, so that the Passover is not part of the seven days of the Feast.

• “Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left unto the morning” (Exodus 34:25, KJV).

The Authorized Version calls the Passover a “feast” in Exodus 34:25. The word “feast” as found in the King James and many other popular translations is from the Hebrew chag, which can mean either a feast or a type of sacrificial victim.

If we examine the context of Exodus 34:25 from the King James Bible, an inconsistency will be noticed. How can a feast be left “unto the morning”?

This poor rendition by King James translators, who did not keep the annual moedim, can be overcome by inserting the word victim instead of feast in Exodus 34:25. According to Exodus 12, the Passover lamb or victim was not to be left unto the morning. “And ye shall let nothing of it [Passover animal] remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire” (Exodus 12:10, KJV).

By delving into the Hebrew and understanding the events of the Passover, this particular verse is made clear. A better rendition ofExodus 34:25 can be found in the Schocken Bible – The Five Books of Moses: “…You are not to leave-overnight, until morning, the pilgrimage-offering of Passover.”

• “In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the Passover, a Feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten” (Ezekiel 45:21, KJV).

This is another verse used to support the idea that the Passover is part of a seven-day feast. What we must remember is that this is but one translation, and likely one of the most difficult translations to understand. We find an improved rendering of this verse from theTANAKH: “On the fourteenth day of the first month you shall have the Passover sacrifice; and during a festival of seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten.”

The TANAKH shows a distinct separation of the Passover from the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Ezekiel 45:21. The semicolon after the word “sacrifice” shows that the second thought is separate from the previous one. (Hebrew lacked punctuation, which was inserted later by translators.)

The TANAKH harmonizes with other passages telling us that the two observances are separate and come on different days (seeLev. 23:5-6 and Num. 28:16-17, each showing clearly that Passover is on the 14th, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th).

• “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be impaled” (Matthew 26:2, KJV).

This passage is cited by those who advocate that the Passover is a Sabbath or Feast. In all English versions of the Bible we have words that were added by the translators in an effort to clarify specific passages. Yet in some cases these words only confuse the issue and make the original meaning difficult.

The translators of the Kings James Bible added the word “feast” in Matthew 26:2. In some Bibles, like the KJV, this is indicated when the word is put in italics. The word “feast” is omitted from Matthew 26:2 in the New Revised Version, Revised English Bible, American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, World English Bible, New American Bible, Hebrew Names Version, New Jerusalem Bible, Young’s Literal Translation, New King James Version, New International Bible, and the Complete Jewish Bible.

• “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Yahshua, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?” (Matthew 26:17, KJV).

Matthew 26:17 is also used by those who think that the Passover is part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It should be first noted that the word “day” in Matthew 26:17 was added by KJV translators. So this passage, with the word “day” omitted, would read, “Now the first of the Feast of Unleavened Bread…”

There is yet another clarification to be made, and that is that the word “first” as found in the Authorized Version can be interpreted differently according to the Greek. The word “first” is from the Greek word “protos” and is explained by the Complete Word Study New Testament, “The superlative degree of pro (4253), before. First; used of time (John 5:4; 1 Cor. 15:45, 47; 2 Tim. 4:16;Rev. 1:11, 17; 2:8); former, before, in a comparative sense, as first is often used in Eng. (Luke 2:2; John 1:15, 30, 42; 8:58; 20:4, 8;1Cor. 14:30); or order or situation (Acts 16:12); of dignity, first, chief, principle.”

The Greek protos signifies an order of events, and more precisely it indicates whether an event is before or concurrent with another. We know by the Old Testament command of Yahweh (Lev. 23:5-6) that the Passover was originally separate from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and only later did the Jews combine it with the Feast.

Knowing this fact, Matthew 26:17 should more accurately be translated, “Now before [Gk. protos] the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Yahshua, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?” The Passover cannot be the first day of the Feast because the first day is a high day and no preparation work would be allowed—including purchasing unleavened bread. It was on the Passover that the disciples assumed that Judas was going to purchase Feast supplies, John 13:29, an assumption they never would have made had Passover been a High Day of the Feast.

Some believe that Yahshua ate only what the Jews call a seder that Passover night, but in Matthew 26:18 Yahshua plainly said that He would keep the Passover at a certain house with His disciples.

According to Yahweh’s law, if a person neglects to partake of the Passover, he will be cut off. “But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbears to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of Yahweh in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin” (Numbers 9:13). Yahshua obviously understood this law, and would by all means comply with the command to observe the Passover.

If Yahshua had neglected that last Passover, as some suppose, our Savior would have committed a sin and would Himself have been cut off! The Scripture confirms that He was sinless, 1Peter 2:22, and consequently we also know that He kept the Passover according to the law.

• “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover” (Luke 22:1, KJV).

Note the phrase, “which is called the Passover.” At that time there were two major Jewish sects, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Historically it is known that the Pharisees kept the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as one single Feast, just as modern Judaism does today, while the Sadducess kept two separate observances: the Passover on the fourteenth and the Feast of Unleavened on the fifteenth day of Abib. It is also widely known that while the Pharisees placed more authority on their own rabbinical teachings (Talmud) than they did on the Scriptures, the Sadducees accepted the Torah as their only source of truth.

Knowing that these differences existed when Luke wrote his Evangel, it is no wonder that he wrote “which is called the Passover.” There were those who kept the Passover as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Revised English Bible perhaps delivers a clearer interpretation than the Authorized Version: “The festival of Unleavened Bread, known as Passover, was approaching.” It is clear that Luke is not stating that the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread are the same Feast, but that some considered the Feast the Passover, no doubt because the one came immediately after the other.

• “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed” (Luke 22:7, KJV).

Here is another passage that appears to be stating that the Passover lamb was slaughtered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. To discern the original intent of this specific passage, an understanding of the Greek is essential. The Greek word for “day” in the above passage is hemera. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible offers the following definition: “…the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole 24 hours…fig. a period (always defined more or less clearly by the context).” Strong’s offers two different definitions for the Greek hemera — either as a literal 24-hour span or figuratively as a period that is normally defined by the context of the passage.

We know from the Old Testament and Yahweh’s instructions that the Passover was separate from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, therefore, we know that the Passover lambs were not slaughtered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In addition, we also know that it was during the period of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that the Passover lambs were killed. Just as people today refer to the Passover by simply saying the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Luke does the same by stating, “Then came the hemera [period] of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.”

• “And it was the third hour, and they impaled him” (Mark 15:25, KJV).

Many believe that Yahshua was impaled at 9:00 a.m., but according to John, Yahshua was not yet convicted by that time: “And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!” (John 19:14). According to John, Yahshua was convicted about the sixth hour, which would be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. How could He be impaled before being sentenced?

In addition, Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44 all state that there was darkness over the land from the sixth to the ninth hour. The fact is, no other passage referring to Yahshua’s impalement mentions the third hour. Mark 15:25 has offered a challenge to Biblical scholars from the start.

There are two possible explanations for this inconsistency. The first requires some background on how the Jews defined day and night hours. They broke both the day and night into four equal parts of three hours each: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m; 9:00 a.m. to noon; noon to 3:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Mark could have possibly been using the Jewish method of calculating time in Mark 15:25.

According to the Commentary on the New Testament, “Mark divides the day into four quarters as he does the night; the second quarter, from nine in the morning until midday, he names after the hour with which it begins; hence, our L-rd was condemned by Pilate and crucified shortly before midday” (p. 224).

We can conclude that Yahshua was convicted roughly before noon, impaled shortly thereafter, and died at 3:00 p.m.

The other explanation is that the word “third” in Mark 15:25 could be a mistranslation. In ancient texts, numbers are often represented with letters. If this were the case in Mark 15:25, it is quite possible that a mistranslation could have occurred due to the similarities between the Greek letters that represent the numbers six and nine. We may never know exactly what time of day Yahshua was convicted and impaled, but we do know that according to three of the Evangels that these events occurred from the sixth to the ninth hour — noon to 3 p.m.

Equinox or Barley?

All of Yahweh’s seven annual Feasts or moedim (appointments) revolve around the harvest cycle of grains and other produce. This is clear with the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, which occur at the barley harvest (Ex. 9:31, Deut. 16:9).

These observances are followed by the Feast of Firstfruits, also known as Pentecost in the New Testament. This special time occurs seven weeks after Unleavened Bread and represents the firstfruits of the wheat harvest made into two loaves of bread that were waved (presented before Yahweh, Lev. 23:17). Then in the seventh month we come to the Feast of Tabernacles, otherwise known as the “Feast of Ingathering” (Ex. 23:16). Tabernacles represents the general harvest at the close of the growing cycle when everything is “gathered in”— from grains to vegetables, melons, nuts, and fruit.

Clearly, the various harvests are central to Yahweh’s Feasts. The harvests prophetically point to the harvest of souls in Yahweh’s great salvation plan — from the firstfruits, which represent His elect people in the first resurrection, to the general harvest of souls after the Millennium.

Even the first month of the sacred year is named Abib, which in Hebrew means “tender, green ears.” The “ears” refer to barley grain in the ear of the stock, the only grain mature enough at the time of the Passover to be green and in the head. Exodus 9:31 reads, “And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled” [bolled=podded, No. 1392, Heb.gibol]. “32: But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.” Therefore, Yahweh says, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you,” Exodus 12:2. “This day came you out in the month Abib,” Exodus 13:4.

The state of the crops, especially the barley and flax, is the only criterion that Yahweh gives for establishing the timing of the first month of the year. Nothing in the Bible explains how to establish the first month of the year in any other fashion than the developing green ears of barley.

In the spirit of maturing crops, we are to establish and observe the first month – when the barley grain is green, Leviticus 23:14 (note the words “parched,” meaning roasted, and “green”). Baking or parching the green barley dried it. This was not ripe, dry barley, it was young and green barley. We cannot establish Abib if the barley head is not developed or if the barley seed is dry, ripe, golden and ready to harvest; by then it is too late. The barley must be green and this occurs at a specific time in a specific month.

Where Do We Look?

Can we look at the barley crop growing in our own vicinity to establish Abib? We will find a difference in maturity of several weeks between barley ripening in southern Texas and barley growing in North Dakota. Therefore, the timing of Abib could vary widely depending on where one lives. Ostensibly, believers living at different latitudes could follow calendars that differ by a month or two if one goes by the local barley crop.

The only way to reconcile this discrepancy in growing seasons is to look at the barley that is grown in or around Israel. And that makes perfect sense, because it was to people living in that area of the world that Yahweh gave the command during the green ear month of Abib to keep the Passover and Feast. It is that area of the world that will give us the proper and accurate time based on the barely growing there when Yahweh commanded Israel to keep the first month.

Interestingly, barley originated in the Mediterranean region. How appropriate, then, that we look at the barley growing in the Middle East, and not barley grown in North Dakota, Texas, Australia or somewhere else to establish Abib.

The law provides that the wave sheaf be of the firstfruits of barley. Whatever barley field produced first, from that crop the wave sheaf was taken. Once the wave sheaf was offered to Yahweh, the harvest could begin. Harvesting of barley takes place in early April near Jericho. Abib barley has been reported by the middle of March in the Middle East.

The explanation of why only the barley and flax were damaged by the plague of hail in Egypt (Ex. 9:31) brings up an important point many miss: “…for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.” “Bolled” is from the Hebrew gibol and means swollen, podded, in the bud. Therefore, one could use the flax plant as a second confirmation for the month of Abib by examining whether it is in the pod at that time.

Why Not Use the Equinox?

Some ignore barley altogether and set Abib 1 according to the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox is that instant when the sun is positioned directly over the earth’s equator in its yearly migration from south to north. It is the time that astronomers define as the beginning of spring when days and nights are equal in length. (Yet there are still several days difference between equal night and day at the equator and equal night and day in the northern hemisphere where Israel and the U.S. are located.)

Those who employ the vernal equinox point to Genesis 1:14, claiming that the sun, moon, and stars set the Feasts. It is true that the sun divides day from night and brings about the seasons, while the new moon sets the beginning of months. Nowhere in the entire Bible, however, can one find where the vernal equinox establishes Abib, nor is there one verse referring to the vernal equinox.

The King James Version has led some astray in the way it translates moed in Exodus 13:10, Num. 9:2, 3, 7, and 13. The KJV uses “season” in these verses, causing some to believe that the command is specifically for a spring season Passover, and therefore must involve the vernal equinox. In reality, the Hebrew moed simply means “set time” or “appointed time.” Yahweh has set Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread by crop growth, not by a man-made definition for when spring beings (the equinox).

Passover is related to spring only through the growing cycle of crops. First and foremost, it must occur in the month of Abib. Abib itself hinges on the condition of grain, not a season.

Equinox and Historic Paganism

When the Roman church deliberately acted to separate Easter from Passover, it ruled in 325 CE in the Council of Nicaea that Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. This setting of an observance was entirely man-made, and appropriately applied to a similarly man-made holiday called Easter.

The Roman church, acting on its own authority, bestowed a legitimacy to the vernal equinox as a calendar marker even though it lacks such in a Biblical context. That does not mean, however, that the vernal equinox had no significance among historic pagans and their calendars. (See more about this on our Web page at yrm.org)

Tequphah’ Is not the Equinox

The argument has been attempted that the vernal equinox corresponds to the Hebrew word “tequphah,” which is found four times in the Bible. The definition of tequphah (Strong’s Concordance No. 8622) is: “A revolution, i.e. of the sun course (of time) lapse: circuit, come about, end.” From the definition, we find it next to impossible to attach any certain connection of tequphah to a spring equinox. The evidence, in fact, points to the end of the year, not the beginning.

The following passages contain the Hebrew word tequphah as well as its meaning, as indicated by the quotation marks:

Exodus 34:22 (Feast of ingathering at the “year’s end”)

2Chron. 24:23 (Syria attacked Judah at the “end of the year”)

2Chronicles. 24:23; 36:10 (“end of the year/year was expired”)

Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon defines the tequphah (Strong’s No. 8622) as: “coming round, circuit;—Ex. 34:22, adv., at the circuit (completion) of the year, so 2Chron. 24:23= pl. cstr. 1Sam. 1:20; sig. Sf. Of finished circuit of sun.” p. 880

This lexicon says about the root of tequphah: “No. 5362 naqaph: 1. An intransitive verb meaning to surround something… (Isa. 29:1, let feasts go around, i.e. run the round (of the year). 2. make the round, i.e. complete the circuit. Job 1:5 when the days of feasting had completed their circuit.”

The closest we have in the Bible to spring as a season is 6779, tsamach, a primitive root meaning to sprout, bear, bring forth, bud, grow, cause to spring (forth, up). The Bible’s “spring” is determined by crops, not by solar positioning.

Yahweh’s Feasts are agricultural in nature. It is this fact that binds them to the Biblical theme of salvation through the spiritually maturing and “harvesting” of souls for the Kingdom, which will occur when the angels come to weed out the tares and gather the elect for the Kingdom, Matthew 13:30. May you be counted among the good produce at that final harvest for Yahweh’s Kingdom because you were obedient in all things.

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When to Observe the Passover

Answering the questions about what time of day to observe the Passover Memorial, whether Passover is the 14th or 15th of Abib, and whether or not Yahshua Himself observed the Passover memorial before He died

The root meaning of “Passover” (Hebrew Pacach, Strong’s No. 6452) is to “hop, skip over.” Its name is derived from the death angel’s “passing over” the homes of the Israelites on the 14th at midnight, Exodus 12:29. The Passover memorial and subsequent applying of the protective blood to the homes of the Israelites was observed at dusk prior to the angel’s passing over. Here is confirmation of these facts from the Scriptures.

A key passage to knowing the time of Passover is Deuteronomy 16:6: “But at the place which [Yahweh your Elohim] shall choose to place his name in, there you shall sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”

The time of year the Passover was observed was Abib, the month of green ears of barley, Deuteronomy 16:1. “Going down” of the sun is the Hebrew bow. This key Hebrew word shows what time of day the Passover memorial is to be taken. “At even” is the Hebrew ben ha arbayim meaning between the evenings or between sunset and dark. We will look at the meaning of the Hebrew bowfirst.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew Dictionary shows the meaning of bow (935): to go in, enter, come, go, come in. It means the sun as it goes down into the horizon.

The following verses illustrate the translation of the Hebrew word bow. These passages confirm that bow means at sunset or when the sun goes into the horizon, according to Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon:

Genesis 15:12, the sun was about to set, and verse 17; when the sun set;

Genesis 28:11, the sun had set;

Exodus 17:12, until the sun set;

Exodus 22:26, before the sun sets;

Leviticus 22:7, as soon as the sun sets;

Deuteronomy 23:11, at sundown; 24:13, at sun down; 24:15, same day before the sun sets;

Joshua 8:29, at sunset; 10:13, did not press on to set – [hasted not to go down]; 10:27, at sunset;

Judges 19:14, the sun set;

2Samuel 2:24, the sun was setting.

Note that the lamb was to kept UNTIL the fourteenth (“until” is the Hebrew “ad,” meaning “as far as,” “even unto,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance No. 5704). According to the preposition, it was not to be kept up to the END of the fourteenth, but up to the BEGINNING of the fourteenth.

Here is how various translations render Deuteronomy 16:6:

New American Standard

“But at the place where [Yahweh your Elohim] chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt.”

New Revised Standard

“But at the place that [Yahweh your Elohim] will choose as a dwelling for his name, only there shall you offer the passover sacrifice,in the evening at sunset, the time of day when you departed from Egypt.”

Complete Jewish Bible

“But at the place where [Yahweh your Elohim] will choose to have his name live – there is where you are to sacrifice the Pesach offering, in the evening, when the sun sets, at the time of year that you came out of Egypt.”

The Bible in Basic English

“But in the place marked out by [Yahweh your Elohim] as the resting-place of his name, there you are to put the Passover to death in the evening, at sundown, at that time of the year when you came out of Egypt.”

New King James Version

“But at the place where [Yahweh your Elohim] chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.”

Young’s Literal Translation

“Except at the place which [Yahweh your Elohim] doth choose to cause His name to tabernacle — there thou dost sacrifice the passover in the evening, at the going in of the sun, the season of thy coming out of Egypt.”

NIV

“There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.”

Tanak  “But at this place where [Yahweh] your Elohim will choose to establish His  name, there alone shall you slaughter the Passover sacrifice, in the evening, at   sundown, the time of day when you departed from Egypt.”

James Moffatt on Exodus 12:6:  “But you must keep it till the fourteenth day of the same month, when every  member of the community of Israel shall kill it between sunset and dark.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible   “You must only sacrifice the Passover animal at the place where [Yahweh your  Elohim] chooses to have His name dwell. [Do this] in the evening as the sun sets at the [same] time [of day] you departed from Egypt.”

(NOTE: These Bible translators had no doctrinal agenda to promote or gain in their translation of this verse. They simply translated the Hebrew in the clearest, most precise way they could.)

Leviticus 23:5 reads, “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s passover.”

The word even is the Hebrew ereb = even (6150) rendered “evening, night, sunset” (Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon. It is translated thusly = “even” 72 times, “evening” 47 times, “night” 4 times)

Hebrew scholars confirm that ben ha arbayim means dusk, twilight:

Ben Yehudah’s English and Hebrew Dictionary, page 98, says “dusk” is English for the Hebrew phrase “beyn-ha-arbayim.”

J.H. Hertz, a Jewish commentator who edited the Pentateuch and Haftorah, translated “between the two evenings” as “dusk,” inLeviticus 23:5, Exodus 12:6, Numbers 9:1 and 11.

The Jewish Family Bible according to the Masoretic text (editors Rabbi Morris A. Gutstein, Ph.D., D.H.L. and Rabbi David Gravbart D.D., Ph.D.) translates “between the two evenings” as “dusk.”

Dictionaries define dusk as the time after sunset and before total darkness:

Oxford English Dictionary (OED): dusk = “dark from the absence of light. The dark stage of twilight before it is quite dark at night; to become dim, grow dark.”

Dusk is synonymous with twilight:

OED: twilight = “The light diffused by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere before sunrise and after sunset.”

The Sadducees, the Karaites, and Samaritans, who were in charge of temple worship, observed Passover at sunset at the start of the 14th, not mid-afternoon of the 14th. The Pharisees later changed the Passover to the 15th, adding many other non-scriptural traditions the rabbinical Jews still follow today.

The Interpreter’s Bible confirms that the Hebrew expression, “ben-ha-arbayim” has been reinterpreted by the Jews, revealing that the rabbinical teaching of from noon onward is a newer teaching. Notice: “The usage of the time referring to that after sunset and before darkness is the older practice,” page 919.

When the Spoiling of the Egyptians Occurred

The people were not told to spoil the Egyptians until just before the last plague fell, as we read in Exodus 11:1-2:

And [Yahweh] said to Moses, I will bring but one more plague upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt; after that he shall let you go from here; indeed, when he lets you go, he will drive you out of here one and all. Tell the people to borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, object of silver and gold.”

This is the first time that Moses is allowed to tell the entire congregation of Israel that they are to spoil the Egyptians. Moses told only the elders of Yahweh’s plan before this time, Exodus 3:16, 22. Later, the King James reads, “Speak now in the ears of the people…Exodus 11:2. Up to this point Moses had not made this known, but now—just before Passover—the people shall learn that they are to borrow from the Egyptians.

Passover is on the 14th, Feast of Unleavened Bread is on the 15th—two separate observances

*Passover is SPECIFICALLY commanded as the 14th of Abib: Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3,5, 11; 28:16; 2Chron. 30:15; Ezra 6:19;Josh. 5:10

*Feast of Unleavened Bread is SPECIFICALLY commanded as the 15th of Abib: Lev. 23:6; Num. 28:17

A revealing admission is found in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 13, article “Passover,” page 169: “The feast of Passover consists of two parts: namely, Passover ceremony, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but the beginning of the exile they were combined.”

The Jewish Encyclopedia on page 553, dealing with Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread, says, “Two festivals, originally distinct, have become merged.”

Hastings Bible Dictionary says on page 686, article “Passover,” “Passover is always carefully distinguished from mazzoth [unleavened], which begins on the following day.” Hastings points out that each constitutes a separate observance, each on an entirely different day.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, page 729, article, “Passover, “ states:“Originally, both were separate feasts…”

Yahshua ate the Passover with His Disciples at the start of the 14th  exactly as the Law mandated, or else He risked being “cut off”:

“On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to [Yahshua], saying, Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover? He said Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, The Teacher says, ‘My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples,’” Matthew 26:17-18 NRSV.

The parallel account in Mark reads, “The Teacher asks, where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples…Make preparations for us there, Mark 14:14-15.

Luke 22:7 quotes the Messiah saying to Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” To the owner of the house they are to ask, “The Teacher asks you, ‘where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’” NRSV.

Later we are told in Matthew 26:20-21 at evening Yahshua took His place with the twelve, “and while they were eating…” Verse 26 again reveals,” While they were eating” NRSV

Mark 14:18 reads, “And when they had taken their places and were eating, [Yahshua] said, Truly I tell you, one of you will betray Me who is eating with me.” Mark 14:20 reveals, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowwl with me.” NRSV

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Sabbath and Holy Days

Many who keep the seventh-day Sabbath have a problem with observing the annual Feasts of Leviticus 23. The world’s largest Sabbath-observing church has no trouble recognizing the necessity for keeping the weekly Sabbath, but it chooses to ignore the other Biblical Sabbaths – Yahweh’s annual holy days. This is not only illogical but also unscriptural.

When Yahweh reintroduced His observances to mankind in Leviticus 23, He began by saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts,” verse 2. In this chapter He details all seven annual Feast days, calling them “His,” not “Jewish.” But notice what comes first, at the start of this discourse: “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of Yahweh in all your dwellings.” Then in verse 4 He continues the mandate by detailing the annual Feasts.

In this 23rd chapter the weekly Sabbath day as well as the annual Sabbaths are given to us in a single package. All are integrated under the phrase “feasts of Yahweh.” They are all listed as Yahweh’s unified command in this chapter and others and are all to be kept by the True Worshiper. To wrench the weekly Sabbath loose from the other Sabbaths and say that it is the only observance necessary today is to violate plain, Scriptural command. Revelation 22:19 warns not to take away the words from the Book and that is essentially what has been done by those who teach obedience only to the weekly Sabbath and not the annual Sabbaths.

Some may reason that because animal sacrifices are not required on the Holy Days, having been abolished, that the Holy Days themselves have been eliminated. But sacrifices were required on the weekly Sabbath as well. By that same logic the weekly Sabbath is no longer binding, either (see Num. 28:9-11). We know that this thinking is in error for another reason. We see the weekly Sabbath and the annual Feasts being observed in the New Testament by both Yahshua and the Apostles, even after His death (seeMark 6:2; Luke 23:56Acts 13:14; 16:13; 24:11; 1Cor. 5:7-9).

To confirm the importance of the Sabbaths for today, the Scriptures teach that both the weekly and annual Sabbaths will be enforced in the coming millennial Kingdom – see Isaiah 66:23-24; Hosea 12:9; Zechariah 14:16-18; Ezekiel 44:23-24; 45:21, 25; and 46:3, 9.

The four annual Sabbaths of the seventh month have not yet been fulfilled prophetically. These are known in order of appearance as: Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and Last Great Day. Each gives us insights into what to expect in the time immediately ahead of us. The Apostle wrote in Colossians 2:16-17: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body of Messiah.”  This passage tells us that these days foreshadow what is coming. A shadow often arrives before the object casting it does, and that is the significance of this metaphor. Only the Body of Messiah has the right to judge a person’s observance of Yahweh’s Feasts because the Body should be observing them correctly.

To what prophetic event does each Feast specifically refer?

The return of Yahshua to earth is announced by a trumpet blast, 1Thessalonians 4:16. The Feast of Trumpets is a day of blowing  trumpets, which were traditionally used to call people together, Numbers 10. We read that Yahshua will gather His elect from the four winds of the earth at His return, Matthew 24:31. The Day of Atonement corresponds to the establishment of Yahshua as our High Priest come to earth from the heavenly Holy of Holies where He has been the past 2,000 years.  This day reminds us of the great price Yahshua paid for our sins by His death.

Tabernacles points to the millennial rule of Yahshua on earth following His return.  It is a Feast of seven days spent learning what that Kingdom will be like. At this annual Sabbath we come out of the world and taste a new world where Yahweh’s righteous standards will be in full force and all people being compliant. The temporary shelters we live in at Tabernacles teach us that we are only temporarily in this present world, which is not our true home.

The Last Great Day is a separate Feast where Yahshua finishes His work and turns all authority and power on earth over to His Father. It is a picture of post-millennial earth and a time when Yahweh will bring His own throne to the planet in the New Jerusalem,1Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 21.

The Feasts and weekly Sabbath stand or fall together. To take one without the other is to leave out half the Truth of Yahweh’s Word.

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Compelling Reasons to Keep the Feasts Today

The typical reason many study the seven annual Feasts of the Bible is to wonder at the curiosities of days gone by. For most the intent is not to inquire into keeping the Feasts. Rather, it’s more about what quaint tidbits that can be picked up about “Jewish” worship.

Almost universally ignored is that the Feasts were strictly observed in BOTH testaments. The Feasts were kept by our Savior throughout His lifetime and followed by a faithful observance of all His apostles after His death, including Paul. These days will also be enforced on the pain of plague in the coming Kingdom. These facts alone should convince even the staunch skeptic that there is great importance in these days.

Most think we are in a kind of donut hole today where there is nothing to do or follow, just believe.

If you really want to be blessed by your Creator Yahweh, just do what His Son did. Follow everything He taught and practiced. If you do, you will find that He also kept the seven annual observances with His family as a child and afterward as an adult.

Feasts’ Amazing Milestones

Most all the major events in the life and ministry of Yahshua revolved around Yahweh’s annual observances. That is one of the most profound and well-concealed revelations of the ages.

In fact, Yahshua was very likely born on one of them (Tabernacles), died on another (Passover – while not a Feast, this is one of Yahweh’s annual observances) and was resurrected three days later during yet another Feast (Unleavened Bread). The Holy Spirit was sent on still another Feast (Pentecost) and Yahshua may return at the Feast called Trumpets. These profound truths should shake every Bible believer to the core of his beliefs. With so much significance for us today, how can anyone ignore the Feasts ofLeviticus 23?

These are the only yearly holy days decreed in Scripture. No other annual observances are commanded in your Bible. In fact, Yahweh directs us not to observe other days. “Hear ye the word which Yahweh speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good,” Jeremiah 10:1-5.

According to the “it’s only for Israel” group, nothing in the Old Testament is for us today.

Therefore we must be consistent. If the biblical Feast days are only for the ancient house of Israel, then this command would only apply to them as well. We today should be conscience-free to learn and practice all the ways of the heathen. We can worship Dagon and Moloch and Vishnu, and Buddha. Now we can bring trees into the house, adore them and place gift offerings beneath them.

If the Old Testament is only for Israel, then this warning and all others against false worship also apply only to Israel.

Of course, that is not the case. The Bible is a consistent unit, teaching the same salvation message anciently as it does today.

By the way, the term holiday is a contraction of the Old English haligdæg or “holy day/Sabbath.” Holiday means a holy Sabbath.

Why don’t today’s mainstream “holidays” live up to their name by being observed as holy, Sabbath days? Maybe they should be called something else, like “pointless practices” or “superficial superstitions.” Either would be far more fitting.

Even though the world has concocted its own annual observances, only the yearly Feast days of Scripture are holy, and only the COMMANDED celebrations encompass Sabbaths and impart deep, spiritual blessings on the faithful who observe them.

Is it any wonder that man’s observances typically end in a big letdown?

When you follow the ways of Scripture there are always benefits from obedience. Yahweh guarantees it.

If that weren’t enough, just a brief analysis of these special celebrations will deliver up a bounty of insights on a number of key, biblical teachings.

Feasts Full of Fundamentals

First, Yahweh’s holidays reveal the important work of the priesthood, while pointing to the ongoing work of the Messiah Yahshua, today’s High Priest.

Second, they show us proper worship through the scores of lessons they teach.

Third, opening the way to physical life for the people in the Old Testament, today they point to everlasting life for those in the New through their New Covenant lessons.

The Feast days not only encapsulate the plan of salvation, but by keeping them as part of an obedient life, the seeker of Truth will also find the path to everlasting life.

It is no secret that the Father in heaven demands obedience while punishing disobedience. It is a fact in BOTH testaments. He says in Malachi 3:6, “I change not.” What He demanded of Israel He demands of the True Worshiper now. The statutes of old remain active statutes today.

Yahshua plainly and clearly said He did not come to destroy them in Matthew 5:17. Rather, He said He came to establish them. He came to reveal their GREATER importance. He came to reveal their great spiritual side as well.

Understanding the significance of the Feast days in the whole plan of Scripture, it is nothing short of incredible that the Bible’s only yearly holidays have been glossed over for centuries, or simply brushed off as “just for Jews.”

But if they were just Jewish holidays, why was Israel commanded to keep them? The fact is the Jews or Judah made up only one of the 12 tribes of Israel. A common mistake is to interchange the terms “Jews” and “Israel” as if they were the same thing. All Jews were Israelites, but not all Israelites were Jews. In fact, only a fraction of Israelites were Jews.

The Jews were just a part of the greater family of patriarch Jacob, whose name became Israel when he wrestled with that angel. The angel finally decided that the man wasn’t going to give up so he blessed him. That is why his name means, “Contender with Elohim.”

Almighty Yahweh says about His Feast days in Leviticus 23:1-2: “And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” Why didn’t He call them, “feasts of the Jews”? Because they belong to Him and were not “owned” by the Jews nor were they exclusive with them.

Keep them, He said, because they are sanctified gatherings. Being that they are His should be reason enough for those who desire a close relationship with the Father in heaven to include these days as a central part of their worship.

Anyone serious about their eternal future needs to look into the clear necessity to keep the Bible’s seven annual observances called Yahweh’s Feasts. We cannot blaze our own trail to the Kingdom. Yahweh Himself set down the only road to salvation and we His worshipers need to be faithful in following it, not widen the narrow way and add alternative routes as we see fit.

The word feast is related to festival. The root of festival means to celebrate a religious holy day.

These seven annual observances of the Bible are packed with significance and are crucial for today’s worship in a number of ways.

Each of the Feasts marks a milestone in biblical teaching. Beyond that, they are historical and prophetic markers, as key events occurred on them and will happen again as we near the close of the age.

If you know the meaning of each Feast and the significance of its teachings, then you have the true key to the timetable of the Savior’s return and the close of this age.

Yahweh’s Feasts reveal the special blueprint plan for His people and ultimately, and this is quintessential, they impact salvation itself. Can you name any other observances that reveal so much Truth as Yahweh’s annual moedim?

Yahshua the Messiah is clearly seen in every one of the annual holy days. If all of this is not enough to fire your interest and desire for His Feasts, Yahweh Himself comes right out and commands the truth seeker to observe His Feast days.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons,” Leviticus 23:2, 4.

If you want blessings, keep the days Yahweh commands. Nothing on earth is more important than to receive the rewards that come with obedience to your Father in heaven.

Some may still say these observances are for ancient Israel and not for them. If so, then the entire Bible is meant for someone else, seeing these Feasts are in both testaments for Israel and gentile alike. They were observed by the apostles long after Yahshua died. He never abolished them or His Father’s laws.

Others may say they just don’t have the time or means to keep them, but they have no trouble finding the time and means to keep superficial worldly holidays every year, not to mention the man-made observances that lack any blessings like the Feast days.

Agriculture Themes Are Key

To lay some groundwork in the basic understanding of these days, we must start with fundamentals.

Our word month and the word moon derive from the same source word. That’s why “month” sounds like “moon.” At one time the moon was used to establish the start of every month. Now it floats all over our modern wall calendars. But Yahweh’s biblical calendar still begins the months with the moon. Namely, the visible new moon crescent, which marks the first day of the biblical month.

In addition to the moon, the Bible’s calendar is also agriculturally based. The creation of man was in the garden called Eden. The word Eden, actually pronounced “Aden” in Hebrew, means, “delight, luxury, pleasure.” It was literally a paradise until sin entered the picture. Prophecy in Micah 4:3-4 indicates that those in the millennial Kingdom will return to an agricultural lifestyle as the intended environment for man.

“And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts hath spoken it.”

The agriculture theme is prominent and central in the Bible. Firstfruits of the harvest translate to firstfruits of the spiritual harvest of souls. This speaks to the first resurrection, where those relatively few who are faithful and obedient now will rise to meet the returning Savior. The Bible’s sacred calendar is based on the growing patterns and harvest cycles with the greening of the barley crop to establish the first month called Abib.

The feast days continue with this motif with harvesting of souls.

With all of the importance in the Bible’s annual observances, it is mindboggling that these scripturally mandated, yearly holidays have been totally ignored by New Testament believers for millennia, and replaced by observances that are far more secular than religious. Which will you choose: secular or religious? Blessings or no blessings; obedience to the Father in heaven or disobedience?

Trivial Pursuits

In the grand picture, this world is nothing but a striving after wind and for that which will tarnish and perish.

If there is any one word that best summarizes our physical existence, it’s “temporary.” You can be consumed all your life in a quest for status, and advancement, but at retirement it all comes into focus. You may enjoy it for a brief few years, and then comes the Alzheimers or the stroke or the heart attack. And you give it all up for a life of convalescent living and looking at what comes next…

I’d far rather have Yahweh smiling back at me for a life lived in obedience than staring at a reward of pitch blackness of eternal death when my day comes.

Whatever rewards our life earns us, it will be for an eternity. What we do here in obedience is setting the permanent mold for what we will do or not do in the coming kingdom.

They Are YAHWEH’S Feasts

Someone once asked a minister the following:

“Some Christians are keeping the Holy Days; Feast of Atonement, Unleavened Bread, Trumpets, Tabernacles, and are claiming real blessings from [Yahweh] as a result. Should we be keeping [Yahweh’s]Holy Days as a way of drawing closer to Him and worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth?”

The minister wrote back:

“Thank you for your question. There are indeed some who are advocating that Christians return to their Jewish roots and start keeping the feast days. They teach that by doing this you will be blessed by [Yahweh]. However, it is important to base what we believe upon the teachings of Scripture and not on personal testimony or experiences.

“Is it scriptural that Christians are to keep the Jewish festivals of the Old Testament in order to worship Him in spirit and in truth, obtain His blessings, and have the Spirit move in our lives? Let’s let the scriptures answer for themselves.

Leviticus 23:2 reads, ‘Say to the Israelites, the set feasts or appointed seasons of [Yahweh] which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, even My set feasts, are these…’

Leviticus 23:37 tells us, ‘These are the set feasts or appointed seasons of [Yahweh], which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to present an offering made by fire to [Yahweh], a burnt offering and a cereal offering, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its own day.

Leviticus 23 records seven feasts or appointed seasons of [Yahweh] in which the Israelites would gather to meet with [Yahweh]. Notice that they were to be for the Israelites to keep. There isn’t any mention of the Gentiles being required to observe these feasts.”

First, he ignores the clear statement that these are Yahweh’s Feasts, not Israel’s or Jewish Feasts.

Yahweh told Israel that His laws are an ordinance forever. So is this what you have: Israel, commanded to keep the Feasts even today, running on a parallel track with gentiles who don’t have that requirement? Is Yahweh the same yesterday, today and forever? According to Malachi 3:6 He is. He does not have a double standard for different people.

Note how the minister continues: “These were the seven feasts that [Yahweh] gave the Israelites, His chosen people, to keep in the Law of Moses. These feasts were not optional. They were part of the Law [Yahweh] gave the nation of Israel. Blessings only came by keeping the entire law (Deut. 15:4-5). If you broke any part of it, you broke it all (James 2:10; Gal. 3:10).”

He is absolutely correct. Consider this, there are lots of ways you can fall off a roof. Your ladder can slip as you reach the top; you can trip and roll off; you can lose your balance and go down headlong. No matter how it happens, you are going down.

Breaking any law of Yahweh is still breaking law and carries the penalty of punishment. Any disobedience still violates Yahweh’s command. It all falls under the category of sin.

Few would ever even think of murdering or stealing, but by not following Yahweh’s commands regarding His Sabbath and Feasts, His law is still violated, regardless.

Paul wrote in Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.” The last part of this verse is rendered by the New Testament in Modern English as: “indeed it is the straightedge of the Law that shows how crooked we are.”

To correct that situation we need to straighten out, and that can only mean to align with Yahweh’s law. First, acknowledge the consequence of your sin, stop sinning, and become law-obedient.

But What of My Relatives?

We ran across a letter someone had written in an effort to excuse herself from Feast keeping. Her reasoning is all too common with those who can’t break themselves free of entrapment by unenlightened relatives.

“It would be lovely for me to be able to keep the proper biblical Feasts, however I live with a family who always celebrate the “church” events such as Easter, Christmas, etc., and it would be very hurtful to them if I suddenly dropped out of family celebrations. So I try to commemorate the biblical feasts, whilst at the same time joining in with the other stuff. It isn’t easy, but it would be very hurtful to not celebrate with my lovely family.”

The pressures that a believer’s relatives can exert are among the most powerful and seductive deterrents to the Truth that most truth seekers will ever face. We see it all the time: the husband who defers to the wishes of an unbelieving wife even though He knows he must follow his Savior when it comes to Sabbath and Feast keeping.

This is just what Yahshua meant when He said He didn’t come to make everything peaceful. To defer to spouse or relatives when it comes to obedience to the Word is to turn one’s back on Yahshua and accept error over Truth. He said in Matthew 10:35-37: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Who are you willing to offend most? Family or Yahshua? Is your salvation worth the risk? Once you understand the truth you are then accountable to walk in it. The unenlightened are not at the same level of understanding, where Yahweh demands we make hard choices. At the same time you teach by what you do.

The broad superhighway that leads to destruction is the way of the Adversary. This is his world. Why stay lodged therein when Yahweh opens the way of truth to you? Is it our goal to make the ignorant comfortable in error, or is it to show them the way of Truth and salvation out of genuine love for them?

Many will only dabble in the truth for fear of what their spouse or family will say if they went wholeheartedly into Truth. The reaction of others should not be our concern.

Yahweh is calling YOU right now. He is the one separating you out. Being afraid of what relatives may say is only frustrating what Yahweh is trying to do with you. Let Him work with the rest of your family in His own time. Your time is now, so don’t let anyone hijack it.

Yahweh hates a lukewarm attitude that tries to please everyone by condoning sin. This walk of Truth is not for the weak of heart or passive of will. Take a bold stand and see how your own resolve will influence others to be obedient to the Word in all things as well.

Watch the “Prophetic Feasts Part 1” below:

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

The Spirit of Pentecost

Not even movie script writers could come up with a more awesome concept. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost entails Yahweh’s plan to “harvest” a specially chosen people from this earth ostensibly to sit in future rulership of the planet under Yahshua the Messiah.

The objective of the saints is to fulfill the grand plan by being part of that harvest. Their command and desire is to be “holy to Yahweh,” the same message emblazoned across the miter of the high priest. A kingdom position of serving Yahweh as a kingdom of priests is what the righteous are promised.

Pentecost and what was done on this moed is the avenue accessing Yahweh’s salvation. Pentecost is also known as the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits, anticipating a time when the saints as firstfruits are gathered from the earth into the Kingdom.

In Exodus 34:22 we read of the Feast of Firstfruits. “And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.” If you seek greater understanding of the Kingdom the answer is found in the Feasts of Levicitus 23. It’s all there. The coming rulership of Yahshua is also revealed in Yahweh’s seven annual Feast Days.

Elect on the Cutting Edge

The key to understanding the Kingdom is the selection of the elect who will receive favored positions. They are known as firstfruits. A firstfruit is a first comer and the first taken. On the cutting edge of truth, he blazes the trail directly behind Yahshua and navigates the way for an entourage who follow later. But it is a challenging way of briars, obstacles, sharp turns, potential dangers and temptations and is not for the weak or faint of heart. Unlike the popular message, it’s not a free ride.

Who naturally seeks the difficult way? Isaiah wrote that most individuals prefer the downhill, comfort ride requiring little to no exertion or commitment: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits,” Isaiah 30:10.

No better example exists of Yahweh’s Truth in operation than the personal sacrifice of Yahshua, who was our example through His obedience to Yahweh. He was the first of the firstfruits harvest, symbolized by the barley wave sheaf’s initial offering during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Apostle Paul writes of this in 1Corinthians 15:22-23: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits [wavesheaf]; afterward they that are Messiah’s at His Coming.”

Fifty days later at Pentecost the second firstfruits offering is presented, represented by the first of the wheat harvest. This harvest symbolizes the saints who are specially chosen now for an extraordinary position in His priesthood. Finally, the general harvest occurs in the autumn, at the Feast of Tabernacles—also called Feast of Ingathering.

Pentecost is the only festival of Yahweh for which no specific date is given in the Scriptures. It must be counted out seven weeks from the day the wave sheaf was offered during Unleavened Bread. (See accompanying article, “A Feast that Counts.”)

In Force in New Covenant

Here is a key fact most of churchianity fails to grasp because of traditional blinders: Yahweh presents His plan of salvation through the Feasts in both testaments.

In the Old we see the Feasts as central to the covenant of Israel that established His chosen ones. We see the Feasts again in the New Testament as foundational to the New Covenant for those grafted into Israel.

Obedience to Yahweh’s commands is central to each. Paul in Acts 24:14 wrote, “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” Law and prophets is another way of saying the Old Testament.

Most worshipers have been told that the Feast days are just dead, Old Testament ritual, which were abolished along with the animal sacrifices performed on them. They are never told that the Feasts are central to New Testament worship as well, with Yahshua’s one-time substitute sacrifice (on Passover, not Easter) in force now.

References to Yahweh’s annual observances are all over the New Testament. They were diligently celebrated by Yahshua and His followers before and after His resurrection. They answer the big questions of salvation. And they are key to prophecy.

New Testament ‘Spirit’ Feast

Other than the Passover, the observance given the most details in the New Testament is Pentecost in Acts 2. Here we find the New Testament assembly gathering as they always did in obedience to keeping a Feast. Clearly this and all Feasts are still in force. Yahshua told His disciples that once He was gone they were to tarry at Pentecost to wait for the giving of the Spirit.

Pentecost in the New Testament book of Acts 2 was 10 days after Yahshua’s ascension to heaven and 50 days following His resurrection. Had the followers gone home from Jerusalem or had they not come for the Feast of Firstfruits or Shavuot, they would have missed the opportunity to receive the Spirit.

The same lesson is for us. If we are not assembled with the brethren on Yahweh’s Feasts we will miss out on key blessings—even the blessings of the Kingdom when Yahshua returns.

All indications are that Yahshua will return at a Feast, a “time appointed” or moed, as Daniel 8:19 indicates. When the woman (Assembly) is carried on eagle’s wings into the wilderness, it is for her protection.

The first time such an occurrence happened ancient Israel was taken into the wilderness to keep a Feast to Yahweh, even as Moses had implored Pharaoh for permission to do. Yahweh protected Israel from Pharaoh’s pursuing army. Israel had the flame by night (Spirit) and cloud of protection by day. Because so much of what happened of old will happen again, all evidence points to a similar scenario of protection for those gathered at a Feast in the last days.

Compare Exodus 19:4 with Revelation 12:6.

Exodus 19:4: “You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”

Revelation 12:14: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

Fire, cloud, and bird wings are symbolic of spirit.

In the Revelation account we learn that spiritual Israel is: taken to the wilderness (just as Israel was); to a place prepared of Yahweh (we are to keep a Feast where Yahweh places His Name; just as Israel did—not in our own backyard); and the Assembly there is fed of Yahweh for a period of time, three-and-a-half years.

Similarly, we feed on Yahweh’s Word at His Feasts just as Israel fed on manna. Some believe that manna will be provided again at this time to Yahweh’s obedient.

Let’s suppose you are gathered with the brethren at a Feast, either Trumpets or Unleavened Bread or Pentecost—the three mainmoedim that have been cited as possible times of Yahshua’s return. There you will find protection while others who are disobedient are left to suffer wrath unleashed on the earth.

Yahweh works in parallels, in analogies, in type and antitype, in duality—especially in prophecy’s ancient and modern fulfillment.

The Bible is so complex a collection of books that most everything significant in it has a parallel or connection to something else or to another place or time. If we didn’t “see through a glass darkly” we would be able to discern the many prophetic parallels far better and more accurately.

Yahshua’s Pentecost Teachings

In chapter 1 of Acts, Luke picks up where His Book of Luke leaves off—discussing the life of Yahshua the Messiah and His last activity on earth, known as the transfiguration. Following is that account:

“For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Master, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,” Acts 1:6, 7, 8.

In verse 5 Yahshua showed that there would be an advancement between John’s baptism and New Testament immersion, and the giving of the Holy Spirit which would begin with Pentecost,.

They were looking for Yahshua to establish the Kingdom with Israel. They knew that Israel is the firstfruits, with others to be added through obedience and faith in Yahshua. Notice in verse 7 He doesn’t say, you have it all wrong, the Kingdom will be set up with the newly established New Testament church.

“Power” is Greek dunamis — from dunamis we get our word dynamite. This Power was for effective witnessing of Yahshua throughout all the earth.

At Sinai, when the Israelites heard the thunder and saw the lightning, and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.

In Hebrew “thunder and lightning” literally is “voices and flashing” or “torches.” But when the Greek Septuagint was completed in the 3rd century B.C.E., “voices” was translated “thunders,” while “torches” was translated “lightnings.” So in Acts 2, when we see the tongues like fire on the heads of the people and the instant translating of the Apostles’ words going on through the Spirit, we see a parallel to Sinai and Yahweh’s communicating to those gathered.

The events in Acts 2 Pentecost were not just some isolated miracles without purpose. When you pull it all together, you come to an exciting conclusion, and it’s the very same conclusion that Peter arrived at in Acts 2:15: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.”

What did Joel prophesy?

Among other things, he said that Yahweh was going to do something very special at one special mountain: Joel 2:32: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Yahweh has said, and in the remnant whom Yahweh shall call.”

Connecting Mt. Zion to Mt. Sinai we come full circle. Isaiah2:2-3 holds the answer: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.”

Yahweh interacted with Israel both at Mt. Sinai and in Mt. Zion (Jerusalem).

In John 1:7 we see where John came to bear witness, meaning a bearing witness, the Greek word is marturia. An active witness, not just a showcase.

Too often the idea is that I must get baptized and receive the Holy Spirit for the sake of my salvation, while a whole other aspect of the personal giving of the Holy Spirit is overlooked. The Holy Spirit is given for a reason—to accomplish a purpose, just as we are saved for a purpose not just to do nothing but proclaim, “I’m saved.”

Yahweh doesn’t function that way. Yahweh is a Mighty One of work, of activity and creativity and power and function. He expects nothing less of His people. To get out there and get a job done of teaching the truth to the world.

When you save earnings in a bank you save it from being lost or wasted. The same goes for Yahweh’s people. Salvation is to keep our talents and gifts from being wasted. To employ us in His service. Both now and in the Kingdom.

The power of the Holy Spirit is not for pizzazz — something impressive to watch, something to dazzle the eyes and excite the imagination or to draw attention to oneself in charismatic displays. The Spirit is imparted to accomplish a work, it’s the dynamic power of Yahweh (dunamis is used in Acts 1:8, meaning strength, ability, power).

Greatest Power in the Universe

When you look at the whole plan of Yahweh’s Feast days you see something dynamic operating on a very personal level:

In the Passover we find Yahweh separating a people out from the Egypt of sin. This follows with the eating of unleavened bread, rooting out the falsity from our lives and hearts and arming us with truth. Then comes the Feast of Weeks, where we are empowered with the Holy Spirit to tell others the truth of Yahweh.

Now Yahshua prepares the disciples, telling them not to go anywhere, but to be at Jerusalem where they must wait for the promise of Yahweh. That promise was the power of dunamis—active force—to be used to actively bring a forceful witness to the world through powerful communication and miracles.

We are a witness of the greatest power in the universe. The danger is in allowing this gift to be a show of our own greatness! That’s what the heretic Simon wanted.

“For as yet he [Holy Spirit] was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Master Yahshua. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of Elohim may be purchased with money,” Act 8:16.

Access Through Obedience

How does one receive this Spirit power? Acts 5:32 explains that it is given to those who obey Yahweh.

∙ Some say you get the Holy Spirit when someone hits you on the forehead and knocks you backward. But what about Acts 5:32?

∙ Others teach that you get the Holy Spirit the moment you believe. I would refer them to Acts 5:32.

∙ Others teach that you get the Holy Spirit the moment you are saved. They need to read Acts 5:32.

Here is what one denomination teaches in getting the Spirit:

“Tell the candidate to open his mouth and to breathe in as deeply as possible. At the same time he should tell G-d in his heart, ‘I am receiving the Holy Spirit right now by Faith.’ I like to insist absolutely that they not speak one word of their natural language. Then when the Spirit begins to move upon them, I tell them to lift their voice and speak out whatever sounds seem easy to make, regardless of how they sound. I tell them to begin to speak the words and language the Spirit gives them, praising G-d with those supernatural words until a clear, free language comes. When that person can hear himself speak in tongues, he will have assurance and confidence that the has received the Holy Ghost.”

Nowhere is this procedure supported anywhere in the Word. Here is what we find in 1John 3:24: “And he that keeps His commandments dwells in Him. And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.”

True baptism for the obedient is in Yahshua’s Name. That is how the Spirit is given. The Holy Spirit force is manifest by the many number of gifts it bestows, detailed in 1Corinthians 12, like wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, prophecy, and even just stamina for living the truth.

At immersion each individual is given one or more of the Holy Spirit gifts. In Acts 2 Peter and the rest had been waiting in an upper room as Yahshua had told them to do. They were of one mind as the Spirit descended like flames on their heads. As the dunamis was imparted they were able to speak different languages (heteros, different kinds of tongues or languages). This power translated into the ability to communicate to the 15 different languages and dialects represented in the gathered crowd.

That Feast in the New Testament was unique and never have those phenomena been duplicated since.

Many Worshiping Own Way

One person wrote us, “You aren’t going to tell me what name I can pray in.” No, but Yahweh, whom you’re assuming to pray to, definitely is. You have no more authority to decide what you will call Him than Israel had to make their own image of Him through their idols. There is no difference. Whether you make your own image of Him or call Him by whatever name you please, it’s the same thing, idolatry.

Yahweh says in Deut. 29 that if you don’t honor me with my Name, but serve me under common names of idolatry, then I will blot your own name out of the book of life.

When we seek the Holy Spirit we do it Yahweh’s way, on His terms, not our own. True Worship is about obeying Him, not church traditions or private notions.

Does Yahweh allow us to decide which Feast days we choose to keep and which to ignore? How about just keep the weekly Sabbath and ignore the annual ones, as one large denomination does?

If we accept one commanded observance then Scripturally we must accept them all, 2Timothy 3:16. All of Yahweh’s Holy Days are presented as an entire package to us to observe, with the admonition that they are all sanctified by Yahweh (and are not just Feasts of Jews). “These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons,” Leviticus 23:4.

To argue that these annual Feast days are Jewish or “Mosaic Law” and therefore are done away is to be uninformed on multiple levels.

Many statements in Scripture tell us that these are Yahweh’s observances, not Mosaic ones.

John taught old truths in the New Testament, writing, 1John 2:7: “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which you have heard from the beginning.” The only Word they had from the beginning was the Old Testament. Verse 24 continues, “Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”

Yahshua kept every one of the annual observances, from Passover through Tabernacles. He is our example. He said He had kept His Father’s commandments and we are to follow Him, John 15:10. He did so perfectly, without fail, otherwise He would have sinned,1Peter 2:21-22.

The Spirit and the Law

A command for the Feast of Weeks is found in Deuteronomy 16:9-11: “Seven weeks shall you number unto you: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn. And you shall keep the feast of weeks unto Yahweh your Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give unto the Yahweh your Elohim, according as Yahweh your Elohim has blessed you: And you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that is within your gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the Yahweh your Elohim has chosen to place His name there.”

This Feast is marked by offerings and rejoicing. It was probably at the time of the Feast of Firstfruits that Israel received the law at Sinai, which can be determined by paralleling the timing of their journey in the wilderness with the timing of the Feast.

The Biblical Feasts are a type of the spiritual trek we make as we come out of the world and follow the ways of Yahweh. Seeking Truth is also is a wilderness adventure at times as we travel a path not well-traveled.

The significance of the Feast of Firstfruits centers on teaching of the Truth with the Spirit given to keep it. In Acts 2, after the 120 received the power of the Holy Spirit, they began to teach the truth boldly and powerfully. Peter gave such a stirring message that 3,000 people sought and received baptism in the Name of Yahshua.

Peter and John spoke with uncommon power and boldness, Acts 4:13. Miracles began happening, and these disciples had powers and maturity they never had before in their ministry.

The Feast of Firstfruits shows us that Yahweh’s laws exist more than in the physical sphere. Now the spiritual intent of obedience must be emphasized. The real purpose for obedience becomes clear and a righteous attitude is made manifest.

Hebrews 8:10 says that Yahweh’s laws would be put into our minds and written on our hearts. Some may say that this means we obey only spiritually and not actually participating in Sabbath or Feast observance.

However, in Biblical terms, writing something on a heart means to obey even more closely. Read Ezekiel 11:19-20: 19: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their Elohim.”

We “take to heart” Yahweh’s laws when those laws are in our hearts.

May this key observance in Yahweh’s scriptural calendar become one of the seven you keep annually.

biblical feast days; old testament feasts; seven annual holy days; holy days in the bible; moeds; moedim

Keeping Your Biblical Appointments

The Feast days are evident from the beginning of creation, and they go through to the end of the age and even on into the Kingdom. How significant is that in their importance for us?

When it comes to Yahweh’s Biblical Feasts, most Bible professing individuals make two mistakes. They assume the Feasts are just for Jews and they believe these annual holy times are part of an Old Testament ritualistic law that was abolished with the coming of Yahshua the Messiah for all who believe in Him.

The Feast days are not only the original “holidays” of humankind, which inspired the very concept of keeping annual celebrations, but these days are also a part of an ongoing, living law of Yahweh specifically given to man. They are not just “Jewish” observances but special days for all the world to keep.

Most of the world utterly fails when it comes to these sacred appointments. First, they skip right over them, not even acknowledging these days given in the Scriptures. Second, they substitute secular holidays—which is the biblical definition of idolatry. Most will throw biblical Feast days in the category of old Mosaic laws that were abolished by the Savior.

This presents sticky problems, however, because we find compelling evidence that the patriarchs were involved in the appointed Feast days even back at the time of the first human family long before Moses even entered the picture.

In Genesis 4 we learn:

▪ Abel was a sheep herder; Cain was a farmer.

▪ The phrase in verse 3, “In the process of time” in Hebrew means, “at the end of days.” This indicates a counting period. At the end of a specified number of days an offering was to be made. This also points strongly to an appointed Feast.

The animal skins that Yahweh clothed Adam and Eve with after their sin in chapter 3 meant blood was shed so that their sins would be covered.

But Yahweh was the one who sacrificed the animals to produce the leather. In the Passover Israel had to participate in the sacrifice in order for their sins to be covered. We find the same with Abel, who brought a sheep from his herd to offer in sacrifice.

This was likely the precursor to the Passover lamb. Just as you can’t get blood from a turnip—Cain’s offering was not a blood sacrifice. It was a crop offering and Yahweh was not pleased. If this is a Passover-category event, then a grain offering won’t do. Animal blood must be shed. No wonder Yahweh was not pleased. He is never happy when mankind makes up his own rules for worship. No doubt Cain’s bad attitude played into this as well.

Notice that Cain brought from the regular fruit of the ground, while Abel from the firstlings of his flock. Cain’s was not a firstfruit. It was just part of the normal crop that he harvested from the field.

Yahweh wanted the firstfruits of our increase dedicated to Him, just as He does today, whether it be tithe or offerings or sacrifices of praise—He wants the best we have to offer. For Israel it was always to be the firstfruits of what they produced. Giving to Yahweh off the top shows our devotion to Him as supreme in or lives, before anything else.

Genesis 4:4 reads, “Yahweh had ‘respect.’ That means that fire probably went out from Yahweh and consumed the offering, as we note how He accepted other passages. It shows that He was pleased.

Verse 7 is fascinating. Cain did not please Yahweh. He sinned. The Hebrew does not simply say that that it was just sin that lay at the door, but that a sin offering was still at the door. In other words it wasn’t accepted, it wasn’t consumed. It was not of an animal but a crop, and he didn’t offer in the right spirit. This was also symbolic of an unresolved sin that now wants to control Cain.

Cain’s real problem was not his brother. Cain’s problem was Cain. Yet it was his brother Abel who ended up on the receiving end of Cain’s wrath. And that scenario has been repeated throughout all of history.

Can we find evidence of more Feast-like activity early on, before the covenant with Israel? We certainly can.

In Genesis 17:21 Almighty Yahweh dis-cusses with Abraham plans for a covenant with his soon-to-be son, Isaac. Set time means appointed time, a moed. Psalm 104:19 tells us that Yahweh appointed the moon for moedim, “fixed times or festivals.” The same thing in Genesis 1:14, where the sun and moon are for “seasons,” moedim, appointed times. Yahweh built feast observance into creation itself.

How can these Feast days be done away today when the very sun and moon above our heads attest to them and set their times by their revolution year after year? What can be more permanent when planets and stars set the agenda?

Feasts Before Moses

Important events typically occurred on Yahweh’s Feasts, from the exodus at Passover and Unleavened Bread as well as entering the Promised Land at this same time, to the giving of the law and covenant and the Spirit at Pentecost, to the return of Yahshua perhaps at Trumpets.

In Genesis 18 three angels come to Abraham and he makes a meal of unleavened cakes, v. 6. In verse 14 the term “appointed time” is again the word moed, elsewhere used for Feast.

In Genesis 19:3 Lot baked unleavened bread for the two angels who came to Sodom.

Clearly Yahweh’s Feast commands did not originate at Sinai. Let’s look at a few other cases:

Moses asked Pharaoh to let the people go to observe a Feast (Ex. 3:18; 5:1; 8:25; 10:9). In Exodus 16:4 the Sabbath law is in effect! In Exodus 18:16 we see statutes and laws before Sinai.

These commands to keep Feasts, appointed times, were intended for all mankind for all ages. But because most everyone else chose to ignore them, Yahweh zeroed in on a select group called Israelites, making a covenant agreement with them to keep these times and in return to be blessed above all people on earth. Judah was only one of the 12 tribes of Israel. So we can dismiss the idea out of hand that these Feasts are only for Jews. They were given to all Israel in a special covenant, both Jews and non-Jews.

Also, most assume the Feasts are part of the law that was abolished by Yahshua’s death, and therefore are no longer in effect. However, it was only the ceremonial/ritual law that was superseded by Yahshua’s death, as we find in Heb. 9:10 and foretold inIsaiah 1:11-20.

We must not thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If the whole law were abolished, then we no longer can know what sin is, because by the law we have the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20, and even further, that sin no longer exists, Romans 4:15—no law, no sin.

In fact, there are five kinds of law in the Scriptures:

1)  Spiritual law, including the Ten Commandments

2) Commercial/civil law, governing interpersonal and business relationships

3)  Ceremonial/rituallaw—governing priestly activities

4)  Natural law, the laws of nature

5)  Judicial law—dealing with crime and punishment.

The Feasts fall under the spiritual law—those laws that shape our character and lead to everlasting life. Like the Ten Commandments and other character-shaping laws.

When we keep Yahweh’s Feasts we draw closer to Yahweh and understand His plan for His people better. Which directly impacts us, strengthening our faith and leading to a closer walk.

Yahweh chose the people of Israel because of His covenant with their forefather Abraham. He didn’t chose any other nation. As Shaul explains, others can be grafted in to that same relationship and receive the same promises, Romans 9 and 11.

In 1John 2:5-7 we are instructed to walk as Yahshua walked. How did Yahshua walk? Was He obedient to the law? Did He not set an example for us by His obedient walk? Were not the Feasts part of His walk? Of course. Let’s see a few examples:

As a child He went with His parents to keep Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Luke 2:42.

In Matt. 26:18 and Luke 22:11 we find Yahshua observing Passover and unleavened bread. He instructed His disciples to stay in Jerusalem in Acts 1:4 to wait for the giving of the Spirit which would happen at Pentecost.

In John 7:10 He went up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and in the middle of the Feast we see Him teaching, verse 14.

Again on the Last Great Day of the Feast in John 7:37 Yahshua stands up and teaches from the Old Testament. Here Yahshua is teaching from the Old Testament, which includes Yahweh’s laws. We must walk as He walked.

In Exodus 12:14 Yahweh says to keep the Feast “forever.” Who is He talking to? The only nation He ever made a covenant with—Israel.

If He kept the Feasts, so should we. If He did not observe Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, neither should we.

Follow the commandment you heard from the beginning. Base your faith in the same Scriptures Yahshua and the Apostles did—the Old Testament. They had no other to go by.

They Kept the Feasts

The Feasts represent the plan for man from the beginning, as we saw in Genesis. The plan involves us today as His people, and beyond this life into the Kingdom.

When Yahweh says these are ordinances “forever,” that is just what He means. No fewer than four times in Levitics 23 Yahweh declares the Feasts a statute “forever.” Does forever mean until His Kingdom comes? No. More than even that.

Isaiah 66 speaks of the Millennial Kingdom. We learn that when Yahshua sets up the Kingdom rule on this earth that everyone will come to keep Yahweh’s appointed times, verse 23.

What if they refuse, as many do today? Zechariah 14:16-18 tells us that the rebellious who won’t go up to keep the Feast will get no rain. Even the Egyptians, who like Israel and everyone else will be commanded to obey. We recall that Yahshua promised to keep the Passover again with His disciples in the Kingdom, Matthew 26:29.

Do you seek to be in that Kingdom? What about being blessed right now? Then follow His Word. Keep His laws. Attend His Feasts. Learn about Him. Mold your life into the pattern Yahshua taught us.

Pay no attention what the world is doing or thinking. Resolve to obey Yahweh, the One who put you in your mother’s womb.

If you can find Yahweh promising blessings by keeping the observances of the world, then by all means go for them! If not, why else would you want to keep these pointless, useless, ineffectual days?

A fundamental purpose of Yahweh Feasts is to instruct. We see this happening in the kingdom in Ezek. 44:23-24. We learn important spiritual lessons by physical actions. Learning by doing. Hands on experience. That is why Yahweh expects our participation in His Feasts. Going there and observing them with others.

No, there are no longer animal sacrifices. But that doesn’t mean the principle is dead and gone. We sacrifice of ourselves when we attend the Annual Feasts. We sacrifice of our time and resources to attend. We give up the world for as much as a week to be instructed by Yahweh’s Word.

It is a sacrifice pleasing to Yahweh. Keeping only part of a Feast is like giving half a lamb on the altar of sacrifice. The command is to keep His entire Feast, not only half of it.

As we see our culture sliding into the abyss, we know that Yahshua’s return is imminent. What will be your response to Him when He asks you, where were you when I looked for you at Passover, Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles?

I gave these days to my chosen ones, I kept them myself as an example for you.

But you thought they weren’t important. You made time for the world but not for me. So now I ask, what blessing is left for you? I wanted to give you a position in my Kingdom, to teach others. To show them how to obey me. But you would not obey me yourself.

May that scene not be a part of your future.

May you and yours say as Shaul, I must by all means keep this Feast.

afford the feasts; i cant afford the feast of tabernacles; i cant afford to travel to the feasts; feast of tabernacles is too expensive

You Can Afford the Feasts!

We often hear, “But how can I afford to go to the Feast this year?” Yahweh had already anticipated the question and gives the following response.

Yahweh’s annual Feast days are one of the greatest bless­ings He bestows on His people. Unless you have kept them in the place where He puts His Name, you can’t imagine what a joy they truly are.A veritable Kingdom on earth!

A common question posed by those to whom Yahweh has newly revealed the importance of His annual Feast days is, “How can I afford to attend?” A subsequent question is, “When and where are these Festivals held?”

Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry publishes a calendar each year point­ing out the dates of each of the seven annual Feast days. Our calendar is based upon Yahweh’s lunar months. We go by the monthly new moons that Yahweh placed in the sky for this purpose,Isaiah 66:23 and Numbers 28:11. The Feasts are grouped accord­ing to the harvest seasons, beginning with Abib (meaning green ears),which comes in the spring at the time of the barley harvest (Ex. 9:31).

Next begins the harvest of wheat in early summer (Pentecost or Feast of Weeks), followed by the harvest of oil, grapes and garden stuffs in the fall (Tabernacles).

Yahweh’s Feasts are prophetic (Col. 2:16-17). He works everything out according to His timetable:“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1). Yahweh’s purpose was es­tablished at creation when He made the lights in the heavens: “And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven. to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons [Hebrew = MOED], and for days, and years” (Gen. 1: 14).

The Hebrew word moed means an “appointed time.” His Feasts are special times that Yahweh has set aside and that He will use to ac­complish His will. The seven annual Feasts are His “moedim” or appointed times when He meets with His people.

Until we recognize that His Feast days are appointments that we keep with Yahweh, we miss important truths revealed to His people. All of the Feasts are listed in Leviticus 23, with special emphasis placed on some.

The fact that these Feast days will be kept in the Kingdom (Ezek. 45:21-25) shows that they are of special im­portance now. We cannot ignore them and still be His people.

Sign and Seal Ignored

The two most ignored commands in the Bible are the sign He has given us and the seal by which we are preserved. The sign is keeping His Sabbaths:

Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a SIGN between. me and them, that they might know that I [am] Yahweh that sanctify them.” (Ezek. 20: 12)  “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a SIGN between. me and you, that you may know that I [am] Yahweh your Elo­­­him” (Ezek.20:20).

By keeping His Sabbaths Yahweh will sanctify or set His people apart as a sanctified for a holy pur­pose. The Sabbaths are a special time in which we learn to know Him and we draw closer to Him. The world in general irresponsibly ignores these days, believing that they are free from all obligations and responsibili­ties.

The seal is His Name: We are sealed with His Name upon baptism (Rev. 14:1) and already carry His Name for we are known as “His wife” (Rev. 19:7), and have prepared or made our­selves ready. The sealing agent is the Holy Spirit: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of Elohim, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

Financing the Feasts

The seven annual Feasts are not optional for the people of Yahweh. They are commanded convocations. They are a part of that sign showing that we are truly His people when we keep them. His Feast days also set us apart, sanctifying us, as they did Israel.

In His command Yahweh was very complete, making provisions for the fi­nancing of our trips to His gatherings without having them become a great burden. After all, His Feasts should be a delight,the highlights of the year.

Just as we are expected to tithe to Yahweh so that His plan of salvation can be proclaimed around the world (Mat. 23:23), He also shows us that we are to set aside funds to keep the Feasts. Notice:“Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.  And thou shalt eat before Yahweh your Elohim, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear Yahweh your Elohim always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; [or] if the place be too far from thee, which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose to set his name there, when Yahweh your Elohim hath blessed thee:  Then shalt thou turn [it] into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Yahweh your Elohim shall choose:  And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before Yahweh your Elohim, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,  And the Levite that [is] within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee” (Deut. 14:22-27).

Notice, this second tithe is a special tithe to use for the Feasts. It is to be kept and man­aged by the individual to assure that one has funds to attend the Feasts. It is separate from the tithe to proclaim the evangel to the world, which is holy unto Yahweh and to be used for that purpose.

Instead of setting aside cash as the world does in a “vacation fund” or some “Xmas savings plan,” Yahweh long ago gave us this guide as assurance that we could al­ways attend His Festivals.

Savings accounts and pay­roll savings plans are actually patterned after Yahweh’s plan of assuring that His people can attend His Feasts. The majority of Yahweh’s people plan their vacations and time off to coincide with the Feast days.

What better way to spend a vacation than to gather with others of like faith and clearly identify with the “sign” Yahweh gives us that we might learn of Him by keep­ing His Sabbaths. Spiritual enrichment for the entire family is a part of His plan that we get to know and share our joy and experiences with the future kings and priests of His coming King­dom!

Making Feast attendance a part of our lives is a maturing experience as we disci­pline ourselves to obey our Father and gather where He has placed His Name.

See YOU at Tabernacles!

The three “Pilgrim Feasts” are: the seven days of Unleavened Bread, Pen­tecost, and the eight days at Taber­nacles. Preparations such as plane res­ervations, transportation, accommoda­tions, and auto repairs should be taken care of early. See our Feast reservation information elsewhere on this site.

Israel was commanded to eat of the tithe of their produce at the Feast. For those traveling a distance, Yahweh says, “Then shalt thou turn [it] into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose,” which He does through His ministers (Deut. 14:25).

Consider the words of Moses to Is­rael just before they were to cross over into the Promised Land – just as the faithful will some day come into the Kingdom: “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Yahweh your Elohim in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty” (Deut. 16:16).

Yahweh promises a blessing upon those who obey Him. Don’t you want to be blessed? Isn’t it time you came out of the world of sin in these last days and prepared for your eternal life in Yahweh? We look forward to seeing YOU with us at the fall Feasts!

by Donald R. Mansager