Understanding the seven annual observances of the Bible is to grasp the plan of salvation. These appointed times offer a wealth of “insider” knowledge that includes keys to when Yahshua will return and who will be chosen for salvation.
These decreed observances are also a covenant promise between Yahweh and His people. They teach us of a coming heavenly Kingdom on earth, where the chosen will have positions of authority under Yahshua.
Our lives are a preparation to rule with the Messiah when He returns. His annual feasts are a time of gathering to rejoice, celebrate the blessings Yahweh has given us, and to focus on the awesomeness of eternity with the King. The Feasts unlock the future.
Yahweh’s holy times begin with Passover in the month of Abib when green ears of barley appear and the first fruit of the grains is harvested. Fifty days later is Pentecost, when the wheat harvest begins. In the seventh month are four High Sabbaths, which complete the harvest season and end with the Last Great Day of the Feast.
Yahweh’s plan of redemption is all about spiritual harvesting. Yahshua is the Firstfruits of the resurrection. Yahweh’s people are also a type of harvest, which is clear from James 1:18.
Passover commemorates the deliverance of His physical people Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us that Israel lived in tents or booths before they were brought into the Promised Land. As with Israel, we face a future of virtual slavery and tribulation before He steps in to deliver His people.
Duality of Harvest
Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits points to the harvest of those called out of the world now to help Yahshua rule for a thousand years. Also known as the Feast of Weeks, this time commemorates the giving of the law at Sinai, which Israel ratified under the Old Covenant.
In the New Testament the Holy Spirit was sent to the earth to help us be obedient and keep the law. This became known as the New Covenant. On this day the called-out people entered the New Covenant.
In Acts 2:39 Peter confirms that the chosen will be heirs in the Kingdom. The ekklesia (improperly rendered “church”) is being called out of the world now to become a kingdom of priests under the coming rulership of the Messiah. We are not yet in the Kingdom, but those in the ekklesia are heirs of the Kingdom, joint heirs with Messiah, and are in training now to help rule in the righteous government of the heavens brought to earth.
Many prophets were given visions of the latter days and the future deliverance of Yahweh’s people, which will be far greater than the deliverance of the 2-3 million Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Jeremiah gives the reason:
“Wherefore has Yahweh pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our sin that we have committed against Yahweh our Elohim? Then shall you say unto them. Because your fathers have forsaken me, says Yahweh, and have walked after other deities, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken Me, and have not kept My law; and you have done worse than your fathers; for behold, you walk everyone after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto Me,” Jeremiah 16:10-12.
The ‘Easy Way’ Teaching
When people today read Jeremiah’s prophecy they get the idea that it refers in the modern context to someone else. Christians do not realize this prophecy is directed against perverting Scriptures today and forsaking Yahweh by walking after other deities and serving mighty ones called G-d and L-rd (Baal, Jer. 23:27).
Most nominal churchgoers would declare that they indeed worship the Mighty One of the Bible. However, when clear, explicit verses are presented – such as Exodus 23:11-17, commanding Yahweh’s people to keep the Sabbatical years; to keep the seventh-day Sabbath; not to utter names of pagan deities; to keep the annual holy days – almost to a person they will quickly shrug it off and say that it does not mean me.
Seeking shortcuts is a common human failing. We tend to follow the path of least resistance. Preaching an easy road to salvation is a pastime of many ministries.
When it comes to pure worship, Yahweh does not offer shortcuts. His is a doctrine of self-discipline, of overcoming our sinful nature and viewing and living life from His perspective, no matter what the obstacles.
“Therefore thus says Yahweh, Elohim of hosts. O my people that dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite you with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against you, after the manner of Egypt,” Isaiah 10:24.
Hebrews 12:22-24 clearly shows that the true people of Yahweh are referred to as those dwelling in Zion. These saints will undergo a future persecution and tribulation under the hand of the Assyrian as did ancient Israel. They will be delivered with a mighty hand just as were the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. It is during this time that the saints will be living in tabernacles just before Yahweh intervenes.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that Yahweh shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros and from Cush, and from Elam and from Shinar, and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth,’’ Isaiah 11:11-12. The gathering of His saints will be from the area around Jerusalem, and will include “the islands of the sea.”
And now read verse 16. “There shall be a highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt,” Isaiah 11:16. Note that it will be but a remnant of His people that will be left as He sets His hand to recover His people the second time. He will be known as the One who saved His people from the north country, not as the Elohim who saved His people from Egypt. This series of events will surpass anything that the world has ever seen prior to this time.
Disobedience Carries a Price
The world is not obediently keeping the feast days as Yahweh commands. The result is judgment. “Howl ye; for the day of Yahweh is at hand: it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty … Behold the day of Yahweh comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine,” Isaiah 13:6.9-10.
Yahshua Himself spoke of this time in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24:29. Notice that He begins verse 21 stating, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Verse 24 shows that the elect, or chosen people, will still be on the earth, for He speaks of false mcssiahs and false prophets who will show great signs and wonders that will be so astounding and real that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived.
The Savior goes on to say in Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.” This prophecy is also seen in Joel 2:31. It is a time of Yahweh’s wrath upon a lawless and defiant world.
Many times Isaiah refers to the end of the age when Yahweh’s wrath is poured out on a sick, sin-filled world. Isaiah 59:18 shows that Yalweh will repay the sins of His adversaries with fury.
“So shall they fear the Name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of Yahweh shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgressions in Jacob, says Yahweh,” verses 19-20. Yahweh promises deliverance to His people who overcome and live for Him. But he does not promise a rapture from earth.
Fall Festivals Unfulfilled
Isaiah 60 tells of the re-gathering of His people from around the world. He promises untold glory for those who remain steadfast. In Isaiah 61 we find the same verse that Yahshua quoted when He began His public ministry.
“The Spirit of Yahweh is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of Yahweh,” Luke 4:18-19.
Yahshua stopped in the middle of the second verse. But it is obvious that He was speaking of the sabbatical year in this prophecy. Yahweh always brings events about according to His timetable. Passover has been fulfilled twice, as has Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. But the Feasts of the seventh month have never been fulfilled. Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles are awaiting fulfillment and Yahweh un-doubtedly will be right on schedule.
His feast days help us remember His plan of redemption, which we are reminded of at three harvest times during the year. The fall moedim begin a time of tribulation and foreshadow the deception of the false prophet and the iron grip of the man of sin. These festivals go on to remind us of the coming Kingdom of Yahweh where His law and government will rule the world.
Temporarily dwelling in succoth or shelters, as we are commanded of Yahweh at Tabernacles, reminds us that we are but sojourners and travelers in this world. Our real goal is to be in that Kingdom wherein is righteousness and where the entire world will be keeping His Sabbaths and His laws, Isaiah 66:23. We are merely passing through this present veil of tears, knowing that a tabernacle represents our temporary dwelling on earth.
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err: and they that are led of them are destroyed,” Isaiah 9:16.
We today have the greatest opportunity ever to worship Yahweh in spirit and in truth. We have more study resources to prove the truth of the Bible than did any generation before us.
In spite of these advantages, most are more ignorant of the Scriptures than those of Jeremiah’s time. Few desire to search out the truth of the Bible as they should. The difficulty comes when they ignore or work their way around the plain statements of obedience.
Almighty Yahweh is not pleased with His creation of humans when they refuse to do what He expects. What a disappointment man must be to Him –defiantly insisting that he doesn’t need to obey the precepts Yahweh established for man’s own protection and happiness.
Knowing and loving Yahweh means doing what He asks, just as a child shows love and respect to his parents by obeying them – and they love him all the more in return.
By obeying Yahweh’s commands, including the observance of the seventh-month festivals, we show that we indeed want His awesome blessings. We want the awesome promises of rulership with Him in His Kingdom that come only by proving that we first will obey Him.
John wrote. “But whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him,” John 2:5.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a taste of the Kingdom on earth. You can have a foretaste of that joyous Kingdom today. Decide right now to be closer to your Heavenly Father. Join us for the Feast of Tabernacles. Find out what happiness comes in living for Yahweh, rather than just talking about it!
Yahweh has a different plan for the planet, which will begin with the return of Yahshua to wrest global control from a Beast empire that will be in power for only a few years.
The perennial prize, Jerusalem, will not be his for long before Yahshua returns, which is exactly where He will return to: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…” (Zech. 14:4). Once He takes control, Yahshua will immediately implement His righteous rule and Yahweh’s holy laws will be enforced from Jerusalem. Notice the first thing that is required of all people everywhere on earth once He takes the earthly throne: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (14:16).
Feast or Famine – the Coming Choice
But what if the world’s masses refuse to comply, just as vast millions today choose not to keep Yahweh’s Feasts in obedience? “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain” (v. 17).
Those who resist the commandment to keep His Feasts will soon discover that Yahweh will, by force, change attitudes. “And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith Yahweh will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Everyone, including the heathen, will be required to attend His Feasts!
Yahweh could not be more serious. He is so adamant that we observe His Feasts that He is willing to punish with starvation and death those who refuse.
Yahshua’s first millennial act as earthly King is to enforce the keeping of Yahweh’s Feasts. Clearly His Feasts are not optional now and will not be optional when He is in control. His directive is not a casual one. He expects us to put Him first and make time for His Feasts! He expects us to put aside a tithe in order to attend His Feasts, (Deut. 14:23). He expects us to take off work and school to attend His Feasts. He expects us, His people, to be examples of true obedience to the rest of the world.
Yahweh’s Feasts are part of His royal laws, and are just as obligatory as the Ten Commandments. Law is law. We don’t decide which laws of His we will keep and which we will ignore, anymore than we decide which laws of society we will abide by and which ones we will not obey. All laws are in full force and effect at all times. In the same way all of Yahweh’s commands are obligatory for those who seek life everlasting. In Matthew 19:17 Yahshua said, “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Break One, Break Them All
Believers faithfully keep the weekly Sabbath holy because it is part of the law. For some reason, however, they don’t see that the Feasts are just as binding as His Fourth Commandment. They were all given at Sinai! They have not come to terms with the fact that the Feasts are just as essential as the clean food laws and just as important as revering and calling on His revealed, true Name.
Implicit in the Sabbath command is the command to keep ALL Sabbaths – weekly and annual.
Because with Yahweh there is no difference when it comes to His laws, ignoring the Feast commands is no different from working on the Sabbath. This means that even fastidious weekly Sabbath keeping can be voided out by nonobservance of the Feasts.
Knowing the Truth means living the Truth or else it means nothing. We are not given to understand His great statutes and judgments and then not apply what we know.
Yahshua reminded us, “Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23. Iniquity is anomia and means “the condition of being without law.”
Imagine the utter shock on the faces of those who thought that they had an automatic “in” with Yahweh because they thought they were blessed in their lives as believers – only to find out that their lackadaisical attitude when it came to Yahweh’s laws barred them from the Kingdom!
Yahweh’s Feasts, Not Jewish Feasts
We live in the time of the great falling away when all of Yahweh’s commandments and laws are being cast aside wholesale. Only a few, known as the Chosen, will be obedient to all commanded observances.
In an attempt to excuse themselves from keeping His commanded days, many will call His Sabbath and Feasts “Jewish.” Yet, Yahweh defined these observances in Leviticus 23 as “My Feasts.” They transcend every religion and race because they don’t belong to any one people. They are Yahweh’s and therefore are commanded for all people on earth in every era of man’s entire history.
Yahshua knew all of this, of course, and kept the Feasts all His days on earth. In John 7:14-16 we find Yahshua observing the Feast of Tabernacles. His example is for us. He said in John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Just as ancient Israel was called out of Egypt to keep His Feast in the wilderness (Ex. 3:18; 5:1; Hosea 11:1), so Yahweh is calling out a people from the world today to observe His Feast days. He has grand plans for those who obey. We read of them in Revelation 1:6, “And has made us kings and priests unto Yahweh his Father.”
For those who still think His Feasts are optional, Yahshua gave a pointed lesson about His own expectations in the parable of five wise and five foolish virgins in Matthew 25. The wise had oil in their lamps and were prepared for the Bridegroom when He came for the wedding Feast. The five others were foolish because they were not ready. They didn’t take their responsibility seriously. Obedient preparation meant little to them initially.
But when it finally dawned on them that the Bridegroom was really coming they begged oil of the five wise virgins. Suddenly it became very important to them that they be ready and found worthy because they realized it meant the difference between being accepted and being rejected by the Bridegroom.
Will you be prepared? Will He reward you with a position in His Kingdom because you proved your worthiness by your obedience to His commands? Only you can answer that question. Rest assured, though, that question is being answered for you right now in whether you honor His commands to obey and follow the Savior’s examples, including joining the saints each year at His commanded Feasts. (Biblical Holydays)
by: Donald R. Mansager