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Mystery in the Fall Holy Days

The Biblical holidays, or holy days, given by the Lord in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible, from Genesis to Deuteronomy), can be divided into two seasons: spring and autumn. In the spring, God commands us to celebrate Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost). In the autumn we are to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets (called Rosh Hashanah in Jewish tradition), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), as described in Leviticus 23. Since there are two holy days during Passover (the first day and the seventh day), as well as during Sukkot (the first and the eighth days), God gave us a total of seven holy days during the year—not a coincidental number at all.

Three Meanings

In Biblical times, each holy day had three meanings: past, present and future. We are to remember God’s wonders, love and grace toward us in the past, celebrate His goodness and provision for us in the present, and  look forward to the holy larger Messianic fulfillment in the future. For example, during Passover we are to remember the Exodus from Egypt, to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season, and (today we know as already fulfilled) to look forward to the Messiah who will come as the Passover Lamb to serve as eternal sacrifice for our sins: a sacrifice to deliver us from bondage to sin to a life of freedom in God.

Today, the Messianic fulfillment of two holy days has already been realized by Yeshua’s first coming. Passover, as already described, and also Shavuot, the holy day of first fruits when Yeshua’s disciples were first baptized in the Holy Spirit, experiencing empowerment for ministry (Acts 2). Thus, we celebrate Passover and Shavuot today with the past and present meanings, as well as the already realized Messianic fulfillment of those holidays.

Fall Forward

As for the autumn holy days, we are still looking forward to their Messianic fulfillment, which will come at Yeshua’s second coming. The Feast of Trumpets clearly links with the trumpets of Revelation, specifically the seventh trumpet which declares the coming of the Kingdom of God upon earth (Revelation 11:15-19). The Day of Atonement links with the period of mourning, fasting and calling upon God by the people of Israel which will occur at the end of the age when the enemy closes in and the One whom we have pierced is revealed (Joel 2:15-18, Zechariah 12:9-14, 13:1). Sukkot is most probably the holiday when Yeshua will be crowned in Jerusalem as the King of the Jews, as well as King of the nations. This will be an event that will be celebrated every year by all the nations in Jerusalem, in front of the King during His Millennial Kingdom (Zechariah 14:16-19).

Think about that! There will be survivors of the second coming from the nations who will come to Jerusalem, along with those of us who already believed, to worship Yeshua! What a day that will be!

We have just come out of this year’s fall holiday season, and it was a wonderful time. We had a special evening at the congregation for the Feast of Trumpets, celebrating with worship, prayer, some traditions and a great meal. Ten days later, on the Day of Atonement, we came together with several other congregations at Yad Hashmonah (a Messianic village next to Jerusalem) to fast, worship, pray and study the Word together for 25 hours. Five days later, we celebrated Sukkot with a Sukkah (a temporary dwelling) built in the congregation, teachings regarding the coming Kingdom, and a lot of joy as we are specifically commanded on Sukkot to be happy and joyful: “… so that you will be altogether joyful” (Deut. 16:13-15) There is a great joy waiting for us at the end of the age. Yeshua will take His place on the throne in Jerusalem and we with Him as joint heirs of the Kingdom!

This article originally appeared on Tiferet Yeshua, November 28, 2016, and reposted with permission.

Gil, a native born Israeli, is the congregational leader of Tiferet Yeshua, a Messianic congregation in Tel Aviv.

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