Holy Days of Israel by Pastor F.M. Riley

The Holy Days of Israel

                                                                                                    By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                    Revised July 16, 2013
Text:     Leviticus 23:1-44
             “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:
     Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ,” Colossians 2:15-17.


A.         Feasts…..mowadah…..”appointment; fixed time or season; festival; signal as appointed beforehand; sign; set time.” 
B.         Convocations…..miqra…..”assemblies; to assemble or call together”
C.         God’s appointed holy days for Israel
1.     “…..He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest,”     
                       Jeremiah 5:24.
D.         Appointed days which foreshadow prophetic events      Colossians 2:16-17

The Appointed Holy Days

[1]   The Lord’s Passover

     A.     The 14th day of Abib [Nisan]     Leviticus 23:5   Numbers 28:16
     B.     Abib…..The 1st month of the sacred year, the calendar year that the Lord gave to
                            Israel in Exodus 12
                      …..The 7th month of the civil year on the old calendar

[2]   The Feast [festival] of Unleavened Bread

     A.     The 15th day of Abib [Nisan] through the 21st day of Abib    Leviticus 23:6-8

[3]   The First Fruits Offering

     A.     On the morrow after the first sabbath following Passover     Leviticus 23:9-14
     B.      In the year of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection this observance fell on
               the 18th day of Abib [Nisan], which that year was Sunday or “the first day of the week.” .

[4]   The Day of Pentecost

     A.      50 days from the firstfruits offering      Leviticus 23:15-22
               1.     A variable date yet always occurring in the month of Sivan.
     B.      Sivan…..The 3rd month of the sacred year.
                        …..The 9th month of the civil year.

[5]   The Blowing of Trumpets

     A.      Rosh Ha-Shanah…..The 1st day of Tishri     Leviticus 23:23-25
     B.      Tishri…..The 7th month of the sacred year.
                        …..The 1st month of the civil year

[6]   The Day of Atonement

     A.      Yom Kippur…..The 10th day of Tishri      Leviticus 23:26-32

 [7]   The Feast of Tabernacles

     A.      The 15th day of Tishri through the 22nd day of Tishri       Leviticus 23:33-43 

The Added Holy Days

     In addition to these Divinely Appointed holy days set forth in Leviticus 23, over the centuries of Jewish history two more days were added which the religious Jews consider to be “holy days.”  These two additional days, and the reason for them are as follows:

[8]   Hanakkuh
A.       The 25th day of Kislev, the 9th month on the sacred calendar, Haggai 2:10; 2:18.  This holy day
        was added by the Jews after the Maccabees had thrown off  the  yoke  of  bondage imposed  upon
        Judah by  King  Antiochus  Epiphanes  of  Syria.   After  defeating the armies of Syria, the Jews
        cleansed the Temple and rededicated it to the God of Israel.   They  relighted  the  Menorah
        [lampstand]  in  the  Temple,  even  though  they only  had  enough  oil  to  keep it burning for
        one  day,  but miraculously, the “servant lamp” on the Menorah continued to burn for
  eight days.  The Jews then added this day to their roster of “holy days” as a day “sanctioned by
  God” to honor and glorify the God of Israel.  Because of how this day came about, this day is
  also referred to in the Scriptures as “the feast of dedication,” John 10:22.  The religious Jews
  also sometimes refer to it as “the Festival of Lights.”

[9]   Purim 
A.       The 15th day of Adar, the 12th month on the sacred calendar.  This “holy day” was added to
   the roster of “holy days” after the plot of Haman to destroy all the Jews in the Kingdom of
   Media-Persia was exposed and Haman and his ten sons were destroyed, as recorded in the
   Book of Esther.

     These nine Jewish “holy days” listed above are not all of the days the religious Jews observe today, but they are the major “holy days” that appear to be Divinely sanctioned by the Lord God for the Jews to honor the Holy Name of the Lord God of Israel by fasting and praying and confession of sin and worship. Now let’s examine these days in the light of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world…..

The Conception and birth of the Lord Jesus

     Hanakkuh…….There are many dedicated Christian men and women today who have intensively studied everything they can find in the Scriptures and in recorded history about the conception and birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  One conclusion is common in all of their studies…..the Lord Jesus Christ was not born on Christmas Day, the 25th of December!
     Rather, it appears that Christ was likely conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary on Hanakkuh, the Jewish “Festival of Light.”  Since Christ did come into the world as “the light of the world,” then what better time for Him to have been conceived than on this particular Jewish Holy Day?  Study carefully Matthew 1:18-21, Luke 1:26-35, John 1:1-8, 1:14, and 8:12.  If this was actually the case, then it is obvious that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled this Jewish Holy Day at His first coming as He came into the world as “the light of the world” and “the servant” lamp on God’s Menorah.

    Rosh Ha-shanah…….Then when was Christ actually born?  Many of these same dedicated Christians believe that Christ Jesus was born on Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish “Feast of Trumpets,” nine months after His conception on “Hanukkah.” If our readers will carefully notice the institution of this holy day as given by God in Leviticus 23:23-25, the Lord God explicitly stated, “…..in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation,” Leviticus 23:24.  As I have read and re-read this Scripture, I have been made to wonder just what it is that is being “memorialized” on Rosh Ha-shanah?   The Scriptures in Leviticus 23 do not say, nor anywhere else in God’s Word that I have ever found.   So when the Jews blow the trumpets on Rosh Ha-shanah, what is it a “memorial” of?   There are only two things I have ever found in the inspired Word that appears that they might “fit” this scenario.   Never anywhere in the New Testament are God’s people ever told to observe the birthday of Christ coming into the world.  Never!  But we are explicitly and repeatedly told to remember His death for us on Calvary’s old rugged cross, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.  However, the “memorial” of His death for us is in observing “The Lord’s Supper,” or as some refer to it, “Holy Communion.”  This is a well establishd “memorial” that has now lasted throughout this present dispensation.   So it surely does not apply to the “blowing of trumpets” on Rosh Ha-shanah. 
     Since the observing of the Lord’s Supper is the “memorial” of His death, then again, what is the blowing of trumpets on Rosh Ha-shanah “memorializing?”  Is it possible that Rosh Ha-shanah could be a “memorial” of the birth of Christ?  Christ coming into the world to suffer and die for mankind on that glorious day?  I don’t know!   But I do know that the inspired Word says it is a “memorial.”  So what else could it be? 
     I am well aware that nothing is said in the Scriptures about the “blowing of trumpets” on the day Christ was born.  But turn and read Luke 2:8-15 for yourself.  It is obvious that even the angels of Heaven observed the birth of Christ on that special day.  I find it hard to believe that since the very angels of Heaven were observing the birth of Christ on that day, that there were not some trumpets sounding in Heaven on that day.  Study the subject and draw your own conclusions. 
     It should be glaringly obvious that if Christ was born on Rosh Ha-shanah, then He most certainly fulfilled that Jewish Holy Day at His first coming.  

     The Day of Atonement…….However, there is no question that Christ Jesus fulfilled the Jewish Holy Day of Atonement, for the Scriptures themselves explicitly state and point out that Christ gave Himself to make an “atonement” for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.  Listen and hear with spiritual ears, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement,” Romans 5:10-11.  See this!  Past tense!  The “atonement” has already been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf, and every true believer has already received it.  
     This makes it glaringly obvious that Christ Jesus fulfilled the “Day of Atonement” at His first coming.  Glory to God!  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord! 

     Tabernacles…….Here is yet another Jewish Holy Day that the inspired Word makes very clear that Christ Jesus has already fulfilled at His first coming.  Listen to the Scripture with anointed ears and see with anointed eyes, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” John 1:14.  Now take your Concordance or Lexicon and look up the Greek words translated as “dwelt among us.”  The Greek word is the word, skenos,” and it literally means, “to fix one’s tabernacle; to abide or live in a tent or tabernacle.”  See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 578, Strong’s No. 4637.   Some of the “modern” translations today actually translate this Scripture as, “…..He tabernacled among us.”   I see no way to explain this away.  I have to accept the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the “Feast of Tabernacles” at His first coming.  Hello! 


     Passover…….It would take an absolutely Scripturally illiterate dunce to deny that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the Passover at His first coming, for Christ Himself was the sacrificial “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29.  In essence, the Lord Jesus Christ was the Sacrificial Lamb by whom “atonement” was made for the sins of all who will believe, and who  gave Himself as that sacrificial Lamb on “Passover” in spite of the efforts of the Jewish religious leaders to prevent it, “But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people,” Matthew 26:5.  What those religious leaders of the Jews did not realize was that Christ Jesus had a “Divine Appointment” to die for the sins of humanity, and no mere man, religious or otherwise, was able to keep Him from dying on the exact day God had appointed for Him “before the foundation of the world,” Ephesians 1:4.  Glory to God!  Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!   Thank you Father God!  Thank you precious Lord Jesus! 
     It is then glaringly obvious that Christ Jesus fulfilled the Jewish Holy Day of Passover at His first coming. 

     Unleavened Bread…….This holy day began the day following Passover and lasted for seven days.  During these days the bread that the Jews ate was “unleavened.”  This literally means that their bread contained no form of yeast or leavening in it which would cause the bread to ferment and rise.  “Leaven” is a type of sin, and is so used throughout the Scriptures.  But Christ Jesus was the sinless Son of God who laid down His life at Calvary as the sinless, innocent, sacrifice to pay the sin debt of a lost world.  Because He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” Philippians 2:5-8, Father God “raised Him up,”  in a state of sinless perfection.  Christ Jesus Himself is the “unleavened bread” which every true believer is to spiritually feed their soul upon daily and often,  Matthew 4:4, John 6:32-33; 6:35; 6:48-51; 6:57-58; 1 Peter 2:2-3.
     “7” is the Bible number signifying “perfection; completeness.”  Only in receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior and “feeding” our soul upon Him and His Word do we receive eternal life, John 3:16.               
     It should be glaringly obvious to every reader that Christ Jesus Himself  fulfilled this Jewish holy day of “unleavened bread” at His first coming.    

     First fruits…….This holy day was to always be observed by the Jews on “the morrow after the Sabbath” following Passover, Leviticus 23:9-14.  This means the weekly Sabbath day following the Passover.  The religious Jews do not and have not always followed this command plainly and explicitly given in their own Jewish Bible.  I can find no reason for their failure to obey this command other than to avoid the force of what the command obeyed actually revealed about Christ being their Messiah.    
      In the year Christ died, the Passover fell on Wednesday of that week.  This is not just my guess!  Any reader, if they are a careful student of the Scriptures, can study this out for themselves in their own Bible by comparing all four of the gospel records of the Lord’s final week.  Christ was crucified on Wednesday!  The so-called “Good Friday” crucifixion is an invention of the harlot religion of Rome, and has no basis whatsoever in God’s Word.  
     Since the inspired Word makes it clear that Christ was crucified on Wednesday, then it is obvious that the following Saturday was the weekly Jewish Sabbath Day.   But this “feast of first fruits” was to be observed on “the morrow after the Sabbath.”  That day then would obviously be Sunday, or as the Bible puts it, “the first day of the week,” Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1. Christ, our Lord, arose from the grave exactly as the Jewish Sabbath Day [Saturday] was ending and “the first day of the week” [Sunday] was beginning. Once again, the Saturday resurrection of Christ is an invention of the Roman whore religious system.  Study and stay with what God’s Word actually and literally states and teaches instead of following the vain theories of men.  
     The “first fruits” observance is a vivid type of the resurrection of Christ and of those who came out of their graves after His resurrection, Matthew 27:52-53; 1 Corinthians 15:20.  On that same Sunday morning that Christ arose, and was before the Father in Heaven [John 20:11-18] presenting His precious blood and the first fruit saints, the Jewish priest was in the Temple waving a “sheaf of first fruits” of the harvest before the mercy seat, “to be accepted for you,” Leviticus 23:10-11. Glory to God!  Hallelujah!
 Praise the Lord!  Every true believer has been accepted “in Christ Jesus” by our Father in Heaven.   It then ought to be glaringly obvious to every reader that the Lord fulfilled this holy day at His first coming.  Glory to God!  

     The Day of Pentecost…..Because the Jews calendar is based on a lunar year rather than a solar year, this holy day varies from year to year.  But the Word of God is very specific that it is to be observed on “the morrow after the sabbath” exactly fifty days after “first fruits,” Leviticus 23:15-22.
     During the personal ministry of Christ, He explicitly told His Disciples, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever: Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” John 14:16-17.  
     Obviously the Father heard the prayer of His Son to send the Holy Spirit to be the Comforter of all those who place their faith in Christ, for on the day of Pentecost, on another beautiful Sunday morning, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon the Lord’s church as clearly recorded in Acts 2.  Hallelujah!  Glory to God!  Praise the Lord!  
     Therefore, once again Christ Jesus fulfilled this holy day of Pentecost to the letter at His first coming.  

     Purim…..This holy day was added on the occasion of the deliverance from death at the hands of Haman, as recorded in the Book of Esther.  Haman the Agagite was a type of every oppressor in the history of the Jewish people who have wanted to exterminate them as a race from off the face of the earth, but Haman was especially a type of the coming anti-christ.   The numerical value of the words, “Haman” and “Hammedatha,” assigning the numerical value of “6” to each letter in ascending order is 666.  The day of Purim was established as a day of rejoicing for the Jews having been delivered from Haman’s plot of genocide against them.   Imagine, if you can, the rejoicing among the Jews, and even among the surviving Gentiles, when the plot of Satan and the anti-christ is foiled by the return of Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord at the end of the Tribulation.   Glory to God!                 

     Dear readers, out of the nine Jewish Holy Days listed at the beginning of this study, I have given our readers Scriptural proof that eight of them were fulfilled by Christ at His first coming.   Therefore, the claim that Christ fulfilled the Spring holy days at His first coming, but must fulfill the Fall holy days at His second coming is nothing more than human opinion. Christ Jesus fulfilled every one of these holy days at His first coming as noted in this study.   
     It is even possible that Christ may have fulfilled all nine of these holy days at His first coming, if we consider that all of us were under the sentence of death as the wages of our sin [Romans 3:23; 6:23], but by His own death He set us all free to choose life, John 8:31-36.  Think about it! 

However Israel and the Jews must fulfill the Holy Days

     The Scripture is quite clear that unbelieving Israel and the Jewish people must fulfill each of these appointed holy days at some point in their history, Jeremiah 5:24.  Due to a lack of serious Bible study, and Jewish history, here is where some believers get “fouled up” on these holy days.  It is not Christ who
must fulfill the Fall holy days, since He has already fulfilled all of the holy days at His first coming.  Rather, it is Israel and the Jewish people who must fulfill the holy days.  The careful student of Jewish and Biblical history knows that Israel and the Jewish people have already fulfilled some of the holy days in their history.  Which holy days have they fulfilled, and which remain to be fulfilled?  Let’s see…..

     The Passover…..It should be obvious that the Jews have already fulfilled the Passover, when they seized the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and crucified Him with wicked hands, Acts 2:22-24. 

     Unleavened Bread…..It appears that this holy day was also fulfilled by the Jewish disciples of Christ, the Jewish “remnant” for that time, as they began immediately after Passover to feed themselves spiritually upon “the gospel of Christ,” Romans 11:1-5. 

     First fruits…..It also appears that the Jews fulfilled this holy day, since those disciples which came out
of their graves after the resurrection of Christ were obviously Jewish believers who had passed away.

     Pentecost…..On the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, Peter’s message was directed specifically towards the Jewish nation and people.  “…Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:,” Acts 2:14.  “Ye men of Israel, hear these words:  Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know,” Acts 2:22.  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36.  “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, [Jewish people] and to all that are afar off, [the Gentiles] even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” Acts 2:39.  
    It then appears that Israel and the Jewish people may have fulfilled the Day of Pentecost as a Jewish “remnant” of some 3,000 Jewish people responded to Peter’s message that day, Acts 2:41.

     These are the four Jewish holy days that may have already been fulfilled by Israel and the Jewish people.  But now let’s look at the remaining Jewish holy days which it appears have not been fulfilled by the Jewish people…..

     Rosh Ha-Shanah…..Some of God’s people have convinced themselves that this just has to be the day the rapture of New Covenant believers takes place.  Why so?  It is a Jewish holy day, so why should it not
be fulfilled by the Jews?  I would point out to our readers that the resurrection of the Jews does not take place at the same time the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers occurs.  A careful study of
Daniel 11:44-45 through 12:1-2 indicates that the resurrection of the Old Covenant Jews will occur sometime around the middle of the Tribulation period.  Is it possible that this might be on or in connection with Rosh Ha-Shanah, the first day of the 7th month on the Jewish sacred calendar?   I am not dogmatically claiming that this will be the case, but is it possible?   Will the blowing of trumpets on that day announce the salvation of a Jewish “remnant?”   Compare Psalm 115-116, which correlates with 2015 and 2016, approximately the middle of the Tribulation.  It is obvious from Psalm 116:1 that a “remnant” of the Jews have been saved and are giving praise to the Lord God for having heard their “prayer.”   Would the salvation of that Jewish “remnant” at or near Rosh Ha-Shanah not be an occasion for blowing trumpets and rejoicing before the Lord?   Think about it! 

     The Day of Atonement……Any reader who has carefully studied these Jewish holy days knows that there is a seven day period between the two day celebration of Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur, the great Day of Atonement.  This seven day period is referred to by the religious Jews as the “Seven Days of Awe.”  During these seven days the Jews afflict their souls and confess their sins before the God of Israel and ask for His mercy upon them.   These seven days are a perfect type of the seven year Tribulation period, which is brought to an end by the Great Day of Atonement.  Any reader with spiritual discernment should then recognize the Day of Atonement as a type of the last day of the Tribulation period when the Lord returns and the final great battle of Armageddon takes place.   It is more than “coincidence” that the Lord God Himself refers to this last great battle as “the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion,” Isaiah 34:8.  In other words, Israel and the Jewish people will fulfill the Day of Atonement as they fight against their enemies assisted by the Lord God Himself, just as they have fulfilled other holy days before this one.  Compare Zechariah 14:1-7.  

     The Feast of Tabernacles…..Five days after the Great Day of Atonement the redeemed Jewish “remnant” will observe the Feast of Tabernacles by literally building “booths” to shelter them from the heat of the Sun and to live in until they can rebuild their homes.  Read Hosea 2:14-18.  Most of the redeemed Jewish “remnant” will be in the wilderness at that time, for that will be their location at the end
of the Tribulation.  To the mountains in the wilderness is where the Lord instructed them to flee to when they see the “abomination of desolation” set up during the Tribulation, Matthew 24:15-16; Mark 13:14;
Ezekiel 20:33-38.  There in the wilderness the Lord God will make a covenant with “the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven” so that they will not harm the redeemed Jewish “remnant” as they lay sleeping in their “booths” in the woods.  Read it for yourself in Hosea 2:14-18.   So this Jewish festival is to be literally fulfilled by the redeemed Jewish “remnant” at or near the end of the Tribulation. 

     Hanakkuh…..It should be obvious to any reader that the Millennial Temple will be rebuilt during the Millennial Kingdom exactly as described in Ezekiel, chapters 40 – 48.  At some point the Jewish priests will relight the Menorah again in that glorious Temple, never to go out ever again, thus fulfilling the Jewish holy day of Hanakkuh.  

     What this amounts to is that Israel and the Jewish people will ultimately fulfill all of the Jewish holy days exactly as required by God’s inspired Word in Jeremiah 5:24.  Glory to God!  Hallelujah! 


     In this study I have demonstrated by Scripture that Christ Jesus fulfilled each of these Jewish holy days at His first coming.  The claim then that Christ cannot come for His New Covenant believers any time other than on one of the Fall holy days is pure fiction.  
     Since it is explicitly stated in the Scriptures that the holy days are “a shadow of things to come,” Colossians 2:16-17, then they obviously are “prophetic,” and the Lord is obviously working out His great
end-time plan using the holy days as His outline.   This in no way compels the Lord to come or not to come on or before a certain holy day.  The Lord is the Son of God, and He can and will come on whatever day has been appointed to Him of His Father in Heaven, John 5:19; 8:28-29.   
     As I write, I am “watching” for the coming of my precious Savior and Lord with every passing day and night, just as the Scriptures instruct God’s people to do, Mark 13:35-37. I do not know the “date” when the Lord is coming, and am not even trying to find a “date.”  Rather, I am “watching” day by day just as the inspired Word instructs God’s people to do.  Are you watching?  I suggest that every reader study again Titus 2:11-15 and put into practice exactly what “grace” teaches the true believer to be doing daily.  
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     Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written
     This ministry is supported solely by the free will offerings of those readers who believe themselves to be “led of the Lord” to help us send forth God’s wonderful Word.
      Please address all questions, comments, and correspondence to:  Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or to:  fmr7sngn@centurylink.net

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