YAHWEH’S Appointed Times – The Feasts

And YAHWEH spoke to Moshe, saying, “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, and say to them, ‘The appointed times/feasts of YAHWEH, which you shall call holy convocations, they are My feasts.’”

Wayiqra/Leviticus 23:1-2

Shabbat – Sabbath 

Shabbat, the Sabbath day, is a period of time often referred to as “the day of rest.” However, Shabbat is more than just “a day of rest,” for mankind, it is a sign that YAHWEH is the Creator of all that is, and that He is the one who sanctifies us (Bereshith/Genesis 1-2:3; Shemot/Exodus 31:12-17; Yekhezqel/Ezekiel 20:12, 20). Shabbat represents a unique period in time which YAHWEH called the seventh day, “Shabbat,” and it is the only Feast Day specifically included in the Ten Commandments. It is also clear that this unique sign between mankind and YAHWEH represents an everlasting covenant.

The observation of Shabbat varies, but basically follows the same basic pattern. The majority of Shabbat observers begin a few minutes before sunset on the Sixth Day which is Friday, so that candles can be lit, and so some of the males can attend a prayer service a little before sunset at the Synagogue, then return home to the Shabbat meal and festivities. It concludes at sundown on the Seventh Day, but others conclude Shabbat up to an hour after sundown.  

At the Assembly, Shabbat morning (Saturday morning) services begin at 11:00 AM, and continues until sundown. There are blessings and prayers said, singing, praise, reading from the Torah, sermon, discussions, a light lunch around 1 or 2:00 PM, and sometimes a light meal dinner at the conclusion of Shabbat. We have Pot-Luck dishes, where those who desire may prepare a dish to be shared by everyone. 

Pesach and Chag HaMatzoh – Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take from the sheep or from the goats; and you shall safeguard it up until the Fourteenth Day of the same month, then the whole multitude of the people of Yisra’el shall slaughter it in the day. They shall take and apply some of the blood to the two side posts and on the upper door posts of the houses in which they shall eat it. 

They shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted over the fire. They shall eat it with matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but fire-roasted, his head with his legs, and with his inward parts. You shall not let any of it remain until dawn; but whatever remains of it until dawn, you shall burn in the fire. You shall eat it in this manner: your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You shall eat it in haste: YAHWEH’s Pesach (Passover offering).”               Exodus/Shemot 12:5-11

“This day shall be for a memorial to you, and you shall keep it a feast to YAHWEH throughout your generations: You shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.”  Exodus/Shemot 12:14

The Pesach/Passover was slaughtered in the day, “between the evenings,” or “in the midst of the day (morning).” There has been much controversy regarding when the sacrifice is done, but most biblical scholars determined that animals were not slaughtered during darkness, but during day light. The phrase “between the evenings,” references noontime or shortly after the sun starts being viewed toward the western sky as if descending in that direction. The lamb or goat is then prepared and roasted, and the matzah and bitter herbs are prepared: after dusk or twilight, as the night sky appears, the Pesach/Passover feast is eaten. 

YAHWEH spoke to Moses, saying, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘If any man of you or of your generations is unclean by reason of a dead body, or is on a journey far away, he shall still keep the Passover to YAHWEH. In the Second Month, on the Fourteenth Day, in the evening, they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break a bone of it. According to all the statute of the Passover they shall keep it.” Bamidbar/Numbers 9: 9-12

Although the Passover meal originally consisted of the roasted lamb or goat, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs, since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, the rabbis ruled that there could be no sacrifice made, and that a lamb’s shank bone be placed on the table as a reminder, along with other traditions they developed over time. Each Assembly or Synagogue may have different traditions, but most celebrate it with a Seder (“Order”) with a written program called a “Haggadah,” which provides step by step directions of what to do throughout the meal.

Like many celebrating Passover make their own Haggadah, Kingdom Warriors of YAHWEH, An Assembly of YAHWEH has also written one. We recall the story of Exodus and how it correlates to our own history, along with remembering Yahshua and His sacrifice for Passover. Our Seder includes a roasted leg of lamb, homemade unleavened bread, and steamed greens, a homemade Tabouleh salad made with mint and parsley, singing of hymns, blessings, and prayers. There is something for vegetarians and vegans so they can keep the Passover, also. 

On the evening of the Passover meal, which is held on the Fifteenth of the First Month, we begin eating unleavened bread (matzah) with anything we eat, or alone, for a seven-day period. The first day and the seventh day are days where we take off from our regular occupations, because YAHWEH decreed that no work (meaning your regular laborious job) is to be performed. They are considered “sabbaths,” but cooking is done on them. The rest of the days are regular days where work can be accomplished. 

Seifirat Omer and Chag Shavuot – Counting the Omer and Feast Weeks or Pentecost

YAHWEH set the First Month to be used to count days, sabbaths, until the next appointed time of YAHWEH. There are many traditions about when Seifirat Omer – Counting the Omer begins. Some start the count on the Sixteenth Day of the First Month, while others start counting on the First Day after the Sabbath which comes during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We are to count seven Sabbaths from the time of counting for a total of forty-nine days: the first day after the seventh Sabbath marks the Feast of Weeks, or, as it is more commonly called, “Pentecost.” 

Scripture Ref: Wayiqra/Leviticus 23:15-22

Traditions have caused many to use Shavuot/Pentecost as a commemoration of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. At the Assembly, we read and discuss the Book of Ruth and the Book of Acts 1-2. For those who can, we sometimes stay late into the night, in studying, singing, praising, and worshipping our Elohim.

Yom Teruah – Day of Trumpets – Rosh Hashanah 

And YAHWEH spoke to Moshe, saying, “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘In the Seventh Month, in the First of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial of shofar blasts, a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work, but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto YAHWEH. Wayiqra/Leviticus 23:23-25

Yom Teruah or Day of Trumpets is now known as Rosh Hashanah, which means “the head of the year,” and is celebrated as the New Year. It has become traditional to have a large feast, and to attend a service where the shofar can be heard. It is a day of celebration, and we take a deep, serious, look at our lives over the next ten days, through prayer and confession to Elohim. If habits are found within us which needs to be turned away from, we do so with the help of Elohim. Although we do this daily, these days lead up to Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

And YAHWEH spoke to Moshe, saying, “Also, on the Tenth Day of this Seventh Month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy convocation to you, and you shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made by fire to YAHWEH. You shall not do any work in that same day, because it is a Day of Atonement for yourselves before YAHWEH your Elohim. Whatever soul that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be separated from among his people. Wayiqra/Leviticus 23:26-29

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement begins ten days after Rosh Hashanah, and lasts for one day. We meet at the Assembly for prayer, confessing, and to lay prostrate before Elohim. Fasting starts a few minutes before the day begins and ends a few minutes afterwards. The fast lasts for twenty-five hours. Children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who are ill are not required to afflict, or humble themselves with fasting. 

Chag Sukkot  and Shemini Atzeret – Feast of Booths or Tabernacles and The Eighth Day

“Speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘The Fifteenth Day of this Seventh Month shall be the Feast of Booths to YAHWEH for seven days. There shall be a holy convocation on the first day; you shall not do any laborious work. You shall offer a roasted offering to YAHWEH for seven days. On the eighth day shall have a holy convocation and bring a roasted offering to YAHWEH; it is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any laborious work.” Wayiqra/Leviticus 23:34-36 

Chag Sukkot is also known as the “Feast of Booths,” and the “Feast of Tabernacles.” It is one of the three feasts to be kept in a year to YAHWEH; the other two are Chag HaMatzoh – Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks which is also called “Pentecost.” 

This feast commemorates the hasty shelters made of any natural material on hand, like tree limbs, twigs, leaves, and or any other material that a person may have with them. These booths, wiki-ups, hasty shelters, or even a cave with a cloth over the entrance, are temporary. As the children of Yisra’el moved throughout the wilderness, they had no permanent homes like they had in Egypt, so YAHWEH had them live in them. See Wayiqra/Leviticus 23:34-41.

It has become customary to build temporary structures at home, or where the Assembly meets at a campground or on someone’s property. The people work regularly during six of the seven days, and spend the evening in the booth. The first day is a day of no work and gathering of the people. While there, a family studies Torah, especially Deuteronomy, and they have their meals there also. 

Shemini Atzeret – The Eighth Day or the Last Day begins at the end of the seventh day of Sukkot – Booths, and a holy convocation is held, while Deuteronomy is read aloud. It has also become a tradition to celebrate the end of reading of the and Torah cycle by starting over with the new Torah reading cycle.

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