- ROCK ROAD RABBI TOURS
- PRAYER REQUEST
- PRAISE REPORT
Many ask each year: What are the Jewish Fall Holidays or Biblical Holidays? Here is an overview from a messianic perspective:
In Leviticus 23, we read about three holidays, commonly referred to as the “fall feasts.” The underlying fact that we should always keep in mind is that Scripture clarifies that these special seasons are not merely “Jewish” holidays—they are the Lord’s! In the opening of that chapter, Adonai clearly states: “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, and tell them: These are the appointed moadim of Adonai, which you are to proclaim to be holy convocations—My moadim” (Lev 23:3/TLV).
It is important to remember that all biblical holidays begin at sundown on the specified start date and conclude at sundown on the specified end date. This is because of the creation account in Genesis “So there was evening and there was morning—one day.”
The Biblical Calendar is both Solar and Lunar in nature with twelve months, with each month consisting of either twenty-nine or thirty days. The Biblical and Jewish Calendar year, recognized as 5784, 5785, and so on, begins with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah and concludes shortly before the next Rosh Hashanah (Head of Creation). This calendar enables the Jewish community to track the passage of time while also observing important religious holidays and festivals. Speaking of the End Times, Jewish Tradition suggests that the Messiah must come before the year 6,000. 2 Peter 3:8 and creation speaks of 6 days.
The first holiday is Rosh Hashanah, which marks the beginning of a new year (civil) by blowing the shofar (ram’s horn). And blow the shofar they do—one hundred times over the course of this special day! For this reason, it is also called the “Feast of Trumpets.” The ram’s horn is a “spiritual alarm clock,” calling on God’s people to awake from their spiritual slumber. Rosh Hashanah is a time to fix one’s attention on their soul’s state in preparation for the next feast (more on that in a minute).
The main theme of Rosh Hashanah is RETURN, or in Hebrew, teshuva (repentance). The shofar is calling us back to the Lord and rousing us in preparation for a divine encounter.
Speaking of divine encounters, Rosh Hashanah prophetically points to Messiah’s return, an event we often call His “Second Coming.” In this sense, it’s not just about our return to God, but His return to us. I’m sure you’re familiar with these words from Paul the Apostle: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed” (1 Cor 15:51-52/TLV).
Incredible! This holiday of the shofar and returning points to that final shofar that will announce Yeshua – Jesus’ return.
The next holiday is Yom Kippur, which comes ten days after Rosh Hashanah. This is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. It was the only day of the year that the high priests could enter the Holy of Holies—the only day when they could speak the divine name (YHWH). The central ceremony of Yom Kippur features a “scapegoat” and the shedding of blood to make atonement for the sins of the nation. Hence, we also refer to Yom Kippur as the “Day of Atonement.”
The main theme of Yom Kippur is REDEMPTION. Sin produces separation from God and one another. On the Day of Atonement, we experience “at-one-ment.” Leviticus 17 repeatedly says that the “life is in the blood,” and life—connection—is renewed on this holiest of days.
This is a moment to be restored vertically to God but also horizontally to our neighbors.
We both seek to receive and extend forgiveness, for the good of others and ourselves. Forgiveness is not an elective—like Spanish or French in high school—it’s a requirement. Prophetically, it points to the day when all Israel will be saved, and all the nations will worship the one true God.
The third of the fall holidays is Sukkot, named after the portable outdoor dwellings used in its celebration. This is a joyous holiday. Those dwellings commemorate the dwellings of the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. While it’s not uncommon for folks to only see the bad or the hardship in those decades of wandering, this “Feast of Tabernacles” celebrates the faithfulness of God’s Protection, Provision, and Presence during that time. The heat and the elements did not consume them. They ate bread from heaven and drank water from a rock. The Lord was with them in the cloud and the pillar of fire, as well as the Tabernacle itself.
For this reason, the main theme of Sukkot is REJOICING. Some have even suggested the American holiday, Thanksgiving, is modeled after Sukkot! And indeed, following the redemption experienced during Yom Kippur, we have much to be thankful for on this holiday.
There is an incredible connection between Sukkot and the life of Yeshua. John’s Gospel tells us: “On the last and greatest day of the Feast [Sukkot], Yeshua stood up and cried out loudly, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink’” (John 7:37 TLV). At a time when the Jews would’ve been commemorating the life-giving water their parents drank in the wilderness, this Prophet from Nazareth offered them “living water”! Not to mention that Paul would later identify the source of that life-giving water in the wilderness: “they were drinking from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the Rock was Messiah” (1 Cor 10:4/TLV).
Returning. Redemption. Rejoicing. These themes are central to vibrant life in the Spirit. They are gifts from our Father in heaven (see James 1:17) for all of His children! To dismiss these moments as ethnic holidays is to miss out on the fullness of the inheritance that is ours in Yeshua our Messiah.
These holidays are not an obligation—they’re an invitation…come, join us!
On October 7th, 2023, the Hamas massacre in Israel occurred on the Civil Calendar, coinciding with Shemini Atzeret 5784.
Shemini Atzeret is a Jewish holiday that takes place on the biblical calendar day of Tishrei 22. It is a unique festival that occurs right after the seven-day holiday of Sukkot. The name Shemini Atzeret translates to “the eighth day of assembly” in Hebrew.
Although it is commonly mistaken as a part of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret is actually a separate holiday. It is considered a special day of reflection and connection with God. On Shemini Atzeret, Jewish communities gather in synagogues to pray and offer thanksgiving for the harvest season. It is also a time to recite special prayers for rain, as this marks the beginning of the rainy season in the land of Israel.
The holiday of Shemini Atzeret holds significant spiritual importance in Jewish tradition. It is believed that on this day, God invites the Jewish people to spend an extra day in His presence. It is seen as a final opportunity to express devotion and experience a closer connection with God before transitioning into ordinary daily life.
During Shemini Atzeret, a special prayer, known as Yizkor, is recited by those who have lost loved ones. Yizkor is a moment of remembrance and a way to honor the memory of departed family members. Additionally, the holiday is characterized by joyous celebrations, festive meals, and traditional customs.
In summary, Shemini Atzeret is a distinct Jewish holiday that occurs after Sukkot. It serves as a day of reflection, connection with God, and gratitude for the harvest season. Through prayers, remembrance, and festivities, this special holiday holds a significant place in Jewish tradition and biblical understanding and offers an opportunity for selah, renewal.
Aligning with God’s Appointed Times: Discover the Prophetic and Spiritual Meaning of the Biblical Holidays, we introduce ourselves to our faith’s Jewish roots and gain a heightened biblical perspective as we practice the same traditions and rituals Yeshua-Jesus embraced. We begin to see His life and ministry from a different viewpoint, through Jewish eyes.
Understanding and celebrating Jewish biblical holidays is transformational. We can ignite a fire that renews and transforms us as we combine Old Testament tradition with a fiery desire to go more deeply into the blessings God has for us and abide more deeply in Jesus Messiah.
Journey Deeper with me, Rabbi Jason Sobel, through Aligning with God’s Appointed Times: Discover the Prophetic and Spiritual Meaning of the Biblical Holidays.
"A new perspective for Christians or Gentile believers. Excellent discussions."
What is Fusion with Rabbi Jason?
It is in looking back at what God has done that we can see forward to His future plans for us. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jer 29:11.
At Fusion Global with Rabbi Jason Sobel, we want to add definition to your faith as we restore the lost connection to our ancient roots and rediscover our forgotten inheritance.