The Festivals of the Bible are the “Appointed Times” of the LORD. The festival rituals teach prophecy. A festival day that falls on a Sabbath is called a High Sabbath.
While Leviticus outlines the seven core festivals that are still practiced by the orthodox Jews of today, the Essene calendar derived from the Dead Sea Scrolls add eight more to the list. Two of the eight overlap with the seven from Leviticus, leaving us with thirteen holy days.
The complete list of festivals, and their dates on the Essene calendar are:
|New Year’s Day, Spring Day of Remembrance||Nisan 1||Wednesday|
|Unleavened Bread||Nisan 15-21||Wednesday-Tuesday|
|First Fruits of the Barley Harvest||Nisan 26||Sunday|
|Summer Day of Remembrance||Tammuz 1||Wednesday|
|Festival of New Wine||Av 3||Sunday|
|Festival of New Oil||Elul 22||Sunday|
|Wood Offering||Elul 23-28||Sunday - Saturday|
|Feast of Trumpets, Fall Day of Remembrance||Tishrei 1||Wednesday|
|Day of Atonement||Tishrei 10||Friday|
|Tabernacles||Tishrei 15-21||Wednesday - Tuesday|
|Winter Day of Remembrance||Tevet 1||Wednesday|
We will explore the significance of each of these festivals, and the rituals performed on them.
New Year’s Day / Spring Day of Remembrance
- Commemorated by Noah
- Families gather for a feast and fellowship
- Focus on the Testaments of the Patriarchs
- Memorize prophecy
- Day God commanded Noah to build the ark (Book of Jubilees)
- Day the waters of the flood receded and the earth became dry (Book of Jubilees)
- Passover Lamb depicts the death of the Messiah for our sins (John 1:29)
- Paul commands us to remember the Messiah’s sacrifice
- Focus on righteousness and repentance
- The leaven represented sin and we should purge ourselves of sin
The high priest would go to Bethany on the 10th of Nisan to choose and unblemished lamb and bring it to the temple to be inspected for four days. Pilgrims would line the streets as the lamb entered the Eastern Gate, wave palm branches, and say
Baruch Ha Shem Adonai which means “Blessed be the Name of the LORD” or “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD” (Psalms 118: 26-26).
The Lamb was tied to one of the horns of the altar at 9 AM on the 14th of Nisan. The priest would slay the lamb at 3 PM and say
It is finished!
Jesus left Lazarus’ house in Bethany on Nisan 10 to go teach in the temple. At the temple, the scribes ask Him their hardest questions, were amazed at his answers, and said
never a man spoke as this Man
He celebrated the last supper with his disciples on Passover, Tuesday evening, Nisan 14 (the Jewish day begins and ends at 6 PM in the evening). Later that night, he was betrayed, arrested, tried, and convicted of blasphemy.
Yeshua, the unblemished lamb, was tied to the cross at 9 AM and died at 3 PM on Wednesday, Nisan 14. He was both the high priest (Melchizedekian) and the sacrifice when he said
It is finished!
- 7 day festival
- Jesus was buried during the festival on Wednesday night and resurrected three days later, on Saturday morning (Matthew 12:40)
- He was already risen on Sunday morning, Nisan 19, when the women went to visit him.
- The festival teaches us to put away sin
- Jesus fulfilled prophecy during the festival when he died and resurrected for our sins.
First Fruits of the Barley Harvest
- Falls on the Sunday following the week of unleavened bread (and not on the Sunday following passover as the pharisees teach).
- Jesus did not permit Mary to touch him on the 19th (John 20:17), but permitted Thomas to touch him eight days later (John 20:27), after the Atonement was complete and he had ascended to our Father in Heaven
- After the grape and olive harvest, the first fruits are “atoned for”, meaning the first fruits are tithed, and everyone could not partake of the crops
- This kind of atonement is to set people or things apart for holy service (Exodus 29:33-37, Leviticus 16:33)
- The Pentecost is when we confess and repent of our sins committed during the year, rededicate our lives and family to God and His Word, and thank him for the covenant of our age.
- 50th day after the First Fruits of the Barley Harvest
- Called Shavout in Hebrew, of the “Festival of Weeks”
- Essenes taught this as the “Festival of Oaths” because this was the time God entered into covenants with his people
- The Pentecost prophecies the new nature given by the Holy Spirit, and is the single most important festival to the Essenes
- The Adamic (~pre-Flood), Noahide (1657 AM), Abrahamic (2018 AM), and Mosaic Covenants (2448 AM), the Covenant of Grace (3957 AM) and the Millennial Covenant (6000 AM) all happened or will happen on Pentecost
- There are exactly 1335 days between Tabernacles and Pentecost
- Daniel 12:12 and the 1335 days refers to those who miss the Rapture, survive the tribulation period, and make it to the Pentecost following Christ’s Second Coming
Summer Day of Remembrance
- Recalls the time when the waters of Noah’s flood were stopped
- Like other Days of Remembrance, the day is for family gatherings, feasts, repentance and studying prophecy.
Festival of the First Fruits of New Wine
- The only Scripture that refers to this festival is Judges 21
- The Feast of New Wine is a celebration of the grape harvest, and a time for weddings
- On this day, a couple could get married without parental consent
- Paints a picture of the Messiah snatching away his bride at the Rapture of the Church
- Just as marriage is dedication to one spouse, the Festival of New Wine teaches that the Holy Spirit indwelt believer needs to be completely dedicated to God, just as Jesus is wholly sanctified to his bride, the Church. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
- The believer becomes one body, neither Jew nor Greek but Christian (Matthew 19:5-6)
- Jesus turned water to wine at the wedding in Cana on the Festival of New Wine (John 2:1)
- The Marriage supper of the Lamb shows this dedication (Ephesians 5:26)
- The 144,000 are First Fruits, not of the Barley Harvest, but of the New Wine grape harvest (Revelation 14:4)
Festival of the First Fruits of New Oil
- Oil is used in lamps to create light
- Oil is also used to anoint kings, priests and temple utensils to make them holy
- The sick are anointed with oil
- James refers to God as the “Father of Lights” (James 1:17-18)
- We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16)
- The Festival of New Oil completes the process of spiritual maturity, by letting our light shine and witnessing to the gentiles
- Begins the day after the Festival of New Oil and lasts for six days
- Each day, two tribes would bring tithes of wood offerings for the sacrifices for next year
- Levi and Judah, Benjamin and Joseph, Reuben and Simeon, Issachar and Zebulum, Gad and Asher, Dan and Naphtali
- Little else is known about the festival of wood offering, and the day may or may not be prophetic
Feast of Trumpets, Fall Day of Remembrance
- Also called “The Last Trump” or the festival of Rosh Hashanah
- Called “Yom Teruah”, or “the Day of the Awakening Blast” (Numbers 29:1)
- Also called “Yom HaKeseh”, or “the Day of Concealment”, signifying the concealment of the church from the tribulation by the Rapture
- This is a two day festival, so if the Rapture were to occur on this day, no one would know the day or hte hour
- Also called “Yom HaMalek” or “the Day of the King”. It is the time of the Messiah’s coronation, and the beginning of His Kingdom (the Second Coming)
- The coronation of a new King in Israel would always be on this day. Psalm 45 would be read, and the king would always have his bride with him (signifying the presence of the Raptured church at the Second Coming).
- The awakening blast would be from a shofar for an army to wake up and prepare for the day’s battle
- This will also be the day of the resurrection of the dead (at the same time as the Rapture) (1 Corinthians 15:22)
- Also called “Yom HaZikkaron” or “the Day of Remembrance”. This is a remembrance of “the four days of remembrance” commanded by Noah (Leviticus 23:24), which starts on this day
- The seven days between Trumpets and Yom Kippur are called Yamin Noraim, or “the days of awe”, signifying the seven year tribulation period (Joel 2:11)
Day of Atonement
- Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaches of the Second Coming and the destruction of the Antichrist.
- At the Second Coming, the Antichrist will be destroyed in Meggido in a battle called Armageddon
- The ritual of the two goats (Leviticus 16) is performed on this day.
- The identical goats signify that the Antichrist will be indistinguishable from the Messiah to those who do not study prophecy!
- Seven day festival
- Called “the Festival of In-gathering” because it begins with a great supper (the marriage supper of Lamb’s wedding with the bride - the Church)
- The Israelites would take the second tithe and prepare a great feast every three years (Deuteronomy 14)
- 70 burnt offerings were offered in the temple for the 70 Gentile nations
- The four species ritual with the Lulov and etrog is performed (Leviticus 23:40)
- Each Israelite family builds a tent from the four species, called the Sukkah, and lives in it for seven days (Leviticus23: 40-43)
- Each day, an extra place is set at the table for an additional guest, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and so on. This teaches us that in the 1000 year reign, mortals and immortals will dwell together.
- In contrast, the Antichrist and his followers will partake in the feast of the Leviathan (the Antichrist). Their flesh will be for the birds to feast on. (Revelation 19:17-18)
- The ritual of Beit HaShoevah - House of the Water Pouring - is performed every day during the festival, and Isaiah 12:1-6 is sung by the people. The word “salvation” here is “Yeshua”, the Hebrew name for Jesus.
- The last day of Sukkot was “the Great Day”, Hoshana Rabbah (John 7:37-39)
- The ceremony teaches about the Messianic Kingdom, and the pouring of living water (water and wine) to cleanse the temple. Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine, showed that he was the fulfilment of this ceremony.
- The Festival of Tabernacles will be called the Festival of Nations during the 1000 year reign, and all nations will be required to keep it (Zechariah 14:16)
Winter Day of Remembrance
- The tops of the mountains were first seen on this day, as the waters were receding.
- All rituals for the Day of Remembrance are observed.
Festivals in the Calendar
For an overview of how the various festivals fit within the Essene calendar, see the article on the calendar God gave Adam and the Essenes faithfully maintained.