God’s Appointed Holy Days
Many people are not aware that the word holiday comes from the two words, “holy” and “day”. The Creator of the Universe knew that we would need the opportunity to rest and re-create, so He set an example. When He had finished creating the world, He rested.
The following is a list of those opportunities or feasts mentioned in Leviticus chapter 23, and the dates on a Gregorian calendar for the year 2011 on which the feast will be celebrated.
*The feast begins on the evening of the day listed.
- Passover - March 26, 2013
- Unleavened Bread – March 27, 2013 (for one week)
- Wave Offering – March 28, 2013
- Pentecost - May 25, 2013 (on most calendars)
- Day of Blowing – September 5, 2013 (5774)
- Day of Atonement – September 14, 2013
- Feast of Booths – September 19, 2013 (for 8 days)
- Shabbat - Generally, Shabbat’s are weekly, from sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday, but scripturally, the first day of any feast is considered a Shabbat. *Notice* “Shabbat” means a day of complete rest, not the name of a day of the week.
The first “appointment”, the only weekly appointment mentioned in the scripture is called Sabbath, or “Shabbat” in the Hebrew – meaning “complete day of rest”. (Many have the misconception that the word Shabbot, or Sabbath means Saturday. It is important to remember the true meaning when considering the Holy Days)
There are two words throughout Leviticus 23 that are very interesting words. One is feast, and the other is convocation. Convocation means appointment, and feast means rehearsal. It is interesting to note that these holidays can be viewed as — “rehearsals” for “appointments”.
Should you decide to take the time while reading Leviticus 23, to total the number of days that were designated as festivals for the year, you will find that they total approximately 70 days. Of course, this total includes the “one day in seven”.
It is also interesting to note that, in the Book of Leviticus, we are informed, in some cases, of exactly how a holiday is to be observed.
Other Scriptural Feasts -These are mentioned in scripture, but not in Leviticus 23
- Purim - March 16, 2014
- Hanukah - November 28, 2013 (for eight days)
- Rosh Hodesh - A feast to celebrate the first day of each month which was determined by the observance of the new moon.
Why should we celebrate the Feasts?
Psalms 89:15 (in the Amplified Bible) “Blessed-happy, fortunate (to be envied) are people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts) they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance”
Why not? It would seem to me that anyone who truly loves God would be delighted to celebrate a day that He calls a “holiday”. We celebrate and commemorate men and men’s accomplishments. In fact, I don’t think we have forgotten anybody, from children and grandparents to national “nut” week. It seems we constantly look for something to fill our desire to celebrate. In my heart of hearts, I know that if we were to celebrate the feasts that the “One Who Gives Us Breath” has designated, we would find ourselves fulfilled, enlightened and invigorated.
I also found that The Creator didn’t give names to the months and days. He was satisfied to simply call them First, Second, Third etc. Most of the names for the months don’t even appear in scripture. They came from Babylon when the Jews returned from exile.
For those who might be interested the names of the months on the Hebrew calendar, and approximately when they occur on the Gregorian calendar, they are listed as follows:
- 7) Tishri (Sept./Oct.) 1) Nisan (Mar./Apr.)
- 8) Heshvan (Oct./Nov.) 2) Iyar (Apr./May.)
- 9) Kislev (Nov./Dec.) 3) Sivan (May/Jun.)
- 10) Tevet (Dec./Jan.) 4) Tammuz (Jun./Jul.)
- 11) Shvat (Jan./Feb.) 5) Av (Jul./Aug.)
- 12) Adar (Feb./Mar.) 6) Elul (Aug./Sept.)
- *Adar II or Veadar
Since the Hebrew calendar is a combination lunar and solar calendar, each month begins when the new moon appears in Israel. Twelve months is 354 days, not 365, (a difference of eleven (11) days,). It is therefore necessary to add a thirteenth (13th) month (*Adar Second, II or Veadar) approximately every 3 years (or 7 times in 19 years) to keep the seasons falling in the proper months in order to observe the feasts according to scripture. For instance, if Passover were to occur too early in the year, there would not be enough lambs for sacrifice.
I thought it interesting to observe that the feasts seem to be the focus of the calendar. In ancient days, the feasts were really looked forward to because they kept the Hebrews in touch with who they were and Who they belonged to. The New Testament tells us that they are also a way we can know, in part, what God is going to do next. The focus was on The One Who Created Us, not we ourselves.