Shabbat is the foundation for the Observant Jewish Orthodoxy’s life and has been for millennia. Not only is Shabbat a Mitzva (commandment) to celebrate with rest and in peace, but would it surprise you if I were to tell you that without Shabbat, WE COULD NOT HAVE THE FEASTS?
There is a relatively simple illustration that shows you why Shabbat is the center of their spiritual and daily lives. Consider with me the following Festivals by name, what they mean, and where Shabbat sits within these set times. I will only focus on the original seven, Purim and Hanukah added during the inter-testament period.
SHABBAT – Day of Rest
Leviticus 23:3 – ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation…’
It is important to note that the New Testament never negates Shabbat on the seventh day. So, likewise, it does not nullify the TaNaKh in any way. However, for this article, an understanding of the importance of Shabbat is necessary to understanding the MOEDIM, Set Times, which Jesus celebrated as a Cultural Jew and as the Spiritual King of Israel.
- 1. ROSH HASHANA– Feast of Trumpets (The gates to Heaven are opened). It was the day when G-d’s verdict for Israel was issued. First, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish Civil Calendar, not the Festival Calendar (with Spring Festivals). Secondly, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the “sowing of seeds” for the fall harvest. Finally, it is the only Feast Day celebrated over 48 hours—but still considered a 24-hour day. On the Great Rosh Hashanna to come, it is the day of the ingathering when those who have been found not guilty are taken up to Shamayim to worship Messiah Jesus with the cloud of witnesses.
Leviticus 23:23-25 – 23Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a shabbat, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.’
- 2. YOM KIPPUR –The Day of Atonement (The gates to Heaven are closed). I hope you will also see that this is not about G-d’s Judgement but the coming of Yeshua, Jesus, the King. Yom Kippur is about intercession! Someone needed to intercede on behalf of man who sinned and sins against God. This is the day that HaShem hands down the sentence for corruption. On the GREAT YOM KIPPUR to come, this is the Great White Throne and Bema Seat Judgments.
Leviticus 23:26-28 26The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. 28You shall not do any work on this same day [shabbat], for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God…”
- 3. SUKKOT – The Feats of Booth’s (Our wedding chamber with Jesus the Messiah). This is a seven-day feast with a special celbration on day seven known as Hoshana Rabbah – The Great Salvation. Hoshana Rabbah G-d carries out the Judgment on those who have not repented and the Wicked who refuse Him. In the GREAT SUKKOT to come, this will be the moment when Jesus takes His bride into the bridal chamber and before the Wedding Supper of The Lamb.
Leviticus 23:33-36 – 33Again, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the Lord. 35On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 36For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord…”
- 3. HAG MATZOS – The Feast of Unleavened Bread – removal of sin from the home and heart. Most know this from Rav Shaul, or as he is known in Christendom, The Apostle Paul in Galatians Chapter Five. While most Christians are unfamiliar with the practices of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag Matzot) – חג מצות, we readily celebrate at least one commandment from the feast, the eating of bread without yeast. Jesus has already celebrated THE GREAT HAG MATZOS as we tried by the Scribes, the Sanhedrin, and Pontious Pilate. HE was found to have no leaven (sin) in him and was proven innocent, leading Him to become the true Korban Pesach (Passover Offering).
Exodus 12:15 – Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day [shabbat], that person shall be cut off from Israel.
- 4. Pesach – Passover – Sacrifice of The Lamb of G-d. Perhaps the most known Feast Day in Christendom, Passover is about Messiah’s sacrifice as the GREAT SIN SUBSTITUTE! His sacrifice on the cross overcame Sin, Corruption, and Degradation. It gave us freedom, healing, and closeness with G-d we could never achieve on our own.
Leviticus 23:4-8 4 “‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work [shabbat]. 8 For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’”
- 5. HAG HABIKKURIM – Feast of First Fruits – The Resurrection from the grave. What many people don’t realize is that this Feast is the beginning of the barley harvest. It is most well known in Ruth. This is when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem – gleaning the fields – meeting boaz. Not only was Jesus resurrected on the Feast of Fiurst Fruits, but He began His ministry to the JEws for forty days. The barley harvested on First Fruits has always been indicative of the JEw, while wheat of the gentile. This is what prompted Rav Shaul to write, “it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile.” ROM 1:16
Leviticus 23:4-8 9 The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.…”
- 6. SHAVUOT – Feast of Weeks – Hearing and Obeying the Word and Call of G-d. Incorrectly known as Pentecost and speaking in tongues, Shavuot is the celebration of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. In correlation to First Fruits, we find that G-d empowers Israel to carry the gospel to the four corners of the earth. The three thousand saved on Shavuot were the Jews entrusted to bring the message to the world.
Exodus 34: 21-22 21“1You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest [shabbat]; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest. 22You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year…”
The above scripture references the Mitzvot concerning the Moedim, and we find that all are considered Shabbat. Therefore, even if it falls during the week, it will be celebrated as if it were on the seventh day.
Remember that Hebrew is read from right to left. As such, we see the outline of the Festival Calendar, which begins with the Passover season.
While on earth, Jesus embodied and indeed fulfilled the first three Feast Days. This does not nullify them but instead makes them a celebration as opposed to a rehearsal.
He practiced the Spiritual Law Rav Shaul later refers to in 1 COR 15:46. The Natural must proceed the Spiritual. So we find that the first three Feast Days, the Passover Season, are about our Cleansing from sin and shame, Freedom, liberty, and healing from oppression and strongholds of the flesh.
Finally, our Salvation is sealed, and forgiveness is made complete on earth. The resurrection freed us from death so that THOSE WHO CHOOSE HIM will have everlasting life as Spiritual descendants of Abraham.
During Hag Matzos, Jesus was tested and found clean and pure MATT 22:15-45. After His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He cleanses the Temple during Hag Matzos. MATT 21:12-17 This ensured that He was the true Passover Lamb. After His crucifixion and resurrection, we gained the ability to overcome spiritual death through His sacrifice and Natural death.
Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, celebrates the 40 days of Resurrection before Jesus ascended from the Mountain. During this time, he spoke with, preached to, and showed Himself to those who would receive Him. Shavuot was His Descent on Jerusalem to fulfill His promise not to leave nor forsake us. John 15:26-27 is clear that The Spirit is sent, first to those with Him (His followers-Jews) and then for those who would believe in Him yet have not seen him. (JN 20:29)
The Fall Festivals, Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, are dependent on the Temple. Jesus was able to embody and fulfill the first three feasts during the second temple era. When Titus Flavius Vespasianus (future Ceasar of the Roman Empire) destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, it began a period in Jewish History of preparation, repentance, and acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah.
G-d will finally finish His angst with Israel during the High Holy Days. Beginning with Rosh Hashanna, he will gather the Assembly of Believers (REV Chapter 7). Then, on Yom Kippur, he will pass judgment on those who have denied him during the High Holy Days (REV Chapter 11).
Finally, on Sukkot, Messiah takes us to the Bridal Chamber (REV 7:6-7) and then to the Wedding Supper of The Lamb (REV Chapter 19).
You may notice that I haven’t mentioned two Feasts that are celebrated today. The Menorrah was chnaged to add two more branches known as The Feats of Purim (lots) and Hanukkah. These two days are inter testament additions to celebrate Jewish Deliverance at the hands of Pagans. Hanukkah, however with lighting the candles, shows us how Shabbat is the Foundation for all festivals, and show JEsus as the great Servant of all mankind (IS 42:1).
It is known as the Shamash Candle or the Servant Candle. By design, the center stem and candle are what provide security and strength to the other branches. From the center candle comes the light which illuminates each Feast in the eyes of those who wish to see G-d’s Truth and Perfection. Lighting the candles from right to left, we see that the first three candles lit were the spring Feast days. The day’s Messiah fulfilled and embodied with Death, Burial, and Resurrection – The Second Temple Era.
The fourth candle lit is for Shavuot, where the Light of Life shines through as The Living Word (JN 1:12).
The final three are the Fall Festivals still to be completed. When illuminated, it shows what was, is, and is to come. IT’s a reminder to continue to rehearse the Feast so that when The GREAT COMING OF MESSIAH, JESUS, happens, we will be prepared, alert, and welcoming.
We can conclude that Shabbat is G-d’s way of continually showing Himself to us as The Light of The World. When we rest to celebrate with family and friends on Friday Nights, we come into His presence. The light shines in the darkness. We fellowship in G-d’s word, prayer, and Worship. Mostly, it is a time of preparation for the GREAT SHABBAT when He comes for us. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak u’varuch!!!!