Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Celebrate Passover or Any Biblical Feast?

I feel like I live in exile in a foreign pagan land most days. I'm thinking Babylon fits the description. My feelings match reality unfortunately. The more I study Yahweh's Word, the more I want to live according to His ways, His holy days, His calendar and celebrate those days that He has specifically ordained. It is amazing how pagan most of our traditions are, yet we often continue to celebrate them because tradition is comfortable and familiar. Everyone loves a well worn shoe and I am no different.

While I was aware of the pagan origins of the names of our months of the year and days of the week, it took a lot more time (uh, 20 years give or take) for me to seriously examine the origins of my most favorite holidays (Christmas and Easter). Mostly because I felt I could not possibly fight against something so ingrained into the very fabric of not only my culture but also my family. But also because I was convinced in my own mind and heart that I celebrated these in a way that truly honored Yahweh and eliminated all the secular stuff like Easter bunnies and Santa Claus. We did our best to avoid all of that and concentrate on Yeshua's resurrection at Easter and Messiah's birth on Christmas. So, what could be wrong with that?

 But often when we find the real deal, the genuine article, we are then more willing to give up that which is artificial. Kind of like the difference between margarine and butter, or skim milk and whipping cream! When I started studying and celebrating Passover, Firstfruits, Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles, I began to see the beauty, depth and richness of HIS holy days and everything else just paled in comparison. My thought is that Yahweh really knows how to celebrate! Everything He is and does is beautiful and meaningful and His Feasts are no different. Why mess with the Creator of the Universe and try to make our own holidays when He has already given us such meaningful celebrations that ALL point to Messiah?!

What really shocked me as well was when I read about all the pagan traditions of these days I thought were "christian". I will give a few links and things here to read about the pagan origins of Christmas and Easter as that would take up too much room here to explain. These will just get you started and if you want more, just google the topic and you will be shocked and amazed. There are no spiritually neutral traditions! They are all rooted and grounded in either the Bible or paganism, whether we want to recognize that or not.

Pagan origins of Christmas :

Pagan origins of Easter:

Here is an interesting short 6 minute youtube clip on some of the pagan origins of Easter:

A few years ago I decided our family would stop celebrating Easter and celebrate Passover instead. I could no longer ignore the occultic name of this goddess (astarte) and what she stood for as well as all the traditions of egg dying and try to make it something it just wasn't. I cannot think of one incident in the Scriptures where Yahweh commended or praised His people for turning a pagan holiday into a Hebrew  or biblical celebration. Over and over I see Elohim commanding His chosen ones to be set apart and that included being set apart from the pagan holidays of the nations around them. I heard Him asking me to do the same. He hasn't changed and will never change, He still wants His people following HIM alone and not even saying the name of other gods. Sh'Mot (Exodus) 23:13 says, "And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." Being the very name Easter is a name for another god, I am not to use it or let it come out of my mouth.

It really wasn't until I started studying Leviticus 23, the Feasts of Yahweh and how they related to biblical prophecy that it even occurred to me that Elohim did indeed have His own calendar.  Lev 23:2 says, "Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the L-RD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts." One thing that now really catches my attention is when I see books or comments regarding the "Jewish Feasts". Over and over in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere we see Elohim declaring that these are HIS feasts! Why is this an important distinction? Well, to me it seems that these are appointments on His calendar that are important to Him and for Him and for His people. To say that these are "Jewish Feasts" also implies that gentile, grafted in wildbranches (see Romans 11) are excluded from these celebrations and appointments. But if the truth of the matter is that these are called Adonai's Feasts, then ALL His people (Jew and Gentile alike) are to celebrate them! More importantly, as I embrace these feasts, there is more unity between Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua as Messiah and I am then living out the spiritual reality of our "oneness" and unity in the faith. I can only think of Yeshua's heartfelt prayer in Yochanan (John) 17 to Yahweh when He asked that we would be one as He and the Father are one. How can we be that example in the world when there seems a world of difference in our celebrations? Is this really what Yahweh wants?

Several times in Leviticus (Vayikra) 23, Yahweh states that these feasts of His are to be kept FOREVER and that they are permanent regulations "throughout your generations, no matter where you live" (vs 14, 21, 31, 41). Now, I am a simple person. I like to read the Word of Elohim pretty straightforward. I am not sure how we can define ourselves out of "forever" in all your generations. At this point in my journey with Adonai, I am going to take His Word at face value and keep the Feasts because it clearly states this is a command for all His people, in all generations, no matter where they are scattered throughout the nations. I do not see Yeshua rescinding that command in any way, shape or form. Yeshua kept the Feasts of the Lord and we are to be like Him! What I have found in doing so, is an intimacy with the Messiah I never knew I could experience before. It's like becoming apart of His Hebrew family and traditions on a deeper level. It is in these celebrations and the study of them that has drawn me to discover spiritual truths previously unearthed. I am so grateful and each year, it just gets better!

The word for feasts in verse 2 is mow'ed and is one of my favorite Hebrew words. It means an appointment; a fixed time; to meet at a stated time. The word convocations in Hebrew is miqra and means something called out; a REHEARSAL.  So, inserting these definitions of these Hebrew words back into Lev 23:2 it would read something like this:  Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, concerning the mow'ed (fixed appointment) of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy miqra's (rehearsals), even these are my mow'ed's (fixed appointments). WOW! Two things stand out to me and that is that these are appointments between Elohim and His people Israel. Now I include myself in that because I am grafted into Israel. I feel so very, very blessed to have the Creator of the universe and the Holy One of Israel even make an appointment with me. The last thing I want to do is to miss it, ignore it or forget it exists! Above all things in life, I want to meet with Him and spend time with Him but I don't want it to be just when I feel like it or when I say I am going to do it, but also when Elohim wants me to, when He calls me and desires to have this time with me. He is the boss. He sets the appointments. While I know I can pray, worship and meet with Him at any time, these are fixed appointments on His calendar and He is faithful to keep them. I want to be faithful too.

Secondly, these are rehearsals. Rehearsals for what? Yeshua fulfilled the spring feasts perfectly and on the very day of these fixed appointments. He was inspected and questioned by the leaders as the Lamb going to the slaughter on the 10th of Nisan as the passover lambs were being inspected to see if they met the requirements for being unblemished. Of course Yeshua passed that test. He was crucified on Nisan 14th or Passover as the lambs were being sacrificed in the temple. On Firstfruits He rose from the dead as Israel was offering the firstfruits (barley) of the land. Then on Shavuot (also known as Pentecost), as the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were being offered and also the time in history when Moses received the Torah as Yahweh came with fire on Mt Sinai, the fire of the Ruach HaKodesh came on the disciples with a rushing mighty wind. The Word of Yahweh is so beautifully consistent from beginning to end and when you see how these feasts are fulfilled in multiple ways and significant events happen on these days over and over again, you can only say, "Truly He is awesome and He indeed keeps a calendar!". Great is His faithfulness!

Well, if the spring feasts have been fulfilled by Yeshua and were rehearsals of things to come, then what about the fall feasts? Are they not rehearsals as well for things to come? YES AND AMEN! The Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah is the time of the New Moon when it is completely dark. It is a time of repentance and will be when the time of Jacob's Trouble begins, the Great Tribulation. On this day the shofar or ram's horn is blown 100 times and the final blast is known as "the last trump"! It consists of 2 days based on the sighting of the new moon and so it is known as the feast wherein they didn't know the day or the hour. Any scriptures ringing a bell here?!

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement and is a very solemn day, a day of fasting and introspection. It was this day that the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel, once a year only. This could be the day that Yeshua returns and all Israel recognizes and mourns as they realize He is was the long awaited Messiah after all. It is also on this day that the Jubilee shofar is blown! The last Jubliee year was celebrated in 1967, the next one will then be (counting 49 years after) Yom Kippur and fall of 2016. If Elohim keeps His appointments and these days are always fulfilled, what event do you think the next Jubilee will fulfill? Could it be the time when Yeshua establishes His Kingdom on earth in the 1,000 year reign specifically mentioned in scripture? If you have read about what the Jubliee year is in scripture, you already know this is a time of great restoration, cancelling of debt, and much rejoicing! Isn't that representative of what Yeshua will do when he comes to rule and reign on the earth? That day is coming. Could it be in the next Jubilee year? I believe it absolutely could be. Why? Because Israel is the "supersign" of the end times. The prophecy concerning Israel being born in a single day (Isaiah 66:7-8) is in 1948 and Yeshua in the fig tree prophecy ( tells us that in THAT GENERATION is when Messiah will come again! Well, okay....what is a "generation". What is the average life span? Several scriptures give this to be around 70 years. What is 1948 +70? Hmmm....interestingly it is 2018.( If you want to read more about the significance of Israel becoming a nation and the prophecies that were fulfilled, go to ) Okay, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not setting dates here, just looking at the calendar, Yahweh's in particular, and noticing that there are some key Feasts and dates to watch. We certainly are in the season to be watching as the fig tree has budded.  No one knows the day or the hour (reference to Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets again) except the Father. So, I don't know, but I am watching and wondering in great anticipation!

The Feast of Tabernacles which comes 10 days after Yom Kippur and 15 days after Yom Teruah is a 8 day celebration of His birth when He came to tabernacle among us and represents the wedding feast to come! A time to remember that Israel tabernacled in the wilderness in tents for 40 years and Elohim provided for ALL their needs. A time to remember that Yeshua came and tabernacled among us and commemorate the time of His actual birth. Yes, Messiah was born in the fall (not on December 25th) and that can be determined based on the courses of the priests and when Zechariah was chosen. During the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, we set up a Sukkah, a temporary outdoor dwelling in our yard, we eat, sing, have campfires and sleep under the stars in a rehearsal and anticipation of the great wedding feast soon to come. This is a wonderful rehearsal and is one of my children's favorites as they built the Sukkah themselves and love to decorate it (especially the girls). Shouldn't we be rehearsing these times as He is coming soon? Besides Passover, this is my favorite Feast celebration.

How many times are we told by Yeshua to be watchful, ready? Well, how can we be watchful when we don't even have these feasts on our calendar and on our "radar screen"? He said he would only come as a thief to those who were not watching. The wise virgins were obviously watching and ready with their oil, unlike the foolish virgins who were not. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 says this, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." Wow, how many times do I hear people say, "we can't know when He is coming again, as He said he is coming like a thief". Yes, we don't know the exact day or hour, but we can know the season!!!  But did you hear the Word in bold print? Who does Yeshua come as a thief to? Those who are in the darkness, asleep, not watching, oblivious to the times and the seasons right in front of them! We are not as believers children of the darkness, we are children of the day, of the light!

Passover is coming soon on April 18th of this year. I love remembering the Exodus story as it reminds me of another exodus to come and is also a picture of redemption out of a time of tribulation. Something I need reminders of! We will celebrate with friends in our home and I cannot wait to make up the Seder plate, taste the bitter herbs and rejoice in my redemption from the bonds of sin and death, my Egypt. I never get tired of remembering that story whether it is the Hebrews or my own.

So, I keep Yahweh's wonderful appointments (Feasts) in great anticipation of their end time and soon fulfillment. Each one is a remembrance of the past, a celebration of Yeshua and the present in what He is doing,  but also a rehearsal of what is to come! With each passing Feast, we get closer and closer to seeing Him face to face! One day we will be gathered to Him in Israel where He will rule as King of Kings and L-rd of L-rds! And no celebration will be able to compare with that one!

Happy Pesach (Passover) my friends! Next year in Yerushalayim!


  1. Amein!
    What's in a name, you'll find this interesting too!!

  2. Excellent write-up. Very well done and right on the mark.

  3. Joanne, wow....interesting article! Amein.

    Brian, thanks! Hope you enjoyed your Passover celebration:)Shalom to you and your household!

  4. Wonderful blog post! I personally can't wait for the next few years to come to pass! Can't wait to see what comes to pass in the Lord's timetable :)

  5. Thanks for reading Tammy! I'm expectantly waiting with you:)

  6. Perfectly Succinct! Thanks for this wonderful overview - cannot wait to share it. I don't miss the pagan holidays I use to celebrate, God's feasts are filled with richness & joy.
    I love the way they reflect God's sovereignty over the affairs of men. Thanks & Blessings!

  7. Todah (thank you) Heather! Yes, I agree, Yahweh's thoughts, ways, feasts are always better than anything man can dream up.

    I too am so glad of the reminder through His Feasts that He is in control over the affairs of men, especially in these last days!

    Shalom my friend :)