Yeshua (Jesus) In The Biblical Feasts

The Feasts are about Yeshua

The annual cycle of Biblical festivals was a central part of life in ancient Israel. It is no surprise, then, that the timing of events in the Gospel accounts are also set around these celebrations. Following his birth and circumcision, Yeshua’s first appearance in recorded Scripture is with his family at a Passover.

These Feasts all come together to present God’s redemptive plan for his people through Yeshua. Yeshua himself said several times that the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to him. Certainly he had the Feasts in mind when he said this. Eddie Chumney writes,

The Festivals of the L-rd found in Leviticus (Vayikra) 23 were given to us by G-d so His people could understand the coming of the Messiah (Mashiach) and the role that the Messiah (Mashiach) would play in redeeming and restoring both man and the earth back to G-d following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Gan Eden).

from The Seven Festivals of the Messiah

The Biblical Feast Cycle

The importance of the Hebrew calendar cannot be overstated. While it may appear confusing because Hebrew dates “float” throughout the year, the reality is the exact opposite. On God’s calendar, the dates are fixed, and it is the Gregorian dates that “float.” And overlaying God’s calendar is a a sequence of Appointed Times that reveal the Messiah. Richard Booker describes it this way:

God established His appointed feasts, His moed, on the Jewish calendar to be celebrated at a certain time and in a certain sequence. The reason God did this was that Jesus the Messiah was to fulfill them (embody their true spiritual purpose and meaning) in His own life and ministry on the exact dates that the Jews had been celebrating them for 1,500 years. Jesus fulfilled the first two feast seasons (Passover and Pentecost) at His first coming. He will fulfill the third feast season (Tabernacles) at His second coming. This means there is a tremendous amount of prophetic significance in the Jewish calendar. The time and sequence of these feasts reveal the overall prophetic plan of God.

from Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts

(I would point out that “exact dates” cannot be confirmed and are not a critical component. It is the purpose of these Feasts that reveals the Messiah.)

Described in several places throughout the books of the Torah, the most complete, detailed listing of the Biblical Festivals is found in Leviticus 23. But before presenting the annual Feast cycle, God first gives a reminder of the celebration that was in place before sin entered the world – the Sabbath.

For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:3

The Sabbath is separate from the Feast cycle. It is a reminder of what once was, and it is prophetic of what will one day be. In the Sabbath, we can see and experience our complete rest in Messiah Yeshua. What a pity it is that so many just treat it as an ordinary day, or as a time to indulge in pleasures and activities of this present world.

The remainder of this chapter lists, in order, the annual cycle of Appointed Times (from the Hebrew word moed, often translated “Feast” in this chapter) that God – Yahweh – has established. The Feasts shown in bold type are called the Pilgrimage Festivals, times when all male Israelites were to go to Jerusalem to celebrate (Exodus 23:17, 34:23, Deuteronomy 16:16).

  • Pesach – Passover (23:5)
  • Matzot – Unleavened Bread (23:6-8)
  • Omer – Waving of the sheaf of the First Fruits (23:10-14)
  • Shavuot – Weeks or Pentecost (23:15-21)
  • Yom Teruah – Trumpets (23:24-25)
  • Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement (23:26-32)
  • Sukkot and Shemini AtzeretTabernacles and the Eighth Day (23:35-36, 39-43)

These seven Feasts are often divided into two groups: Spring Feasts and Fall Feasts

  • Spring Feasts
    • Passover
    • Unleavened Bread
    • First Fruits
    • Weeks
  • Fall Feasts
    • Trumpets
    • Day of Atonement
    • Tabernacles and the Eighth Day

These are agriculturally based feasts, timed around grain harvests. The waving of the sheaf of the Firstfruits – HaOmer – is at the time of the barley harvest. The Feast of Weeks – Shavuot – is at the early wheat harvest, and the Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot – is at the late wheat harvest.

There is one verse in this chapter that seems to be out of place with the rest of the descriptions of the Appointed Times. It describes agricultural activity between the early and late wheat harvests. This is significant when we look at the prophetic picture.

When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:22

Sukkot – The Beginning?

In Exodus 34:22 the last Feast, Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles here called the Feast of the Ingathering) is said to be at the “turn of the year.” We know from Exodus 12:2 that the beginning of the Festival year is in the spring, but here we have an indication that the year, at least agriculturally, has drawn to a close. In fact, there are no more Feasts until the new year begins in the spring.

There are instances where this time period marks the beginning. The Sabbatical year begins after Sukkot, because no sowing of seed is to be done for the next year’s harvest. Biblically, the yovel (jubilee) year begins at Yom Kippur (Leviticus 25:9). And traditionally the new Torah reading cycle begins on the first Sabbath following the end of the Feast cycle.

Although we cannot know for certain, it is generally considered that Messiah Yeshua was born during or near the time of Sukkot. This would seem appropriate, in that it was the beginning of a new era as the Messiah came to dwell (literally tabernacle) among men. The next time we see this phrasing used is at the end of the age described in the book of Revelation.

And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth.

John 1:14 Green’s Literal Version

And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God with men! And He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.

Revelation 21:3 Green’s Literal Version

The Spring Feasts


Pesach, or Passover, is the easiest of all the Feasts in which to see the Messiah. David Wilber writes:

The story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is a prophetic picture of our own deliverance from our slavery to sin. It’s all about the Gospel. Thus, the story of Passover is our story too. And God wants us to always remember this story. He wants us to always reflect on His love for us and that He gave His Only Son so that we can be free.

from A Christian Guide to the Biblical Feasts

Pesach and Matzot are often considered one Feast in the Scripture narratives, simply designated as Passover. The Passover portrays the death of Yeshua, the offering of his body and blood for the remission of sin to those who put their faith in him. This is not simply conjecture; it was literally stated by Yeshua himself at the last Passover meal he celebrated with his followers.

When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Luke 22:14-20

Passover pictures the death of Messiah Yeshua.


Seeing Messiah Yeshua in Chag Matzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is not quite as obvious as in the Passover observance. I think part of the problem here is that we have been conditioned to think that leaven represents sin. It does not. Consider two passages, one Old Testament and one New Testament.

You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:17

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

Two loaves of bread made with leaven are required as an offering to be waved on Shavuot (Leviticus 23:17). Certainly we would not expect the priest to wave “sin” before Yahweh as an offering. Yeshua gave a parable in which he said, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven” (Matthew 13:33). He was not saying that the kingdom of heaven is like sin. Rather, leaven is something that spreads. It is alive and thriving.

In the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we see the removal of leaven. It is the removal of life for a short period of time, and this is where we can see a picture of Messiah Yeshua. Following the Passover, his life was taken away for a short period of time. We can see in the Feast of Unleavened Bread the burial of the lifeless Yeshua, awaiting resurrection.

The removal of leaven in the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also in preparation for starting a new batch of leavening, which would be required for Shavuot. Paul writes of this in 1 Corinthians 5:7, where he says, “Clean out the old leaven, so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.” The old leaven is thrown out in preparation for the new.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the burial of the lifeless body of Messiah Yeshua.


Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

Leviticus 23:10-11

The Hebrew word translated as “sheaf” in this passage is omer. This ceremony is described only in this one passage in Torah. It is never specifically mentioned again in Scripture, though it is found in other Jewish religious writings. Because it is placed immediately after Passover and Unleavened Bread in this chapter, the date is presumed to be right after Passover (though it is not specifically stated).

After Yeshua’s death (Passover) and burial (Unleavened Bread), he was resurrected. Without getting into debates about exactly when the resurrection took place, it is important to realize that in this First Fruits ceremony the priest was to wave the sheaf before Yahweh on the day after the Sabbath. Note that when Mary encountered Yeshua following his resurrection, he had not yet appeared before his Father.

Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'”

John 20:17

When Yeshua “ascended to the Father” later that day, he took on the role of both priest and sheaf (omer) in the first fruits in this ceremony. Yeshua presented himself as the wave offering, and was accepted. He then appeared again to his followers that same evening.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:20

The waving of the First Fruits pictures the resurrected Messiah Yeshua.


The Feast of Shavuot, or Weeks, is a late Spring Feast, separated from the Passover holidays by seven weeks. It is still Spring, the beginning of life, and not quite Summer. Traditionally it is considered the time when God gave the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, and finding a Biblical timeline to support that isn’t too difficult. Shavuot is one of the Pilgrimage Festival.

Following his resurrection, Yeshua instructed his followers “not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised… you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5). He did not tell them to go to Jerusalem; they would already be there for the pilgrimage Feast. He just told them to wait for the promise to be fulfilled.

And on that day of Shavuot, known in Greek as Pentecost, we see the believers in Yeshua “baptized” or immersed in the Holy Spirit and empowered. Do not think that this is the birth of the church (Greek ekklesia, properly translated as assembly); Stephen later affirms that the ekklesia was in the wilderness (Acts 7:38). Perhaps the ekklesia was birthed as Mt. Sinai on a Shavuot/Pentecost some 1500 or so years earlier.

Yeshua promised his followers they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit, and that they would remember what he taught them.

Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.

John 7:37-39

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

John 14:18, 26

In Shavuot, we see Yeshua fulfilling the words of John the Immerser (Baptizer) who said, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).

The Gleaning of the Fields

Here is that out-of-place verse mentioned earlier, which really isn’t out of place after all.

When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:22

Between the Spring Feasts and the Fall Feasts, there is a harvest. Before his ascension, Yeshua said that through the power of the Holy Spirit his followers would be witnesses about him “to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). It is a worldwide harvest, and all who choose can be a part of that harvest.

The Fall Feasts

Because prophetic fulfilment of the Fall Feasts in Yeshua remains still future, the details are not as exact and are sometimes debated. If we truly are in the last days, some of it may have already begun.

Yom Teruah

The only place Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, is mentioned in Scripture is in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 29. It may surprise you that, though the blast or sound of a trumpet is described, the actual word for the instrument itself is not used. From the sacred text, it cannot be determined if the Feast of Trumpets refers to a shofar (ram’s horn), a metal trumpet, or both.

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

(Matthew 24:30-31 ESV)

These are the words of Messiah Yeshua. Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, prophesies of the coming of the Messiah, the return of Yeshua “with power and great glory.” According to Jewish legend, a shofar from one of the horns of the ram caught in the thicket at the binding of Isaac will be blown for the Messiah.

The shofar blown at mount Sinai, when the Torah was given, came from the ram which had been sacrificed in place of Isaac. The left horn was blown for a shofar at Mount Sinai and its right horn will be blown to herald the coming of Moshiach. The right horn was larger than the left, and thus concerning the days of Moshicah it is written, ‘on that day, a great shofar will be blown.’

(Tz’enah Urenah)

In keeping with Yeshua’s words from the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 above, Batya Wootten sees the blast of the trumpet as calling for the divided houses of Israel, Judah and Ephraim, to be gathered to the Messiah. In her book Israel’s Feasts and Their Fullness she envisions the two silver trumpets described in Numbers 10, which were blown at the new moons and Feasts.

The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying, “Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out… Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God.”

Numbers 10:1-10

The Feast of Trumpets looks forward to the return of the Messiah to reign on on the earth.

Yom Kippur

[Yom Kippur] speaks of the priestly work of Messiah Yeshua. Israel’s High Priest was initially dressed like royalty, but then took on simple garments and made atonement of the people. Our Messiah is Divine, and “although He existed in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6-7).

From Israel’s Feasts And Their Fullness

On this day, the high priest entered the most holy part of the sanctuary to offer an offering for atonement. That tradition is still carried on today through the offering of prayers. Barney Kasdan writes,

The traditional liturgy, prayers, and music emphasize the theme of the day, the need for atonement for sins. The services last most of the day for it is believed that judgment will dome at the close of Yom Kippur. The prayers fervently request that, as Jews, we be written in the Book of Life for one more year.

from God’s Appointed Times

It has been suggested that the entire book of Hebrews should be read in the context of Yom Kippur. Messiah Yeshua, our High Priest, has made atonement once and for all. Those who have repented and put their trust in him receive atonement and are judged righteous; those who do not will receive a judgment of condemnation.

Yom Kippur looks forward to the final judgment (Malachi 3:16-18; Matthew 25:31-46; , Revelation 20:12-15).

Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret

Sukkot, the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, was given to Israel so that they would remember that they were in temporary dwellings as they made their journey to the Promised Land. This was a seven-day festival, and during the annual observance they were commanded to “dwell” in a sukkah, a booth (the plural is sukkot) for seven days.

But there was an eighth day added to the end of the festival, and they were NOT told dwell in the sukkah for the eighth day – only for seven days. Why? Because Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day Assembly, represented the time when sukkot, the temporary dwellings, were no longer needed.

Sukkot reminds us of our journey through life, and the eighth day reminds us of eternity, when this temporary life is over. The Feast of Tabernacles is to be a time of rejoicing, because in Messiah Yeshua, “though now you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

Sukkot shows us the promised Messianic Kingdom. Barney Kasdan writes,

Sukkot was always known as the holy day that commemorates God dwelling with his people. How fitting for the Kingdom of God, when it fully comes to the redeemed earth, to be considered the ultimate fulfillment of this holy day. God himself will finally dwell with his people in all his fullness.

from God’s Appointed Times

At the conclusion of the Fall Feasts, in fact the conclusion of all of the Feasts, we can see in the Feast of Tabernacles the conclusion of God’s perfect plan of redemption in Messiah Yeshua. The Messiah has returned, judgment has been accomplished, and God himself tabernacles with us. David Brickner sums it up well.

And, in perhaps the most beautiful of all Feast of Tabernacles imagery, we read:

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.” (Revelation 21:3-6 NKJV)

What a beautiful picture of God’s presence and provision! The Creator tabernacles with his creation. The one who has sustained us through the wilderness of all our trials and sojourns is the One who will sustain us forever in eternity. In His presence we will have rest and peace and be free at last from sorrow.

from Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles

God’s Plan Of Redemption

In these Feasts, we see God’s complete plan of redemption through Yeshua. The Spring Feasts have had their prophetic fulfillment. Yeshua was crucified (Passover), buried (Unleavened Bread), and raised to life in resurrection (First Fruits). He has given us the promised Holy Spirit (Shavuot) to empower us to be witnesses of him throughout the entire world.

The Fall Feasts await a future prophetic fulfillment. Even now, the trumpet call is summoning God’s people to unite. Yeshua will return (Trumpets) and bring righteous judgment to this earth (Yom Kippur). He will reign and we will be in the presence of God for all eternity (Tabernacles and the Eighth Day).

Leave a Comment