This is a VERY brief summary of each of the Feasts and what they mean. If you’re not familiar with the Feasts (or if you just need a refresher!) I recommend printing this out to keep on hand as you learn about the order and principles presented in each celebration.
There may be several names for each feast (Hebrew, English, Greek etc.) I am presenting them as I am most familiar with them, and in the form that you are most likely to see them. I’ve tried to include the additional names that you might see in your studies as well.
This is only the beginning and there are many themes that, for the sake of brevity, will not be mentioned here. Browse our site to learn more about each of the individual Feasts!
Oh my, here we go!
Passover ( also called Pesach -“the mouth speaks”)
Starting in the Old Testament, this Feast celebrates the Exodus and deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egypt. After the Lord sent the ten plagues, those Hebrew people who applied the blood of the Passover lamb on the door posts of their home were saved from the last plague; the death of the first-born son. The Angel of Death “passed over” those that applied the lamb’s blood, thus we have “Passover”.
Today it is celebrated with a Passover Seder (“say-der”), a symbolic guided meal that is the re-telling and remembrance of the deliverance from the Egyptians. Each element on the plate, and each sip from the cup is representative of part of the story. There is a leader to guide your through the re-telling, and it culminates in a meal together.
This Feast is fulfilled in Christ, “the Passover lamb” who was crucified during the Feast of Passover in order that we might have salvation and so that (eternal) Death would pass over us.
It is celebrated in early Spring (mid-March to mid-April) and may or may not correlate with the traditional Easter Sunday. It happens on Nisan 14 in the Jewish Calendar (Lev. 23:5).
Unleavened Bread (may be refered to as Pesach, because many people consider it to be the first day of the Passover Celebration, also called Hag HaMatzah – Joy in the Matzah)
This Feast begins that day after Passover and lasts for 7 days. It is an annual reminder that the Hebrews left Egypt before their bread had time to rise for their journey into Israel. Therefore, they ate “unleavened” bread (matzah), which resembles a cracker.
Jesus fulfilled this Feast in the giving of his body and his burial. At the last supper (which was, by the way, a Passover Seder), he took unleavened bread, (matzah) and broke it saying, ” This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) He was “unleavened”; without sin which puffs us up. Through his death, we are able to be righteous and set apart, without leaven. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
First Fruits (also called Ha Bikkurim)
This third Feast falls during the week of Unleavened Bread, on Nisan 16. In the Old Testament, the Jews were commanded to bring the very first ripened grains (the first fruits) of barley from their harvest, and it was dedicated to God in the temple. The spring Feasts mark the beginning of the religious year and the cycle of the seven Feasts.
In the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled this Feast by rising from the dead! He was the first fruits offering from the dead! (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
Pentecost (also called Shavuot, Hag Ha’Katzir, Feast of Weeks, Yom Ha Bikkurim – the Day of First Fruits, Hag HaKatzir – Joy in the Wheat Harvest, Feast of the Law Giving)
This Feast typically falls between mid-May and mid-June, and happens 50 days from the Feast of First Fruits. The feast of Pentecost stands alone in the cycle of Feasts (coming after the first 3 spring feasts) and in the Old Testament, it was celebrated by the bringing of the first fruit wheat offering to the temple for dedication. Once the temple was destroyed, this feast became known as the celebration fo the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai to Moses.
In the New Testament, The Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled when God sent his Spirit to the disciples in the upper room, after Jesus’ ascension. He gave the Law and the Spirit on the same day of the year! He came in fire on Mt. Sinai, and he came in tongues of fire to the disciples!
Rosh HaShanah (also called Yom TeRuah – The Day of Loud Noise , The Head of the Year, Feast of Trumpets)
God’s fifth Feast, Rosh HaShanah, occurs on Tishri 1 in the Jewish Calendar, which usually falls between mid-September and mid-October, and it occurs on a New Moon. It is known as the Head of the Year, because it begins the social New Year. It signals that the season of repentance and restoration known as the Teshuvah (“the turning”) is coming to an end. The shofar is blown to wake up those who have been (spiritually) wandering and asleep, and to announce the coming of the King.
During this feast, the shofar is blown 100 times in synagogues across the world and people wish one another a sweet and Happy New Year.
This Feast also marks the beginning of the 10 Days of Awe, the holiest days on the calendar, which culminate in the Feast of Yom Kippur.
This is the first of the last three feasts in the Biblical cycle and it has not yet been fulfilled in the natural by Jesus. It is reffered to often in prophetic New Testament writings (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 5:2), and it is known to be near the time when the Final Trumpet will sound and the Dead in Christ shall rise.
Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement, The Day of The Lord, The Great and Terrible Day, Face to Face, The Great Day, THE Day, Neilah)
Yom Kippur is the Holiest Day of the entire calendar and it is the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe, as well as the end of the 40 days of Teshuvah (repentance). It is a day of fasting and prayer, and Jews are forbidden to work. This was the only day on the Hebrew calendar in which the High Priest could enter in to the Holy of Holies; the innermost part of the Temple where God himself dwelt, to offer a sacrifice for the entire nation of Israel. He would make atonement for them, and would stand face to face with God to intercede for the nation.
At the crucifixion of Christ, the veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was supernaturally torn in two. Through Jesus’ death, God made a way for everyone (not just the High Priest) to enter into the Holy of Holies and find forgiveness and atonement for sin.
This Feast has not yet been fulfilled by Jesus, but it foreshadows the end of time, when the last Trumpet is blown and we see God face to face.
Tabernacles (also called Sukkot, Feast of Booths, Feast of Nations, Final Ingathering, Season of Joy, Hag Ha’Asif – Joy in the Final Harvest, Feast of the Harvest)
The Feast of Tabernacles is a 7-day outdoor celebration which signals the culmination of the Feast cycle for the year, and it occurs 5 days after Yom Kippur. During this Feast, the people are commanded to build a sukkah, or booth – little outdoor shelters with holes in the roof, so that the stars can be seen. This is a constant reminder that the Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness and lived in temporary dwelling places, all the while relying on the supernatural gift of water and manna to sustain them. God was their shelter and protection, their sukkah in which to take refuge. We are reminded that this world, this temporary dwelling place, is not our true home.
Tabernacles is also known as Ingathering, because every nation on earth was invited to celebrate and take part in this final day, celebrating the The Great Harvest.
Although this was historically the Feast during which Jesus was born, it is also one of the unfulfilled Feasts, and will one day be the Ingathering of all Nations to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
Again, this brief synopsis of each Feast is simply meant as an overview, to give you a bird’s-eye view of what happens during each feast. Please browse the posts on each individual feast to get a more in-depth view and more information about the rich fulfillment and interesting historical and spiritual happenings that occurred during each holiday.