God's Appointed Times
The seven feasts of the Lord are his "Appointed Times" during which he will meet with men for holy purposes
Four of the 7 feasts occur in the spring of the year. They are "Passover", "Unleavened Bread", "First Fruits", and “Shavuot” (also known as “Pentecost”). These 4 Spring Feasts are summed up in only 19 verses of Scripture (Leviticus 23:4–22). In Messianic Judaism, these feasts represents the Messiah's first coming, which has happened.
The 3 final feasts, in the fall of the year, are in the Hebrew month of Tishri (September/October). They represent the events associated with the Messiah's second coming, which has yet to occur. These 3 final feasts forms the basis for what the Bible calls "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13).
The Spring Feasts
Pesach (The Passover)
This is the foundational feast. The 6 feasts that follow are built upon it. It is covered in Leviticus 23:5. It also starts the second feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In all the words that are used to describe what took place in Egypt none fits better than one word – “Redemption”. Israel was redeemed so that they could worship and serve the true and living God. But this redemption is not without cost. Blood had to be shed. All of the lambs sacrificed in Egypt pointed to the one true Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
This feast was to last for 7 days. On the first and seventh day, there was to be a time of meeting (convocation) between God and man. In the preparation for this meeting, all leaven products were to be removed from the household. This feast is recorded in Leviticus chapter 23:6–8. It is not just spring housecleaning; it is to remind us of our need for spiritual cleansing and repentance. Combining this feast with Passover makes this an eight-day celebration. The one word that fits this feast is “Sanctification”. The Messiah was set apart. His body would not decay in the grave.
This 3rd feast starts on the 2nd day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. "First Fruits," according to Jewish understanding, occurs on the 16th day of the Hebrew month, “Nissan”. It is the first crop planted in winter, the barley harvest. The first fruits of the harvest is cut and, in a prescribed ceremony, presented to the Lord (Leviticus 23:9 – 14).
Another name for this feast is called "Yom HaBikkurim". It also starts the "Sfirat Haomer" – the counting of the sheaf. The one word connected to this feast is "Resurrection". The Lord's acceptance of the first fruits is a “pledge” or “down payment” on his part for the full harvest or resurrection (Ephesians 1:14)
Shavuot (Pentecost or Feast of Weeks)
This feast is also known as "Pentecost" (Acts 2:1) – meaning “fiftieth”. This feast was the first fruits of the wheat harvest. The one word that connects this feast is the word "Orientation". This feast is recorded in Leviticus chapter 23:15–21.
With this first fruits of the wheat harvest, Israel was to bring to 2 loaves of bread. This is the only feast were leavened bread was used. The two loaves represented Jew and Gentile – one in Messiah. It was the coming of the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) that reinstated the renewed covenant. The separation between Jew and Gentiles has been broken down.
The Fall Feasts
Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets)
This feast also is known as “Zikhron Teruah” (Memorial of Blowing) and “Yom T’ruah” (the day of blowing) and Rosh Hashanah - literally meaning “Head of the Year”. This feast is recorded in Leviticus 23:23–25. The one word that will connect to this feast is "Ingathering". Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah points to the future day when the Messiah returns to rescue the righteous and judge the wicked.
The fall feasts calls us to regather to a pure faith in God. Rosh Hashanah has come to represent the day of repentance. It is the day when the people of Israel took stock in their spiritual condition, and made the necessary changes to ensure that the upcoming new year would be pleasing to God.
The most notable custom is with the “shofar,” the trumpet that is mentioned in Scripture. On this day the shofar is sounded in the synagogue with four different notes: tekia (blast), shevarim (broken notes), Teruah (alarm) and that Tekia Gedolah (the great blast). Because the shofar was used in the ancient world to hail a King, so on Rosh Hashanah, all Israel is said to appear before the King of Kings in anticipation of personal judgment, the shofar is our "wake-up call" calling as to our appointed time.
This feast will be fulfilled when the Messiah comes back in Matthew 24:31
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
This feast is known as "The Day of Atonement". Yom Kippur is the Atonement (covering) for the previous year’s sins. That atonement or sacrifice was the blood sacrifice of an innocent animal as recorded in Leviticus 17:11.
You will find this feast recorded in Leviticus 23:26 –32. It is considered the most holy day in the Jewish biblical calendar. It is considered the logical extension of what was started on Rosh Hashanah. What was started on that day, repentance and self-evaluation, was completed on Yom Kippur with atonement and regeneration. Yom Kippur/day of atonement points to the future day when Israel repents of her sins and turns to the Messiah for salvation.
This feast stands alone as a biblical fast day. On this day, white is usually worn, symbolizing the hope of the high holy days, and the cleansing of our sins according to Isaiah 1:18. This day will close with the final blast of the shofar. It is believed that the fate of each individual is sealed at that time for the upcoming year. Our hope is the hope of a sweet and blessed spiritual year which is illustrated in the break-the-fast meal following sundown
As a Messianic believer, we rejoice in the confidence that the Messiah has paid the price that God required.
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)
This feast is also known as the “Feast of Tabernacles.” This is the most and most enjoyable and festive of all the Israel's feasts. It is mentioned in Scripture more than any of the other feasts. This feast is recorded in Leviticus 23:33–44. It has a twofold purpose. It was to bring in the latter harvest (the Jewish "Thanksgiving"), and the command to dwell in booths. It is also known as "Zman Simkhatenu" (“the time of our rejoicing”). The one word that can summarize this feast is (habitation).
Traditional Jewish observance of Sukkot centers on the building of a sukkah ("booth), or (“hut”), and the blessing of the Lulav (palm branch) with the Etrog (a fruit from Israel). It is believed that the birth of Yeshua took place on Sukkot and evidence pointed out by theologians.
Tabernacles/Sukkot point to the future day when the Messiah sets up his messianic kingdom and Tabernacles or dwells among men, John in his vision of Revelation gives us the reality of Sukkot as recorded in Revelation 21:1 –3.