The Seven Jewish Feasts in Jerusalem
Dr. Andrew Jackson
Leviticus 23 tells us about seven feasts that God commanded Israel to celebrate during the year. They were clustered in two parts: the four spring feasts were Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost, and the three fall (autumn) feasts were Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. These seven feast related to the agricultural cycle and historical events of Israel. God’s calendar is a lunar calendar based on the phases of the moon.
1. The Feast of Passover (April)
The Feast of Passover (Leviticus 23:5, Pesach) was held on Nisan 14. The Feast of Passover was celebrated in remembrance of God passing over the people of Israel when he judged Egypt. God passed over the homes of Israel that had the blood of a sacrificed lamb spread on the lintel and doorposts (Exodus 12:1-28).
2. Feast of Unleavened Bread (April)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) was held on Nisan 15, the next night after Passover. It lasted for seven days. The first and last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were high Sabbaths. Israel did not eat unleavened bread during these seven days, because Israel ate unleavened bread when they fled Egypt (Exodus 12:33-34).
3. The Feast of First Fruits (April)
The Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-11) was held on Nisan 17, the Sunday following Unleavened Bread. On this day they celebrated the spring harvest by waving a bundle of the first ripened grain before God. Jesus rose from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits.
4. The Feast of Pentecost (Late May/Early June)
The Feast of Pentecost or Weeks (Shavuot, Leviticus 23:15-16) was held on Sivan 6. Israel celebrated the summer harvest. Pentecost was 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits.
FALL (AUTUMN) FEASTS
5. The Feast of Trumpets (September)
The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah, Leviticus 23:23-25) was celebrated on Tishri 1. —- and marks the beginning of the high holy days or the days of awe.
The Jewish New Year begins on 1 Tishri, known as Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashanah literally meaning the “head [of] the year”, is the Jewish New Year. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah, literally “day of shouting or blasting”.
6. The Feast of the Day of Atonement (September/October)
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, Leviticus 23:26-28) was celebrated on Tishri 10. It was the most holy day of Israel’s calendar. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to make a sacrifice for sins on behalf of Israel.
7. The Feast of Tabernacles (September/October)
The Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-34, 42, Sukkot) was held on Tishri 15. Israel celebrated living in tabernacles when God led them out of Egypt. During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jews would live in temporary shelters.