Holidays LIKE They Have in Judah – 5 June 2014

(11 June 2014 – For some comments and responses to this article, see

1Kg 12:32-33   And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar.  So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

 “So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.”

When the Kingdom of “all Israel” was divided into the northern Kingdom of Israel (Joseph/Ephraim), and the southern Kingdom of Judah (Judah/Judea), God left His place of worship in Jerusalem in the oversight of the Tribe of Levi and House of Aaron, under the sovereign control of the House of David, of the Tribe of Judah, the messianic family line for the Messiah, Son of David and Son of God.  YHVH gave the northern kingdom of Israel to be governed by Jeroboam, while the southern kingdom of Judah was left in the hands of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.

In order to prevent and discourage those under his rule from continuing to worship the LORD in the only place that He had established to place His name there, i.e., Jerusalem, King Jeroboam of Israel, as written in the Scripture quoted above, established feasts according to his own heart like those in Jerusalem, but not in Jerusalem, the center of worship for all the Children of Jacob/Israel.  This severed the unity of the nation even further, and instilled idolatry and unfaithfulness towards God and His instructions about His feasts/appointed times.

The Bible is written for us living at the end of the age, and for our instruction and admonition in learning from the examples given from Israel’s Holy Spirit-inspired written history. (1Cor 10:11)

I believe that we in the Messianic movement of God to restore all things to His people have allowed ourselves to do what Jeroboam did:  we have adopted some of the holidays of YHVH which He set times for, but for which those set times have been altered; we have also over emphasized some of the feasts of the LORD which He gave to Israel, while minimizing or ignoring others which He also gave; we have given too much weight to “Jewish thinking” as to what is important – even if in unbelief towards God the Father and His Son – rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to give us the mind of Christ/Messiah about these matters in the present dispensation.  (Yes, I do believe that there are dispensations, but am not a classic dispensationalist.)

We are not learning from the example of Jeroboam, but seem to be following his lead:  we are diverting attention from the centrality of the New Jerusalem above for our true and spiritual worship in these days prior to the return of the Lord (Jn 4:19-24), and from celebrating the open revelation of Yeshua/Jesus having already come in the flesh in fulfillment of those holidays which point to Him and to God’s redemption of His people, and which He has given to the whole Body of Messiah/Christ under His welfare in the Commonwealth of Israel.

I will give some examples:

Sabbath (Shabbat) (Gen 2:1-3; Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15)

The Sabbath is given to observe and to remember that YHVH God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, and rested on the seventh (the Sabbath); and, to remember that YHVH redeemed and delivered His people Israel out of hard labor and bondage in Egypt to give them rest in the promised Land.  This first of the appointed ‘Feasts of YHVH’ given to Israel (Lev 23) is a holy day to remember (and to act accordingly) our Creator and Redeemer, and the beginning of all that He created and made, and His mighty acts of redemption.  So, in remembering the beginnings, we are also brought to remember the first day of the creation week, when God called light to shine out of the darkness.

In the plan of God, the day after the Sabbath is the first day of the week, or Sunday/Sonday – the day of light.  As born-again new creation children of light and of the resurrection (1Thes 5:4-6; Lk 20:35-36), we have been redeemed, and reconciled to God by the blood of the cross, being brought back into the uncreated Light that is God:  Messiah Yeshua/Jesus is the uncreated Light of the world even before there was a sun.  The seventh-day Sabbath is not the end of God’s plan; the day after the Sabbath, the eternal day of no darkness is the new beginning of eternal life in the new creation that the Father is preparing for those who love Him and His Son.  The Sabbath day is a day to look back, in anticipation of the future judgment and the world to come.  Yeshua/Jesus is our Sabbath rest, in whom we cease from our own works to do the works of God. (Heb 4)

First-fruits (Lev 23:9-11)

This holiday has to do with resurrection, the day after the Sabbath (Mt 28:1; Lk 24:1; 1Cor 16:2); it has nothing special to do with the 1st day after Passover, nor with a particular date after the Passover.  The counting of the omer (sheaves of wheat) was to begin from this day:  the firstfruit of the harvest is showing itself, and is waved before God:  Yeshua is alive, first-fruits from the dead! (1Cor 15:20-23)  It is the Son‘s day!  This is the day that the LORD (YHVH) has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord and in His day! (Ps 118:15-29; Rev 1:10)

Weeks (Shavuot)/Pentecost (50 Days) (Lev 23:15-17; Acts 2:1)

The Word of the LORD to Moses for Israel tells them to begin counting the appearance of the living wheat harvest from the day after the Sabbath which comes during the Passover week, regardless of what day Passover may  actually begin.  Seven complete Sabbaths, and 50 days from the day of first-fruits/resurrection, is to be celebrated as a presentation of a new grain offering unto YHVHtwo leavened loaves of bread. Shavuot/Pentecost should, therefore, always be celebrated on a Sonday, just as God commanded Israel.  This celebration is expressive of our unity in Messiah/Christ, all knowing that we are sinners for whom the Lord died.  The holiday displays the power of the life of God in the redeemed and forgiven believer in the gospel.  Yeshua is glorified, risen from the dead and seated in glory!  It is a time to rejoice together in Him by the Holy Spirit who has come to dwell in us who are born-again from above!

Yet Israel has changed the day of beginning the count of the 50 days and the 7 weeks, by beginning the count from the day after Passover; that is, on the 16th of the first month, Nisan, on the Hebrew calendar.  Doing so brings them to celebrate Shavuot always on the 6th day of the third month, Sivan.  This is not what God instructed them through His Torah, and, by doing so, the Jewish people have been blinded to the clear connection with Jesus/Yeshua and with His resurrection.  This is not a disconnect caused by the “Gentile Church”, but by the Jewish Synagogue. (Some believers, who are caught up in turning away from all things ‘church’ and taking on all things ‘Jew-ish’, have begun the count on the 17th of Nisan, reckoning the three days and nights of Yeshua being in the grave from the 14th, as the starting point of counting.  But that date is neither the day after the Sabbath of the Passover day, the 15th, nor is it what God said and Moses wrote.  As the apostle Paul admonished, there are those who would be teachers of the Law, but do not know what they are talking about.) (1Tim 1:5-8)

The Holy Spirit is fulfilling the Word of God.  A serious problem has come because Christians have not been able to explain the fulfillment of these appointed holiday feasts from the Bible, often out of ignorance, but sometimes due to reliance on faulty Jewish custom and tradition; again, sometimes in ignorance, other times in rebellion, like Jeroboam.  Jewish people don’t know either.  But Messianic Jews, and Gentile believers in Jesus who connect with Israel and the Jewish people, should know, and act in humble and thankful obedience to God, who magnifies the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah, and He has come!  We are His witnesses, and if we are going to celebrate holidays, then we should at least be able to say what and when they are, even if we are free, for the gospel’s sake, to celebrate, or not to celebrate – unto God — as situations present themselves. (Col 2:16-17)  There is a powerful testimony when believers across streams and cultures celebrate corporately as one body and family the mighty acts of the one true God!

New Moon

Many are following those who teach that the New Moon is a sighted crescent, rather than the two to three days of a darkened moon, which typifies the Biblical life which is by faith, and not by sight.  As all of YHVH’s appointed times, the New Moon also relates to Yeshua and also to Israel.

Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25)

The Jewish religious authorities added a day to Rosh HaShana, and call it the New Year rather than the 1st of the 7th month.  In adding a day, it puts hardship on poor people who are dependent on daily wages for work.  In emphasizing the Memorial of Trumpet Blasts as the beginning of the Jewish calendar year, it brings in confusion in the people’s mind regarding the redemptive plan of the God of Israel, and His time-table.

Day of Atonements (Lev 16; 23:26-32; Is 53; Zec 12:10-14)

On Yom Kippur, the Jewish religion places its emphasis on this holiest day in God’s calendar for the people’s civil and religious life on bodily fasting from food for 25 hours, in the hope that their names will be inscribed favorably by God for the coming year, rather than on one’s genuine sorrow and regret for unbelief and disobedience against YHVH and His commandments. For those who are justified through faith in God and in His provision of the sacrificial atoning sacrifice by His Son for our sin, transgression, and iniquity, it is a new beginning, transformed by an affliction of soul to be converted, healed, and fully restored even beyond what we could have thought possible; and, as usual with God, it is all connected with Jesus! Jubilee! (Lev 25:8-12)

Hanukkah/Birth of the Messiah the Lord (Jn 10; Is 9:6-7; Hag 2; Lk 2:4-20)

The true Light has come; all who came before must give honor and glory to the Lord of all.  Yeshua/Jesus must increase; they all must decrease. (Jn 3:30-31)

Lord’s Supper

There is the over-emphasis on the connection with the Jewish Passover (recipients of grace apart from sin) and not upon Yeshua’s death being also a sin and guilt offering, the atonement (all people, all sinners in need of a Savior), opening the way into God’s presence for both Jew and Gentile believers (Mt 27:51; Heb 10:15-25) There is no sound basis that the ‘Last Supper’ was a meal patterned after the modern Passover seder.  Yeshua was closing out one dispensation, while ushering in a new and better covenant for His disciples and spiritual family, and giving us a better inheritance than the Law can give hope for.

Both the Old and the New are at present in force, as God  works to fulfill every jot and tittle that is written in the Law and the Prophets, to be brought to completion during the Millennial Kingdom. (Mt 5:17-18)

Other holidays have been added to the Jewish calendar, such as Tisha B’Av (Zec 7:1-13; 8:19) and Lag BaOmer, which have become more sacrosanct to the Israeli Jewish people than God’s own memorials; yet there are those within the Messianic movement who give even these credibility, despite their being instituted in direct opposition to the judgments of God against His own people for their unbelief, rebellion, and consequent gross idolatries. (Is 1:10-20; Amos 5:21-24; Rev 3:14-22)

We need to beware of the mote in our own eyes with respect to holidays before we think we can help others with specks in theirs.  Those who say that they see will be judged more severely than those who are blind. (Jn 9:39-41; Ja 3:1)  The devil is a liar, deceiver, murderer, and destroyer.  It is for us to honor the Lord, and bear witness of Jesus/Yeshua to His people – whether unsaved Jews, or whether misguided or unsaved Christians – as we celebrate our great God and Savior.

Jewish believers generally do not recognize or celebrate/observe Sonday/Sunday; First-fruits/Resurrection Day; Pentecost/Shavuot according to the Lord’s timing; the birth of the Messiah.  Shavuot as dated in Judaism is instead of Pentecost; Hanukkah is in competition with Christmas, and given meaning that seeks to decrease the greatness of the Lord’s coming in the flesh into the world; Saturday is considered as the Lord’s Day, and given prominence over the significance of the ‘day after the Sabbath’ prophetically of new birth and eternal life after death for the believer in Messiah.

The Hebraic and Jewish roots of the Messianic/Christian faith are found in the Word of God given to Israel and the Jewish people.  But the roots have produced a whole plant that looks much different than the seed that was planted to sprout those roots. (1Cor 15:35-49)  The flower and fruit are more interesting and glorious than the tangled roots, for all their fascination that God has created and made! God is calling out a people for Himself from every nation; the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, but a new thing in the Earth which YHVH is creating in Christ/Messiah.  His appointed times which testify to Messiah having already come – and coming again — bring all believers from any and every nation outside of our camps to Yeshua, uniting us in His love as we suffer with Him and bear His reproach, hoping in His return and the resurrection. (Heb 13:12-16; Rom 8:18-24)  Neither Jewish believers nor Gentile believers are called to bring anyone into our purpose; but God is calling out one new man into His purpose, which He has planned before He created anything.

One Reply to “Holidays LIKE They Have in Judah – 5 June 2014”

  1. Hannah Weiss – June 10

    Howard, you have some good points here. We at RZ have also been following the Spirit in taking a closer look at some of these calendar issues. (If you remember, you and I compared some notes in the past… I’m still chasing down stuff connecting the “kiseh” of the New Moon with the hidden Messiah!)

    Your linkage of the First-fruits (“waving of the omer”) and Shavuot with “the day after the shabbat”, i.e. “the first day of the week”, is something we have also come to recognize. We applied it for the first time this year in observing Shavuot as Israel was commanded. We found it rich with spiritual meaning, which was worth the effort of going against the flow of the nation.

    Just one thing… I didn’t follow your jump from this yearly observance of a designated Feast of the LORD on a sunday, to a weekly observance of sunday all year round. I find only one place in the NT where the believers met on “the first day of the week”, Acts 20:7… and that’s not enough to assume they “observed” this day as “the Lord’s day”, or even that they met the same day every week. It seems they met EVERY day if they were able (Acts 2:46, 5:42).

    So I didn’t follow why it’s a problem that “Jewish believers generally do not recognize or celebrate/observe Sonday/Sunday.” Or why it’s a problem if they give Shabbat more “prominence” in the week than sunday.

    Those who DO observe sundays can make a good case for their personal conviction – if they point to it as a symbol/memorial of the Lord’s Resurrection and ours to come (not a new “day of rest” replacing Shabbat). But no one can appeal to the practice of the apostles – much less any NT command – to find fault with others for NOT making every sunday into a special day.

    BTW I have never met any “Jewish believers” for whom “Saturday is considered as the Lord’s Day”. I have met Sabbath-keeping Christians who call it that. Maybe they also have a case, since the seventh day is called “My Holy Day” (Isa.58:13). But “the Lord’s day” as sunday came up only in 2nd century church writings. (And sadly, it turned into exactly the thing you are rightly condemning in this article: They ordained a day “like that observed in Judah”, then they discouraged observance of the original day.)

    The only place in the Bible where that phrase “the Lord’s day” is even used is Rev.1:10, which didn’t mention a day of the week. It could have been “the” day of the year that Yeshua rose from the dead, or even John’s entry “in the Spirit” into the coming “day of the Lord”, which is foretold in a hundred places.

    But with all that said, I am glad to see you exploring these things. I confirm with you that it’s time for the redeemed Remnant to reclaim the Lord’s Holy Days – not just as reminders of
    eternal truths for the One New Man, but also as part of the ongoing Covenant with the Redeemed of Israel. We need all of Ezek.36:27 to be fulfilled, not just the first few words. These are Israel’s inheritance – “the oracles of God” entrusted to the Jews – an advantage which Paul talked about in present tense (Rom.3:1-2, 11:18). They have been defaced by faithless leaders of our people, and covered over with layers of ignorance about how they were once observed by Yeshua and His apostles.

    It’s going to take a sustained group effort in the Spirit to set things right again! So please, Howard, read my comments as brain-storming and not criticism.

    To bystanders reading this:
    The Body needs to encourage the vanguard explorers who are called by the Lord to feel their way into the things He wants to restore. Please grant them the freedom to second-think, back-track and even make U-turns. The “fallen booth of David” (Amos 9:11) didn’t collapse in one night, and it’s not going to be restored in one day.

    blessings to all,
    Hannah Weiss
    Restorers of Zion (

    Howard to Hannah Weiss – June 11

    Thank-you, Hannah, for your always well thought-out replies.

    Regarding the first day of the week becoming an established day, I would say, as I did mention in the article, that God has given a ‘set time’ which Yeshua fulfilled, and that the Holy Spirit gave to believers to memorialize and observe, keeping this truth in the public eye, as well as within the Body. It was a new thing which God did, that brings both Jewish and Gentile believers into a new relationship with each other, and with God the Father and His Son.

    The Shabbat is not done away with; it is fulfilled and carried through: by faith now; in reality in the future. We are free to meet on the Sabbath, but we ought to be able to explain the significance of the day after, and not merely criticize the Gentile Christians for changing the day. They did not; the Holy Spirit is leading us all on into all truth. That the Gentile Christians may have had bad motives, or have not understood is another matter. We Jewish people also had bad motives for seeing to it that Yeshua was crucified; but we fulfilled the Word of God in doing so, even in ignorance!

    I linked in my article to a teaching on the Lord’s Day, which gives my reason for believing that it is the first day of the week as the day after the Sabbath. You might like to have a read.
    Thanks again for taking an active interest, even if we are not necessarily after the same thing exactly.

    Hannah Weiss to Howard – June 11

    Actually, I think we ARE after the same thing: we are trying to distinguish between the commandments of God and the traditions of men. That’s why it’s worthwhile for me to comment.

    In your linked article, you do an excellent job of establishing the seventh day as set apart by God, and commanded to Israel as a weekly observance. You do an equally good job of showing that “the eighth day of the seventh month”, and “the day after the Shabbat” for First-Fruits and Shavuot, are also commanded by God, and fulfilled in Yeshua’s resurrection.

    By contrast, the church tradition that eventually extended those yearly sunday-memorial Commands into a weekly sunday observance is exactly that – a tradition. Or if you will, a Christian “oral law”. No matter how meaningful it is to those who keep it, or how great a teaching tool, the tradition of setting apart the first day of every week cannot be taught as a commandment of God.

    If I’m stating the obvious, forgive me. But I am still under the impression that the distinction between God’s commands and men’s traditions has been lost here.

    In your reply, you are teaching that “the Holy Spirit gave” the weekly Sunday observance “to believers to memorialize and observe” as “a new thing” derived from Torah. Those who accepted this custom were (are?) following “the Holy Spirit [who] is leading us into all truth.”

    So why is a “first day of the week” observance not presented in the NT as instruction from the Holy Spirit? Instead we have the opposite: “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Rom.14:5)

    “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.” (Col.2:16)

    If I’ve misunderstood you, please set me straight.

    Howard to Hannah Weiss – June 11

    Good points, Hannah. Thanks. I would say that the Holy Spirit has highlighted that the first day of the week focuses on the risen and glorified Messiah, which also made it possible for the Holy Spirit to be given to the disciples, also on a Sonday. This occurred first in Israel to Israeli Jews.

    Some traditions are fine with God, and both Jews and Christians have them; again, some good, others not so.

    The freedom to meet and to eat otherwise — that is, not subject strictly to the requirements of the Torah, but in some way anticipated by the Torah — and not to be judged, is the wisdom of God in the real world, since not all are free throughout the world to meet on a given day, or to eat certain foods.

    Slpres – June 10

    Mr. Bass,

    Regarding Shabbat; with all due respect, the Bible says ” The works of His hands are [absolute] truth and justice [faithful and right]; and all His decrees and precepts are sure (fixed, established, and trustworthy). They stand fast and are established forever and ever and are done in [absolute] truth and uprightness.

    He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant to be forever; holy is His name, inspiring awe, reverence, and godly fear. “(Psalm 111:7-9 AMP)

    They are “established forever.” They are commanded forever.

    The Bible also says “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I make shall remain before Me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. And it shall be that from one New Moon to another New Moon and from one Sabbath to another Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:22, 3 AMP)

    The Sabbath is honored now and in the future.

    The Bible says “Then the sanctuary of God in heaven was thrown open, and the ark of His covenant was seen standing inside in His sanctuary; and there were flashes of lightning, loud rumblings (blasts, mutterings), peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a terrific hailstorm. “[I Kings 8:1-6.] (Revelation 11:19 AMP)

    This end of time prophecy shows that the Ark is in Gods temple and guess what is in the Ark? Just what has always been in the Ark- his eternal Law stating that the Sabbath day is the day we are commanded to keep holy.

    The Bible never contradicts itself and the God who never changes according to His word, has not changed. Why would he say these things then go back on all of it and make Sunday the day of the week to honor? He didn’t.

    Howard to Slpres – June 11

    Thank-you for your reply. I completely agree with you that the Bible never contradicts itself, and that God has not changed. Your quote about the future of the Sabbath has to do with the Millennial Kingdom.

    The eternal New Heavens and New Earth, in which is no death, as there is during the Millennial, will be only an eternal day of light. No night will be there, and no time. This is what the ‘day after the Sabbath’ looks to: resurrection from the dead, life after death, a new creation in which time is no more.

    God is simply fulfilling what He purposed before the foundation of the world, and the gospel brings these things to light, even though they were already written that such things would be.

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