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  1. JESUS AND THE FEASTS INTRODUCTION • Feasts, not Fasts • Minor Feasts • Major Feasts • Pilgrimage Feasts • Passover – Pesah • Pentecost – Shavout • Tabernacle – Sukkot

  2. JESUS AND THE FEASTS INTRODUCTION • Order of the Feasts • Circular Order • Passover – Pesah (Unleavened Bread) • Pentecost – Shavout • Trumpets – Rosh Ha Shanah • Atonement – Yom Kippur • Tabernacles – Sukkot • Dedication – Hanukkah • Lots – Purim

  3. JESUS AND THE FEASTS INTRODUCTION • Our Order • Pentecost - Shavout • Trumpets – Rosh Ha Shanah • Atonement – Yom Kippur • Lots – Purim • Passover – Pesah (Unleavened Bread) • Tabernacles – Sukkot • Dedication – Hanukkah • Format for our order • Background • Traditions • Major Themes • Jesus and the Feasts


  5. PENTECOST THE FEAST OF WEEKS • Feast commemorating the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai • Occurs 49 days (seven “weeks”) following the harvesting of the Omer (“measure”) – the first of the new grain harvest therefore Pentecost marked the end of the grain harvest. • During this period a farmer would bring the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple • This is the experience with the Divine that is celebrated – a belief that God cares about this world and expects us to strive to be good and just. • The harvest is a result of the work done, the blessings of God are a result of obedience to the Law.

  6. PENTECOST THE FEAST OF WEEKS SHAVU’OT AS MARRIAGE • God is the groom and Israel is the bride • Pesah is the courtship, Shavu’ot is the marriage, and Sukkot is setting up house. • The tablet of Moses was the Ketubah (marriage contract) with Israel • Moses smashes the tablets rather than completing the marriage between the people and God • Thus keeping the people from committing adultery, having worshipped the gold calf.

  7. PENTECOST THE FEAST OF WEEKS TRADITIONS Decorating the home with trees and flowers (the Tree of Life is symbolized). Eating dairy products – some eat with honey (for the Torah is like “honey and milk” Song of Songs 4:11) Reading of the book of Ruth (the harvest motif and the Moabitess following the Law) Stay up all night the first night studying the Torah – some believe that the Israelites at Sinai slept in the morning Moses returned so they stay up to atone for this sin. Others believe that this is the “wedding day of God” and therefore stay up to prepare the bride (Israel) for her Lord.

  8. PENTECOST THE FEAST OF WEEKS MAJOR THEMES A completion of Passover. If we are liberated, we are liberated to what? Freedom does not lie in anarchy. By accepting the Covenant at Sinai we are set free from any other human authority and begin to serve God. A harvest is the result of works and grace. It takes work, plowing, sowing, working the fields) alongside God’s goodness to bring about a harvest. Likewise it takes the receiving as well as the giving of the Law to bring the harvest of blessings of the Covenant. No reenactment of the Sinai event (like Pesah or Sukkot) because the Revelation is a continuous event. Torah should be experienced every day. Our task is to hear anew each day. The Torah is given at Sinai but through human elements (i.e. Moses). This heightens the mystery of the Divine in the life of the human.

  9. PENTECOST THE FEAST OF WEEKS JESUS AND THE FEAST OF WEEKS • Jesus celebrates Pentecost (John 5) • Jesus gives life (vs. 21) • The good will live, the evil will be condemned (vs.29) • Study of the Scripture3 should lead to Jesus and Life (vss. 39-40) • Connection with the Christian Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) • The followers of Jesus receive the Spirit, the Presence of the Divine • The harvest is ripe


  11. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS • FOUR JEWISH NEW YEARS • NISAN 1 – The new year for Kings (date to determine years of rule). In the spring of the year. The secular new year. (Passover) • ELUL 1 – The new year for tithing of animals • SHEVAT 15 – The New Year for trees • TISHRI 1 – The new year for years and marks the anniversary of the creation of the world. In the fall of the year The religious new year. (Rosh-ha-shana)

  12. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS • Rosh-ha-shana means “head of the year” - God created the world and continues to renew the creation • Recognition that God created humanity – time to reflect on New Life, the importance of Life, and how we treat one another. • Time of introspection that ends with Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. A period called the “Days of Awe” or “High Holy Days” • September 19, 2009

  13. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS FESTIVAL OF CREATION • Communal study of Scripture • Sarah – a symbol of Rosh ha Shanah • Jonah – a study of repentance • Communal Blessing • Stand in circle- Hand to head • Blessing – yevarekhekha – Numbers 6:24-26 • Communal Meal • Honey and fruit – Blessing for a new year, fruitful and sweet • Challah – Sabbath Bread made in a circle

  14. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS THE SHOFAR (TRUMPET) The shofar is blown: Tekiah – One long blast Teru’ah – Nine staccato blasts (sobbing) Shevarim – Three short blasts (groaning) The formula: Tekiah teru’ah, tekiah, tekiah shevarim tekiah, tekiah shevarim teru’ah tekiah Shofar calls us to remember (commemorate) – a day of remembrance of sin and restitution, of hope and remembrance – Leviticus 23:23

  15. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS The Greeting “May you be inscribed and sealed for a new year.” The inscription is your name written in the Book of Life. The inscription is sealed on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Therefore there are ten days in which to repent and secure your place in the Book of Life,

  16. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS MAJOR THEMES God’s Sovereignty – God’s Control / Our lack of control (The Garden of Eden), God’s Image / Our responsibility Remembrance - God remembers Noah, God remembers Israel in Egypt, We must remember other amid the flood and reach out to save them Sound – The shofar opens the way to new communication (broken at the Tower of Babel)

  17. THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS Jesus and the Feast of Trumpets • In Christ, the believer is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17-19) • Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the Life. (John 14) • The sounding of the shofar is a sign of the coming Messiah (Isaiah 27:13, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18) • The book of life (Rev. 20:12)


  19. YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) • ENTRANCE TO THE HOLY OF HOLIES • The High Priest alone • Blood of the bull for his sin • Blood of the goat for the sin of the people • THE RELEASING OF THE SCAPEGOAT • The custom of Kapparot (atonements) • Most Rabbi’s prefer the understanding that there are two forms of atonement (sacrifice at the temple or transference and therefore they call all to personal sacrifice)

  20. YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) • A DAY OF ABSTINENCE • Leviticus 23:29-30 • Five Prohibitions • No food - 25 hour fast • No bathing • No anointing of the body with oil • No wearing of leather shoes - barefoot • No sexual relations • A DAY OF REPENTANCE (TESHUVAH) • Having sought forgiveness of others during the days since Rosh-ha-shana • Now seeking God’s forgiveness and turning to a new way • Last chance before the sealing of the Book of Life

  21. YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) TRADITIONS • Day is spent in the synagogue – seeking God’s forgiveness • Five Services • Starting with KolNidrei – proclaims null and void vows and promises we may fail to fulfill in the coming year • Ends with the “closing of the Gates” • Scapegoat ritual • Rooster twirled around the head asking that the chicken be killed in your stead, then given to the poor • Today a handkerchief with money is twirled • Abstinence is observed – Five prohibitions • Repent, Repent, Repent!! – Last chance to be in the Book of Life

  22. YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) MAJOR THEMES Sacrifice – The Sacrifices made for atonement, seeking a restored relationship with God recognizing that we have sinned and our only hope is in the forgiveness of God. Repentance (Teshuvah) – Recognizing who we are and returning back to God, going back to the way we were to go forward in our relationship to God and others, examining all our relationships. (The story of Jonah) Social Justice – “iniquity involves the deliberate wronging of others, especially the weak and defenseless” (Mal. 3), the Al Khet is recited as a confession of communal sins.

  23. YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) JESUS AND THE DAY OF ATONEMENT Jesus, our High Priest has entered the Holy of Holies to make atonement for us (Hebrews 9:11-14;25-28). Jesus is greater than Jonah and yet many still refuse to repent and turn to Him (Luke 11:30-32). Jesus points to the connection between our relationship with Him and with others (Matthew 25:31ff).

  24. PURIM The Feast of “Lots” myrwp THE BOOK OF ESTHER

  25. PURIM The Feast of “Lots” • Celebrates the victory of Mordecai and Esther over Haman • “Purim” means “lots” and refers to the lots that Haman used to determine the date to kill the Jews • Rejoicing is not limited by any sense of sacredness • Every time the name of the villain is mentioned noise is made to drown out the name. • The work of God is done through humanity and behind the scenes

  26. PURIM The Feast of “Lots” TRADITIONS Ta’anit Esther – the Fast of Esther – a three day fast before Purim to remember the three days the Jews fasted and prayed for Esther The reading of the scroll of Esther – often interrupted by jeers against the antagonist, parodies and songs. Mishloah manot – sending gifts of food to friends (Esther 9:22) Mattanot le-euyonim – giving gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22). Gifts shared with at least two poor people beyond regular charity giving Sharing the half shekel – the Temple tax is used in a symbolic way to help raise money for the poor Seudah – a late afternoon meal with family and friends “Purim Torah” – making fun of the traditions to remind them that they should not be self righteous

  27. PURIM The Feast of “Lots” MAJOR THEMES Celebration is an important part of religious life. Purim is a time to let loose and truly CELEBRATE. The Talmud has a dictum that states that you should consume enough alcohol that you can not distinguish between “cursed be Haman” and “Blessed be Mordecai” Purim shows how easy it is to change from Mordecai into Haman, from a crusader for justice into simply a crusader. By questioning the Torah, we avoid a self righteousness. The mystical work of God through humanity. That God should decide to use humans to fulfill God’s will.

  28. PURIM The Feast of “Lots” JESUS AND THE FEAST OF PURIM Jesus enjoyed the celebrations of life. (John 2:1-11) Jesus warns of self righteousness, constantly warning of those who try to look good on the outside but are rotten on the inside. (Matthew 23:27, Luke 18:10-14) Jesus is the ultimate work of God in humanity. (Isaiah 7:14)


  30. PASSOVER THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD • A Seven day feast to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and a celebration of spring • A Seder (lit. “order”) meal is observed on the first evening of the Feast • The name “Passover” comes from the death angel “passing over” the houses of the Israelites while killing the first born of those houses with out the blood of the Lamb on the door posts. • The name “unleavened bread” comes from the bread that the Israelite took with them from Egypt. They left in haste and did not have time to allow the bread to rise. This bread (matzah) is a reminder of the liberation from Egypt

  31. PASSOVER THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD TRADITIONS The Seder meal to tell the story of liberation The removal of the Hametz (leaven) – a symbol of the removal of sin from our lives. This begins with a spring cleaning and the selling of the leaven. A search is made for any leaven left on the eve of Passover and is then destroyed by fire. Fast of the Firstborn – on the eve of Pesah to commemorate having been spared by the blood of the Lamb. Matzot – the eating of unleavened bread is continued throughout the Feast.

  32. PASSOVER THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD MAJOR THEMES Liberation from oppression. This is not just the story of the ancient Jews but it is the story throughout history of God’s setting people free. The removal of the Hametz reveals our personal liberation from our evil inclination and pride Passover marks the beginning of God’s covenant with a people. Before God made covenant with individuals (i.e. Abram), now God makes covenant with a group of people (Ex. 6:7). Passover looks forward to the future redemption of God’s people. God was faithful to God’s promise to those in bondage in Egypt, so God will be faithful to the promise of redemption yet to come. Passover is a reenactment of the slavery and redemption that occurs each day in our lives.

  33. PASSOVER THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD JESUS AND THE PASSOVER Jesus removes the hametz from our lives Jesus is the Matzah – pierced and stripped Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world. Jesus is the Afikomen – hidden and then revealed, crucified, buried and risen. (The middle matzah of the Unity – the symbol of God, with Jesus the 2nd person of the Godhead). Jesus took the bread (Afikomen) and said, “This is my body.” Jesus took the third cup – the cup of Redemption and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood.”


  35. SUKKOT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES • A commemoration of the wandering of the Jews in the desert • A celebration of the “ingathering” of the harvest • Sukkot are built to remember living in temporary dwellings in the desert • Seven day celebration with a special celebration on the eighth day • Guests are invited to share in a meal at the sukkot • Four spices are shook to praise God for the bountiful harvest • Hoshana Rabbah (the Great Hosanna) celebrated on the last day of the feast brings a sevenfold praise to God.

  36. SUKKOT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES THE SUKKOT A temporary shelter built between Yom Kippur and Pentecost It is to be treated as one’s home during the feast The roof is to be made of organic material and must be enough to provide shade but limited to allow one to see the moon and stars at night. The sukkot are not to inhibit the celebration of joy during the feast

  37. SUKKOT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES THE USHIZIN • Symbolic guests invited to the sukkah each day of the feast • The guest may vary from group to group • Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David • Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Leah, Miriam, Abigail, and Esther The wandering and homelessness is to be represented by the ushizin (i.e. Abraham left his father’s house to go to Israel, the patriarchs wandered in Canaan, Jacob fled to Laban, Joseph was sold by his brothers, Moses fled Egypt, with Aaron led the people in the wilderness, David fled from Saul)

  38. SUKKOT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES THE FOUR SPICES • From Leviticus 23:40 • “The product of goodly trees” – an etrog (citron) • “Branches of palm trees” • “boughs of leafy trees” (myrtle) • “willows of the brook” • Symbolic of the rejoicing in the bountiful harvest • A procession is made around the synagogue with the leader reciting the days hymn that begins with hosha na (“save us”). Repeated seven time on the last day of the feast.

  39. SUKKOT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES MAJOR THEMES The Sukkot speak of the provision of God. For in the wilderness God provided everything for the people of Israel. We give thanks to God for though we are rebellious, God not only forgives but continues to provide for us. The Sukkot also remind us that what we have is passing. The houses we dwell in we create to provide some form of security (in the end a false security). Everything we have could be gone tomorrow, we need to trust in the God we can see through the roof of our Sukkot. Coming to the end of the agricultural year brings images of the end of our sojourn and of the coming Messiah. We are called to sing Hosha-na together. Our praise should be communal for God is going to provide a place for God’s children

  40. SUKKOT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES JESUS AND THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES • Jesus provides permanent shelter for us. (2 Corinthians 4, John 14:1-3) • Jesus is the living water that quenches our thirst for God. Jesus proclaims this on the greatest day of the Feast, the eighth day water is poured on the altar seven times. Isaiah 12:3 is recited referring to the “wells of salvation”. (John 7:37) • Illustration of the Mercy of God during the Feast. Jesus offers mercy to the woman caught in Adultery. Though we walk away from God, Jesus offers us Mercy. • (John 8)


  42. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION Talmud asks, “What is Hanaukah? • Eight day celebration of the Maccabean revolt • A festival of the dedication of the Temple • A celebration of the miracle of lights • AN EIGHT DAY CELEBRATION OF THE MACCABEAN REVOLT • Antiochus Epiphanes orders the Hellenization of his realm • Including idol worship and eating pork • Forbids possessing the Torah and circumcision • Refusal of Jews to comply leads to siege of Jerusalem and Temple • Mattathias Maccabee, rural priest kills a Jew about to compromise and worship an idol, this begins a revolt against Greece • Priest of Modi’in a small village • Runs to the mountains with five sons to begin guerrilla warfare • Judah the Maccabee rescues Jerusalem, rededicates the temple, and reinstates the feast of Tabernacles • The smaller army • Superior in strategy and bravery

  43. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION • A FESTIVAL OF THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE • A cleansing of the Temple took place upon the successful reclaiming of Jerusalem by Judah the Maccabee. • The return of hope in the coming Messiah (see Daniel) and the beginning of the Hasmonean Dynasty • A CELEBRATION OF THE MIRACLE OF LIGHTS • Dedication of the furniture in the Holy Place • Ark of Covenant, Table of Shewbread, Lampstand • Menorah of seven lamps • Consecrated oil enough for one day • Eight days required to consecrate more oil • They decided to light the menorah in faith • The Miracles of Miracles • There was enough oil for eight days • Hanukah is the festival of Lights

  44. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION TRADITIONS • LIGHTING THE MENORAH • One candle for each day the lamps remained lit • “Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified our lives through His commandments, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights. Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for helping us to reach this moment.” • Placed in a public place (by the door or in a window) • Lit from left to right starting with the new candle

  45. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION • Gift giving • The Hanukkah gelt (money) • Expanded by American Jews to help children with the Christmas gift giving • PLAYING GAMES • A way to pass the long winter nights • Dreidel – a four sided top • Nun – Neither win or lose • Gimel – take the whole pot • Heh – take half the pot • Shin – put one coin in the pot

  46. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION • Women and Hanukkah • Women are not to work through Hanukkah (or when the lamps are lit) • Two stories • Syrian governor insisted that the brides be given to him first on their wedding night. One woman ripped off her clothes following the wedding ceremony. Her brothers were ready to stone her when she noted they were more upset about her nakedness than what the Syrian governor would do to her. They then went and killed the governor. Thus the revolt started • Syrians were beseiging a Jewish city. A woman named Judith went to the Syrian camp, prepared a feast for the general, got him drunk and beheaded him. When the Syrians saw their general dead and the Jewish army carrying it toward them they fled.

  47. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION MAJOR THEMES • THE MIRACLE OF LIGHT • The miracle of deep faith on the first day • Faith that the light would shine despite the lack of oil, that they would prevail in battle despite unlikely odds, that the light will grow despite the darkness of winter • Faith in God, “not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord” • DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE • A time of dedication and renewal • Our menorah has replaced the one in the Temple • We are the Levites and Priests, the generals and leaders in the battle

  48. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION • WHY HANUKKAH? • The light in our souls that burns for eternity • The light from the One that is all brightness reflects in us • Lighting the candles we are ready for the dedication of the temple/God’s dwelling place • This is Hanukkah

  49. HANUKKAH FEAST OF DEDICATION Jesus and the Feast of Dedication Jesus precedes the Feast with the healing of the blind man (John 9:35-41). Followed by the confrontation at the Feast with those wanting Him to tell them “plainly” if He is the Christ (John 10:24). Jesus argues that He has shown them yet they try to stone Him. Jesus is the Light of the World (John 9:5). He heals the blind man and dispels the darkness. We can have light in our lives (John 8:12). If we walk in Jesus we will have the light of life (eternity). We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). We should let our light shine before men “that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.” (vs. 16)