13 Ways Hanukkah Is Different from Christmas

Hanukkah (a Hebrew word meaning “the Feast of Dedication” and also known as the Festival of Lights) is a minor holiday in Judaism and is only mentioned once in the Scriptures (John 10:22). It is the memorial of the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem after the pagan Greeks had defiled it with idols. There is no scriptural command to celebrate it. There is no indication that Yeshua or the early disciples celebrated it, although John in his Gospel mentions that Yeshua happened be at the temple during this holiday. Nevertheless, Hanukkah as great positive spiritual ramifications.

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Although Hanukkah and Christmas occur in the same month, they are totally different from each other. Hanukkah is not a replacement for Christmas for those who have discovered the pagan origins and unbiblical nature of Christmas. Here are several ways how these two holidays differ: Continue reading

 

The Fall Biblical Feasts Are Coming…Are You Ready to Celebrate Them?

Deuteronomy 16:1ff, Keeping the biblical feasts. How important are YHVH’s feast days (annual set-apart times or moedim) to you? The Israelites and first-century Messianic believers planned their entire year’s schedule around them. That’s how important YHVH’s annual festivals were to them. Do we travel halfway across the country to take a vacation or to go to a conference, and yet do not set apart the time to obey YHVH’s voice by keeping his appointed times? Do we let our jobs, school or other secular activities dictate how and whether we keep the feasts or not? If so, what does this say about the status of our spiritual priorities? What does Elohim think about our excuses about why we can’t keep his feasts has he has commanded us to do? 

The feast days are the skeletal framework of YHVH’s entire plan of redemption (salvation) of Israel. One cannot in good conscience and be true to biblical truth and keep the weekly Sabbath without keeping YHVH’s annual Sabbaths. They stand or fall together. What plans are you making to keep the upcoming fall appointed times of YHVH: Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting/Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Covering/Atonement), Hag HaSukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and Shemini Atzeret (The Eighth Day)?

In the final analysis, jobs, schooling, friends and the praises and acceptance of men will all pass away, but our relationship with Elohim will determine our eternal destiny. Isn’t it time that we got serious about putting him first in our lives?

On this blog site, I have posted numerous teaching articles on both the seventh day Sabbath and on the biblical feasts. These are readily accessible by going to the main page of this blog and typing in search terms in the site’s search engine at the top right hand side of the page.

Also, on this ministry’s YouTube channel, you can find dozens of videos on the Sabbath and biblical feasts at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5EzE5DQnrHfWWbczzkRo6IOnglxhbRfM.

On this ministry’s website, you can find numerous teaching articles on the Sabbath and biblical feasts at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast.

When are we to celebrate the biblical feasts? You can find out this info from our free downloadable online biblical calendar at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/calendars.html.

If you want to understand the biblical calendar from the Bible itself, go to https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast.

 

When Is the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot or Pentecost?

When is the Feast of Weeks (Heb. Chag Shavuot) or Pentecost? This has been a subject of debate among the Jews going back for two thousand years to the first century, and still is today among well meaning people who love Elohim and desire to follow his word. This is the question I will address in this study.

Since Shavuot is the only biblical holiday that involves counting days and weeks (hence its name, the Feast of Weeks), there are different opinions about when to start the count leading up to Shavuot. The Torah tells us to count from the Sabbath associated with the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. (Lev 23:15–16, NKJV)

This sounds simple enough. Or is it?

The question and the subject of the debate is which Sabbath do you start counting from? The day after the weekly Sabbath occurring during the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the day after the high holy day Sabbath of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which occurs on the fifteenth day of the first month of the biblical year?

In the first century in the time of Yeshua and the apostles, there were two main opinions among the leading Jews on when to start counting the weeks (called “the counting of the omer”) leading up to Shavuot. The religious sect of the Pharisees whose spiritual descendants are the modern rabbinic Jews started the counting of the omer from the day after first high holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a high holy day Sabbath (John 19:31). On the other hand, the Sadducees, the other main Jewish sects of the first century (along with the Boethusians, which was likely a sub-sect of the Sadducees; see A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, second division, vol 2, p. 37, by Emil Schurer; Commentary on the NT from the Talmud and Hebraica, vol. 4, p. 23 [commentary on Acts 2:1], by John Lightfoot) counted the omer from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Some modern Messianics follow the rabbinic method, while others follow the Sadducean method.

It is generally understood by historical scholars that the Jewish sect of the Continue reading

 

Getting Ready for Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost

Next Sunday (May 27, 2018) is Shavuot or the biblical Feast of Weeks (also known as Pentecost). This is according to the visible new moon, aviv barley calendar, which I prove and explain in my three calendar articles on the subject (https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast) was the calendar in use at the time of Yeshua and the apostles. Those who follow the rabbinic calendar (invented in the middle of the fourth century A.D. and approved by the Roman emperor, Constantine) celebrated Pentecost a week earlier. Those who follow the any of the other non-biblical calendars (e.g. the astronomical new moon conjunction calendar, the vernal equinox calendar, the Enoch calendar, etc., etc.) would have celebrated or will be celebrating Shavuot on some other day.

The following are links to resources that I produced (with the help of my wife) to help you to understand the importance of this day and why we need to celebrate it with full understanding of its significance in YHVH’s plan of redemption for sinful humans.

 

 

The Biblical Feasts: The Seven Steps in YHVH’s Plan of Salvation

YHVH’s seven biblical feasts are the seven steps in the Creator’s plan of salvation to redeem sinful and fallen man to him and by which man can be adopted into the family of Elohim and receive eternal life.

Overview of the Biblical Feasts

If you had to sum up the entire message of the Bible in one word what would it be? Probably words such as love, hope, salvation, eternal life or heaven are coming to your mind. But I challenge you to find a better word than the following: r-e-c-o-n-c-i-l-i-a-t-i-o-n. The dictionary defines reconciliation as “to restore to friendship or harmony, to settle or resolve a quarrel, to make consistent or congruous.” When man chose to rebel against YHVH and to give in to sin at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil at the very beginning he chose the path of separation from his Heavenly Father. Sin causes man to be separated from a totally holy, righteous and sinless Creator. Since that time YHVH has been endeavoring to reconcile man to himself. He has laid out criteria for man to follow for this to occur—for man to once again have a friendly, loving and intimate relationship with his Heavenly Father as did Adam before he sinned.

The set-apart appointed times (moedim) or divine rehearsals/gatherings (miqra kodesh) of YHVH are prophetic shadow-pictures or symbols of the steps man must take to be reconciled to his Heavenly Father. They are the complete plan of salvation or redemption rolled up into seven easy-to-understand steps. Though a child can understand these steps, the truths contained therein can at the same time be expanded and unfolded until one literally has rolled out before oneself the entire message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation—a message that to the human comprehension is staggering, deep and rich beyond understanding. These feast days are literally the skeletal structure upon which the truths of the entire Bible hang. The message of redemption, sanctification, salvation, the atonement, glorification, eschatology, the history of Israel, the entire Gospel message, the covenants, the marriage of the Lamb, the bride of Messiah and Yeshua the Messiah are all prefigured within the glorious spiritual container of YHVH’s set apart feasts contained in seven steps—seven being the biblical number of divine perfection and completion.

Quite assuredly, without a deep, walking-it-out comprehension of the feast days of YHVH, no matter how learned one is in biblical understanding, or how academically astute and mentally acute in biblical erudition one may be, one will not have a deep understanding of those scriptural subjects listed above. How can one understand end-time events such as the second coming, the great tribulation and the rapture unless one understands the feast days from a deep Hebraic perspective? One simply cannot have just a knowledge of Greek, the Gospels, the Apostolic Scriptures along with a surface understanding (i.e. traditional Christian perspective) of the prophecies of the “Old Testament” and expect to understand eschatology (the study of end-time events) unless one immerses themselves in understanding and keeping the feast days of YHVH. One cannot throw out the foundation or the skeletal structure and expect to have a body of understanding that amounts to anything at all. Simple logic and common sense and the very truth and character of YHVH Elohim demands and dictates this so.

At Mount Sinai, YHVH gave to his people Israel what is commonly called the “Ten Commandments.” These words from the mouth of YHVH himself were and are literally the foundation and cornerstone to the rest of the 613 commandments from YHVH given to Continue reading

 

The Biblical Feasts Are YHVH’s Feasts, NOT the Jewish Feasts!

The biblical feasts are the steps YHVH has laid out for man to come to him. This is why they are HIS feasts, and not men’s feasts.

Leviticus 23:2, My feasts [Heb. moedim]. YHVH calls these feasts his feasts. They’re not men’s feasts or the Jewish feasts! They came from YHVH and belong to him. When men pervert YHVH’s feasts by mixing in pagan traditions, they’re no longer YHVH’s feasts, but men’s feasts (e.g. Isa 1:13–15; Amos 5:21; Hos 2:11). When men pollute his feasts and appointed times, YHVH says that he hates them because they’re no longer his feasts (Isa 1:14–15).

In Ezekiel 20, we see that YHVH’s feasts (or sabbaths) are a covenantal sign between YHVH and his people (Ezek 20:12) that they were to live by (Ezek 20:11), yet which Israel, in rebellion, refused to do while in the wilderness. Instead they defiled his sabbaths by, presumably, not doing them and doing other things on those holy days (Ezek 20:13). Israel’s rebellion against YHVH with regard to their refusal to keep his sabbaths brought upon them YHVH’s judgments (Ezek 20:13). In other words, it was YHVH’s will for the Israelites to keep his sabbaths in the wilderness, but because of their idolatrous rebellion, they refused to do so. In fact, YHVH calls refusing to observe his sabbaths idolatry and for this sin (along with other sins), the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness for forty years (Ezek 20:15–16). In profaning his sabbaths, YHVH accuses the Israelites of despising his Torah (Ezek 20:16). YHVH then goes on to urge his people to not follow the example of their rebellious forefathers, but rather to walk in all of his Torah commands (including his sabbaths, Ezek 20:18–20). Because of their profaning his sabbaths, he punished them by scattering them in exile among the heathens. Those modern saints who refuse to keep YHVH’s Sabbath and feasts are walking in the same sin as the ancient Israelites. Often people who refuse to keep YHVH’s feast days holy do so because the feasts conflict with their secular activities (such as their jobs). YHVH calls this idolatry and being like the heathen (Ezek 20:30, 32). In the end times, YHVH is going to separate his people out from the heathen and bring them back into covenantal agreement with him including obedience to his sabbaths (Ezek 20:33–38). He will purge from his people those rebels who refuse to obey him including keeping his sabbaths (Ezek 20:38), which are a sign of his covenantal relationship with them.

I have produced numerous video and written teachings on YHVH’s biblical feasts in general and each of the seven biblical in particular. This information is all available to you free of charge in accordance with Yeshua’s instructions when commissioning his disciples to preach the gospel.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matt 10:8)

The three places to access this trove of teaching materials are—

  • This blog where I have 2367 articles posted over the past several years. To access those teachings on the biblical feasts, simply go to the main page of this blog, scroll to the top and type your search term (e.g. biblical feasts, Passover, Pesach, Shavuot, Pentecost, Sukkot, etc.)  into search window and see what comes up.
  • For written teachings, go to https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast.
  • For 60 some video teachings on the feasts, check out our YouTube channel biblical feasts playlist at https://www.youtube.com/user/HoshanaRabbah?feature=mhee.
 

Counting the Omer—50 Days to The Feast of Weeks/Shavuot/Pentecost

Today is the first day of the counting of the omer. After 50 days from today, it will be Pentecost, which in Greek means “count fifty.” 

The Torah commands us to count the omer (Lev 23:15–16). The graphic below will help you to do that. Keep track of the days and change the statement below accordingly to fit the omer count for the particular day.

May YHVH bless you as you participate in the countdown to Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.

Counting the Omer—What Is Its Spiritual Prophetic Significance?

There are 49 days between First Fruits Day, which occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost). Why does YHVH in the Torah command us to count the seven weeks or 49 days between these two events, with Pentecost occurring on the fiftieth day? The short answer is that Yeshua doesn’t want to marry a spiritual baby. For the long answer, keep reading…

From the Depths of Slavery to a Kingdom of Priests

Every detail in Scripture is for our learning and edification. All the examples of the past are for our learning upon whom the ends of the world are come (1 Cor 10:11; Rom 15:4). Everyday, YHVH is uncovering the prophetic mysteries hidden in the Scriptures that are being revealed to those who diligently seek him by diligently studying to show themselves approved as a workman rightly dividing YHVH’s Word (2 Tim 2:15).

YHVH’s command for us to count the omer as a countdown to the Feast of Weeks (Heb. Shavuot; Gr. Pentecoste, Lev 23:15–16) memorializes the Israelites’ journey from spiritual babyhood to adulthood. During this 49-day count, Israel ascended from out of the depths of slavery and suffering in Egypt, was baptized in the Red Sea, and then arrived at Mount Sinai—a place of a spiritual standing before YHVH as a kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6). It Continue reading