“You must present these offerings to the Lord at your annual festivals” (Numbers 29:39 NLT).
Reading through all the instructions concerning offerings and festivals in the Old Testament is pretty overwhelming. It seems impossible to keep up with them all. Yet, God was teaching His people to remember Him and what He had done for them. These holy-days/holidays were meant for remembrance, worship and to remind them of their identity as one people belonging to God. In Numbers 28, the following holiday/festivals are mentioned:
– PASSOVER (Hebrew: פסח Pesach): Which commemorates the story of the Exodus, also called The Feast of Unleavened Bread. Takes place in the Hebrew month of Nisan (Mar/Apr).
– FESTIVAL OF HARVEST (Hebrew: שבועות Shavuot): Also called The Festival of Weeks and The Festival of Pentecost. It commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah. Begins at sundown in the month of Sivan (May/June).
– FESTIVAL OF TRUMPETS (Hebrew: ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah, literally “head of the year”): is the 7th month in the biblical account, but became the first month of the Jewish New Year. It is celebrated by the sounding of the shofar (trumpets). It begins at sundown on Tishri 1 (Sept/Oct).
– DAY OF ATONEMENT (Heb: יום כפור Yom Kippur): It is the holiest day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Begins at sundown on Tishri 10 (Sept/Oct).
– FESTIVAL OF SHELTERS (Heb. סוכות Sukkot): Also called The Feast of Booths and The Feast of Tabernacles. It commemorates the way the Israelites were sustained by God in the wilderness for 40 years living in tents. Takes place on Tishri 15-22 (Sept/Oct).
The Jewish holidays of Hanukkah and Purim are not named in the Torah. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication during the 2nd century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where God miraculously caused the holy oil in the Temple lamps to last until more could be made. Purim commemorates God’s protection of the Jews as told in the book of Esther.
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the miraculous way you have protected and provided for your people throughout the ages. We especially thank you for Jesus, our Lord and Savior. May we never forget to remember and celebrate all that you have done for us. In Jesus’ name, amen.