Summary of the Initial Jewish Feasts

When God directed Moses to establish the priesthood he also ordained the sabbath and seven annual feasts (holidays) to be observed. Leviticus 23 specifies each of the feasts and details surrounding them. These instructions were given at the completion of the tabernacle, nearly a year after the exodus from Egypt. Exodus 40:17. The children of Israel were at that time eating manna since they were on the move and unable to plant crops. Some portions of the feasts were immediately observable, all were to be fully implemented upon entry into the promised land. The feasts are grouped together: Three in the spring during the first month of the religious year; Pentecost, standing alone in early summer; and three in the fall following the civil new year.



MANDATORY FEASTS: The seven feasts were grouped into three groups and God declared that three times each year, coinciding with the three groups, all of the males should appear before the Lord with sacrifices. Deuteronomy 16:16.

MEAT OFFERINGS: In seventeenth century English the word "meat" was a generic word for food. Flesh, grain and grain products and anything else which one might eat were all described as meat. If it is necessary to determine the exact meaning of a reference one must examine the context. In the case of sacrifices, the term "Meat offering" usually refers to an offering of grain or grain products. Leviticus 2:1.

CALENDARS: In New Testament times both the Jewish calendar and the Roman calendar were in common use. On the Jewish calendar a day consists of a night followed by daytime (sunset to sunset) while the Roman calendar counted days as running from midnight to midnight. A given day on the Jewish calendar covers the time period of the nightime hours of one day and the daytime hours of the next day as described by the Roman calendar. There was no attempt at coordinating the two. Both the Jewish and Roman calendars had extra days and months inserted when necessary, as determined by observation, to bring days, months and years into alignment with the actual lunar (29.5 days) and solar (365.25 days) cycles. When authorities determined that such an additional day or month was necessary they published via the current communication technology that the event was scheduled. A given date, say the 25th of Nisan, is always 25 Nisan, but whether or not it is a sabbath depends upon the year. Dates of some feasts which depend upon sabbath or counting from a sabbath, such as Firstfruits or Pentecost, are somewhat fluid. Gradually the inserts became standardized and both the current Jewish calendar and the common Gregorian calendar have become predictable.


This page updated 12/02/2010

Copyright (C) 2007,2010 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved