Ask the Rabbi: Biblical Feasts

Welcome to The Rock of Israel Congregation! We are a mixed multitude of Messianic Jewish & Non-Jewish believers in Yeshua Messiah studying the Word of G-d and putting it into practice to the best of our ability to fulfill the prophecy of the "One New Man." We immerse ourselves in studying the Hebrew Bible, in its original language, history, and context. Below you will find a series of videos and specific resources for studying the Appointed Feasts of the L-rd. We welcome your questions, so don't hesitate to reach out to Rabbi Jeff or join us for weekly Shabbat Service, Saturdays 9:30 am-11:00 am
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7 Biblical Feasts

Did you know that you have an appointment with the Creator of the Universe?  Moedim-(plural for Moed) are Set Times, Appointed Times, or Holy Convocations found in Leviticus 23 that endures forever. We typically think of the Feasts of Adonai representing a set of seven (7) Holy Days, which are typically divided into four (4) spring festivals and three (3) fall festivals; however, there is really a total of eight (8) Moedim listed in Leviticus 23.  The first is actually the weekly Sabbath.

Leviticus 23:5; Exodus 12: 1-13; Isaiah 53; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Matthew 26:29

The Biblical Sabbath is a day of rest and worship that G-d established at the end of His creation work. According to the book of Bereshit (Genesis), G-d created the heavens and the earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested and blessed it as a Holy Day (Genesis 2:2-3). The word “sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat”, which can translate from Hebrew to English as “to cease” or “to rest”.

The Sabbath is also one of the Ten Commandments that Hashem gave to His people Israel through Moses. The fourth Commandment says: “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the L-rd your G-d; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the L-rd made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the L-rd blessed the Sabbath Day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).

The Sabbath is a sign of Elohim’s covenant with His people, a reminder of His creation and redemption, and a foretaste of His eternal rest. The Sabbath is also a gift of grace and mercy from G-d, who invites His people to enter His rest and enjoy His presence and blessing. The Sabbath is a time to worship , to study His word, to pray, to fellowship with others, to serve the needy, and to delight in His goodness.

Some fun facts about the Biblical Sabbath are:

  • Sabbath is also fulfilled by Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Christ), who is the L-rd of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8) and who gives us true rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30). 
  • The Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday, according to the Torah way of reckoning days from evening to evening (Leviticus 23:32).
  • The Sabbath is celebrated by Messianic Believers and Jews by lighting candles, reciting blessings, singing songs, reading scriptures, sharing meals, and resting from work.
  • A Sabbath greeting is “Shabbat Shalom”, which means “Sabbath of Peace”, as it is a time to experience G-d’s peace and shalom (wholeness, harmony, well-being) in every aspect of life.
  • The Sabbath is also related to other Biblical feasts, such as Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, which are also called “Sabbaths” or “Holy Convocations” (Leviticus 23:1-44)

We hope this helps you understand more about this wonderful day that Elohim gave to His people and all mankind.

In this video, Rabbi Jeff Grillo gives an overview about Pesach, also known as the Feast of Passover.  

Leviticus 23:5; Exodus 12: 1-13; Isaiah 53; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Matthew 26:29


The Feast of Passover is a Biblical festival that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is also known as Pesach, which means “to pass over” in Hebrew because Hashem passed over the houses of the Israelites that were marked with the blood of a lamb, while He struck the firstborn of the Egyptians with a plague (Exodus 12:1-13). It is one of the three annual pilgrimage festivals, along with Shavuot and Sukkot, when the Israelites were commanded to observe and to bring their offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Feast of Passover points to Yeshua of Nazareth, who is also known as Jesus Christ, in several ways. First, Yeshua is the Passover Lamb who died for our sins and redeemed us from the bondage of spiritual death. He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53 and was crucified on the day of Passover, shedding His blood as a perfect sacrifice for us (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Second, Yeshua celebrated the last supper with His disciples on the night before His death, and He instituted a new covenant with them by breaking bread and sharing wine, which symbolized His body and blood. He also gave them a reminder of the Torah commandment to love one another as His Father loved them (Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-35). Third, Yeshua fulfilled the symbolism of the Passover Seder, which is a ritual meal that retells the story of the Exodus and expresses gratitude to Elohim for our salvation. The Seder includes four cups of wine that represent four expressions of Hashem’s deliverance: I will bring you out, I will deliver you, I will redeem you, and I will take you as my people (Exodus 6:6-7). Yeshua drank three cups with His disciples, but He said He would not drink the fourth cup until He drank it anew in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). The fourth cup represents the ultimate redemption that Yeshua will bring when He returns as King and establishes His kingdom on earth.

Leviticus 23;6; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galations 5:7-9; Matthew 16:11-12

Feast of Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Biblical festival that follows the Passover and lasts for seven days. It is also known as Chag HaMatzot, which means “the feast of unleavened bread” in Hebrew, because it involves eating only unleavened bread (matzah) and removing all leaven (chametz) from the house and food. Leaven is anything that causes dough to rise, such as yeast. It is a symbol of sin and corruption in the Bible, and it must be avoided during this time of purification and renewal.  During this feast, Hashem commanded the Israelites to eat only unleavened bread (matzah) and remove all leaven (chametz) from their houses. 

To remove the leaven from our lives, we need to repent from our sins and follow  commandments. We also need to avoid the influence of false teachings and hypocrisy, which can corrupt our faith and lead us astray. We need to seek God’s truth and walk in His ways. We need to be humble and sincere, not proud and wicked. As believers in Yeshua, we need to sincerely humble ourselves, eliminate and avoid pridefulness, and be filled with the Holy Spirit, who guides us to live right before Hashem.

Yeshua wants us to remove the leaven from our lives because He wants us to be holy and obedient to Elohim. He wants us to repent from our sins and follow His example of humility and service. He wants us to be free from the influence of the world and its evil ways. He wants us to be a new creation in Him, filled with His Spirit and His truth.

In this video, Rabbi Jeff Grillo speaks about the meaning of The Feast of Unleavened Bread as it pertains to our messiah, Yeshua.

In this video, Rabbi Jeff Grillo explains the Biblical Feast of First Fruits from a Messianic perspective.

Leviticus 23:9-14; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Matthew 27:52-53

Feast of First Fruits or Festival of Reaping or Day of First Fruits

The Hebrew Feast of First Fruits is a Biblical festival that celebrates the first harvest of crops in the spring. It is also connected to Shavuot, which means “weeks” in Hebrew, because it occurs seven weeks after Passover. It is one of the three annual pilgrimage festivals, along with Passover and Sukkot, when the Israelites were commanded to bring their offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Feast of First Fruits is connected to Yeshua of Nazareth, who is also known as Jesus Christ, in several ways. First, Yeshua rose from the dead on the day of First Fruits, which was the third day after His crucifixion on Passover. He became the “first fruits” of those who have “fallen asleep”, meaning the first one to be resurrected, conquering the grave, and receive eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Second, Yeshua fulfilled the symbolism of the first fruits offering, which was a sheaf of barley that was waved by the priest before Elohim as a sign of gratitude and dedication. Yeshua presented Himself to Hashem as the perfect offering for our sins, and He also presented some of the saints who were raised with Him as His first fruits (Matthew 27:52-53). A miracle of epic proportions!

Leviticus 23:15-22; Numbers 28:26-31; Deuteronomy 16:9-12; Ezekiel 1:1-28; Habakkuk 2:20-3:19; Exodus 19-20

Shavuot or Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks

Shavuot is a Messianic Jewish holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. Christians may be more familiar with the Greek name for Shavuot, Pentecost, which is the feast that Yeshua’s (Jesus’) followers were observing in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit was given to them.  Shavuot is a harvest festival, also known as the Feast of Weeks, where sheaves of barley (the winter crop) were brought to the Temple each day, beginning on Passover until Shavuot, which is celebrated 50 days/seven weeks later.  Shavuot is one of the three major festivals often called “pilgrim” festivals because in the Torah instructions, all Jewish males were required to observe them at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Because the Bible, Elohim’s Word, mentions Shavuot in Leviticus 23, we can draw the conclusion that these celebration observances are Elohim’s Appointed Feasts.

Get ready in this video for the prompting of the Holy Spirit as Rabbi Jeff Grillo explains some of the deeper meanings of Shavuot, also known as Pentecost.

In this video episode, Rabbi Jeff extols on the Biblical Feast of Trumpets, known as Yom Teruah in Hebrew.  He explains the correlation of the Feast of Trumpets with Yeshua’s return to gather His bride. 

Leviticus 23:23-25;Psalm 81:1-4;

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Numbers 29:1-6

Yom Teruah, or Feast of Trumpets, or Day of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah

The Biblical Feast of Trumpets is a celebration that Elohim commanded the Israelites to observe in the seventh month of their calendar, which corresponds to September or October in our calendar. It is also known as Rosh Hashana, which means “head of the year” in Hebrew because it marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The Feast of Trumpets is a time to remember Hashem’s creation, His covenant, and His promises. It is also a time to repent from sins and prepare for the Day of Atonement, which comes ten days later. One of the main features of the Feast of Trumpets is the blowing of the shofar, or ram’s horn, which symbolizes the Creator’s voice, His power, and His presence.

By “our calendar”, we mean the Gregorian calendar, which is the most widely used civil calendar in the world today. It is based on the solar cycle and has 12 months of varying lengths. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to replace the Julian calendar, which had a slight error in calculating the length of the year. The Gregorian calendar is also used by many countries and organizations for international communication and coordination. We must remember that this calendar is not divinely inspired.

The Biblical Feast of Trumpets is based on the Hebrew calendar, which is a divinely inspired lunisolar calendar that follows both the moon phases and the seasons. It has 12 or 13 months of 29 or 30 days each, depending on the sighting of the new moon. It was established by “The Great I Am” in the Book of Exodus, when he told Moses to make the month of Nisan (also called Abib) the first month of the year.

Leviticus 16; Numbers 29:7-11; Isaiah 58:1-14; Jonah 1:1-:4:11;

Feast of Atonement, Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is a special day for Messianic and Jewish people around the world. It is a day of Holy Convocation for fasting, praying, and asking for forgiveness from Elohim and from other individuals such as family, friends, or neighbors. It is also a day of coming closer to the Creature of the Universe and to one’s own soul.  Messianic Believers relate Yom Kippur to the sovereign grace of Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ), who became poor for all our sakes and became the atonement for our sins.

Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” in Hebrew. It is based on the Biblical story of how The Almighty-The Great I AM forgave the Israelites for worshipping a golden calf while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. Moshe (Moses) broke the tablets in anger, but then Elohim gave him a second chance and a second set of tablets. The Israelites also had to make atonement for their sin by offering sacrifices and following the one true G-d’s instructions.  Ever since then, Yom Kippur has been observed as a day of repentance and reconciliation. It is certainly the most solemn and sacred day of the Messianic Jewish year. It falls on the tenth day of the month of Tishrei, which is usually in September or October of the Gregorian calendar.

On Yom Kippur, observant Messianics and Jews fast and abstain from other pleasures of the flesh. They may also wear white clothes, which symbolize purity and humility. They spend most of the day at home or in the synagogue, where they recite prayers and read from the Torah. They also confess their sins and ask for forgiveness from the Most High and also from each other.

Another important part of Yom Kippur is Yizkor, which means “Remember” in Hebrew. It is a memorial service for those who have passed away in the past year or in previous years. Observant Jews light candles and recite prayers in their memory, and also pledge to give charity in their honor.

The final service on Yom Kippur is called Ne’ilah, which means “Closing” in Hebrew. It is the last chance to ask for forgiveness and mercy from God before the gates of heaven are closed for another year. The service ends with a loud blast of the shofar, a ram’s horn that is used as a musical instrument in Jewish rituals. The shofar signals that Yom Kippur is over and that God has accepted the repentance of His people.

After Yom Kippur, Messianics and Jews break their fast with a festive meal and celebrate with their families and friends. They also wish each other a good year, “Shana Tova u’metukah” and hope that their names will be inscribed in the Book of Life by the Giver of Life-Elohim.

One of the most amazing historical events that has occurred in Israel on Yom Kippur was the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 6th of G-d’s Holy Day.  Expectedly, many of Israel’s defense soldiers were away from their posts in observance to Yom Kippur.  Therefore, the Arab armies made note-worthy advances, being joined by Iraq, Jordan, and other Arab states as well.  The possibility of Israel’s winning looked miserably bleak at best.  Miraculously, G-d intervened, and Israel was able to mobilize and regain most of the lost territory.  Some of the testimony of Israeli soldiers claimed to have seen or experienced miraculous events during the war, such as angels fighting alongside or in front of them, bullets missing them by inches, enemy tanks malfunctioning or surrendering, or clouds covering them from enemy fire. There are other Biblical passages that describe similar situations such as 2 Kings 6:8-23 where Elisha and his servant were surrounded by an army of angels.  

In this video session, Rabbi Jeff explains Yom Kippur, also known as the Feast or Day of Atonement.  He elaborates on this Appointed Feast’s special “Days of Awe” and their significance to us today.

In our last video of the series, Rabbi Jeff Grillo sets the stage for Yeshua HaMashiach’s birth and the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles, known in Hebrew as the Feast of Sukkot.. 

Leviticus 23:33-44; John 7:8;Zechariah 14:16; Revelation 21

Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Ingathering, or Feast of Booths

The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot is a special celebration that G-d commanded the Israelites to observe every year. It is also called the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Shelters, or the Feast of Ingathering. It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals, along with Passover and Shavuot, when the Jewish people would travel to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple.  As such, the Feast of Tabernacles lasts for seven days, starting on the 15th day of the seventh month in the Creator’s Hebrew calendar, which is usually in September or October in the Gregorian calendar. During this time, the people are supposed to live in temporary huts or shelters made of branches and leaves, called sukkot (singular: sukkah). These huts remind them of how Elohim protected and provided for them during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness after they left Egypt. They also symbolize His presence among them, as He dwelt with them in a tabernacle (a portable tent) during their journey.

The Feast of Tabernacles is also a time to thank Our Creator for the harvest and the fruitfulness of the land. The people would bring offerings of grain and fruit to the Temple, as well as any commanded animal sacrifices. They would also wave four kinds of plants: a palm branch, a myrtle branch, a willow branch, and a citron (a citrus fruit). These are called the four species, and they represent different aspects of Hashem’s creation and blessing.

The Feast of Tabernacles has many meanings and connections to other parts of the Bible. For example:

  • It is related to the creation story, as some Jewish writings recount that Elohim created the world on the 15th day of the seventh month.
  • It is connected to Abraham, who lived in tents and trusted G-d’s promises.
  • It is linked to Moses, who led the people out of slavery and built the first portable Tabernacle.
  • It is associated with King Solomon, who dedicated the first Temple in Jerusalem during this feast.
  • It is prophetic of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus), who was born during this feast (hence the reference in Scripture that He tabernacled with us, and who called Himself the Light of the World and the Living Water during this feast (John 7-8).
  • It is eschatological (related to the end times), as it foreshadows the final ingathering of Hashem’s people from all nations and the establishment of His kingdom on earth (Zechariah 14; Revelation 21).

Some interesting facts about the Feast of Tabernacles are:

  • It is the only feast that Gentiles (non-Jews) are invited to join (Zechariah 14:16).
  • It is the most joyous feast in the Jewish calendar, as it celebrates G-d’s goodness and faithfulness.
  • It is also called Zeman Simchateinu, which means “the season of our rejoicing”.
  • It involves many customs and traditions, such as building and decorating a sukkah, inviting guests to share meals in them, singing songs and prayers, reading from Ecclesiastes and other scriptures, dancing, studying Torah scrolls, and beating willow branches on the ground on the last day.

Sukkot is one of the Feasts that God commanded the Israelites to observe every year. Leviticus 23:33-44 gives the instructions for celebrating this feast, such as when to start and end it, what kind of offerings to bring, and how to build and live in a sukkah (temporary huts).

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Shabbat Shalom!  Take a rest and join Rabbi Jeff as he relates in this video how the Sabbath rest is an integral part of the Messianic walk, clearing some misconceptions about the weekly Appointment with the Mighty Creator.

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