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Leviticus 23

Special days of celebration

While Moses and the Israelites were traveling to the Promised Land of Canaan, God gave them 7 special days to celebrate. These days were to be celebrated every year. The people were not supposed to work on these holy days.  They had special rules for their offerings to give to God. Each holy day had a special lesson that was to be taught to the people. Sometimes the lesson was about an important event in their history. The feasts reminded the people about their covenant promise with God. The feasts gave time for the parents to teach their children about what God had done for them in the past and His promise for their future.

God talked to Moses. He told Moses to tell the Israelites about special days of celebration. They are also called feasts.
[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
[2] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.


The Sabbath

The Sabbath is the 7th day of the week. The Israelites must not work on the Sabbath.  They should work for 6 days. But the Sabbath should be for going to worship and meeting with the other Israelites to praise God.
[3] Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.


The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

The first feast is the Passover. This special time celebrates when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. It is the time when God killed the oldest children and animals in Egypt. But God passed over the Israelites because they put lamb's blood on their doors (back in Exodus 12:29).The Israelites did not die, and they left Egypt very fast. There was no time to let the bread raise, so it was flat. Passover is on the 14th day of the first month. The feast of Unleavened Bread is the next day. For 7 days, they should eat flat bread without yeast.
[4] These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
[5] In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
[6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

On the first day, they should not work. They should have a service to worship God.  They should make an offering on the first day. Then they should also make offerings for the next 7 days.  On the 7th day, they should have another worship service. They should not work on that day. 
[7] In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
[8] But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.


The Feast of Firstfruits

This celebrates the beginning of things growing. At this time of year, the plants were starting to grow. This was about the same time of year as our months of March and April.  

God talked to Moses.  He told Moses to tell the Israelites about this celebration.  They should bring the first sheaf (a bunch or group) of wheat or barley to the priest.
[9] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
[10] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:

On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will wave the sheaf back and forth in the air to show that it belongs to God. 
[11] And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.


On the same day that the priest waves the sheaf of wheat or barley, the Israelites should bring an offering. They should bring a 1 year old perfect male lamb.
[12] And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.


They should also bring a grain offering--4 pounds of fine flour with oil mixed in--and  a drink offering--1 quart. The should burn the grain offering on the altar. It makes a smell that God likes. 
[13] And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.


They should not eat any of the food they grew until after they bring their offerings to God.  It doesn't matter if the food is baked into bread, raw, or roasted. They must first bring their offerings to God. This will be the law from now on. 
[14] And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.



The Feast of Weeks (also called the Feast of Pentecost)

On the day that they make their offering for the Feast of the Firstfruits, they should start to count 7 sabbaths (7 weeks). The day after the 7th sabbath (50 days later),  they should make another offering. They should bring 2 loaves of bread. Each loaf of bread should weigh 4 pounds. The bread should be waved back and forth in the air to show it is for God. 
[15] And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
[16] Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
[17] Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.


This festival is held 50 days after the Feast of the Firstfruits. 50 days is 7 weeks later. In the Greek language, the word "pentēcostē" means 50.


The Israelite community should also offer:  7 perfect one year old lambs, 1 young bull, 2 rams, and a drink offering. The animals are for burnt offerings. The burning offerings make a smell that God likes.

[18] And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.


The Israelite community should also offer a baby goat (for a sin offering) and 2 one year old perfect lambs (for peace offerings). The priest will wave the lambs and the bread back and forth in the air to show that they are for God.
 
[19] Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
[20] And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.


On that day, the people should not work. They should meet together for a worship service. This will be a rule forever.
[21] And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

When the Israelites harvest (pick) the food they grow, they should not pick all of it. They should leave some in the corners of the field. If they drop some of the food, they should not pick it up. Then the poor people and the other people who live in the land with the Israelites can come and pick it.
[22] And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.



The Feast of Trumpets


 God told Moses about another celebration time. This feast will be on the 1st day of the 7th month. It should be a special day like a sabbath. When they hear trumpets, they should meet together for a worship service. They should not work on that day. They should bring offerings to the altar for God.

[23] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
[24] Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
[25] Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.


*****Jewish people continue to celebrate this holiday today. It is called Rosh Hashanah, and it is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is celebrated in September or October.  Each month in the Jewish calendar depends on the moon. The Jewish months do not have 30 or 31 days. So, the 7th Jewish month called  Tishri is sometimes in September and sometimes in October.***** 


The Day of Atonement (asking God to forgive sins)


God talked to Moses. He said that on the 10th day of the 7th month, they should have a special day. This special day is to ask God to forgive their sins. They should meet together to worship God. They should not eat on this day. They should bring offerings to God.
[26] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
[27] Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.


The Israelites should not work on the special day of atonement. If anyone eats food on this special day, he will be put out.  He will not be one of God's chosen people anymore. 
[28] And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
[29] For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.


God will kill anyone who does work on the special day of atonement.  This will be a rule from now on for all future Israelites. 
[30] And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
[31] Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

This special day of atonement will be the same as a sabbath. They should not work.  They should stop eating in the evening of the 9th day of the month. They should not eat anything until the evening of the 10th day of the month.
[32] It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.


*****Jewish people continue to celebrate this holiday every year. It is now called Yom Kippur. It is celebrated soon after Rosh Hashanah on the 10th day of the Jewish month called Tishri.***** 



The Feast of the Tabernacles


God talked to Moses. God told Moses about another celebration. This celebration is called the Feast of the Tabernacles.  It will be celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month.  This celebration will go on for 7 days. 
[33] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
[34] Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.


On the first day of this celebration, they should all meet together to worship God. They should not do any work. 

[35] On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.


They should bring burnt offerings to God on all 7 days. On the 8th day, they should have another worship service and bring an offering.  They should not work on that day. 
[36] Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.


The Israelites should make burnt offerings, grain offering, and drink offerings on these special days. They should meet together to worship God.  These offerings are in addition to offerings on the sabbaths, when they make promises, and when they make volunteer offerings. 
[37] These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:
[38] Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.


The Feast of the Tabernacles will be after they harvest the food they grew. The celebration will start on the 15th day of the the month. They should not work on the 1st day or the 8th day.
[39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.


The Israelites should build little houses with tree branches during the Feast of the Tabernacles.  They should use palm trees and willow trees. They should live in the little houses during the celebration.  This will remind them of the years they lived outside in the wilderness after they left Egypt. This will be a rule forever for the Israelites.
[40] And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
[41] And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
[42] Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
[43] That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.


Moses did what God told him to do. He told the Israelites about the special celebrations.
[44] And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

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