Jewish Holidays: Key Regarding Future Events?

This article is about particular Jewish holidays that I think relate to certain future predicted events in the Bible.

I am not trying to "date set" the return of Christ, but I am attempting to analyize Bible holidays to better understand the chronology and purpose of certain significant future prophectic events:

Colossians 2:16-17-- So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

The Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) -- Possible date of Jesus Christ's actual birth.  Possible time of Christ's second coming and the believer's resurrection at the end of the Tribulation.

We know that 12/25 cannot be correct since shepherds would not have been out with their flocks at night this time of year.  John 1:14-- The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling ("tabernacle") among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  The Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated 10/5 and 10/6 in 1998.  It is interesting that the Bible predicts that all the nations of the world must come to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast every year.  Remember that the Bible sometimes calls this "The Feast of Booths:" Zech 14:16-17-- Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  Whatbetter feast is there to celebrate in the future than the one that teaches that God Himself has made his "tabernacle" among us.

Could this end up being the date that Jesus' second coming will occur on?   The Feast of Tabernacles certainly seems to be a good "shadow" of  both of Jesus' entries to the earth to bring "peace on earth, good will towards men," and when He begins to dwell among us (Luke 2:10-14 KJV).  This holiday lasts longer than two days, therefore, it also appears to meet the criteria of no one being able to know the "day or hour" of Christ's second advent.  The idea of this holiday foreshadowing more of Christ's second coming than the first appears to be confirmed by Luke 12:51-52-- "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five {members} in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three."  Final "peace on earth, good will towards men" will not occur until He comes the second time to bring it.

I am now leaning more towards the idea of Christ's return occurring on this holiday than on Yom Turuah (Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year).  

Another name for this holiday is Hag HaAsif, meaning The Festival of Ingathering.  It marks the time of the harvest, the final ingathering of produce before the oncoming winter.  Remember that Jesus died on Passover, and rose from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits.  The Bible makes it clear that this holiday is tied to the first resurrection, and that our resurrection would fit within the symbolism of harvest (1 Corinthians 15:20-23): But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also camethe resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christs' at His coming.

A number of other Christians believe that this holiday is when the "rapture" will occur, but they think that it will occur before the Tribulation.  Consider what Jesus says in light of these harvest festivals (Matt 13:24-43)-- He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  "But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away.  "But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  "And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'  "And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' And the slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'  "But he said, 'No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them.  'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"  All these things Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable, so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world."  Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."  And He answered and said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and {as for} the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil {one;} and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels"Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.  If we limited our understanding of the timing of our resurrection to such passages as this, I think we could argue that our resurrection will not occur until the END of Christ's 1000 year reign.  But when we include what is said in 1 Cor 15:20-23 mentioned above, it is clear that our resurrection will occur when Jesus returns.  The main point I am making is that The Festival of Ingathering IS clearly the picture of our resurrection. The strong Biblical evidence that our resurrection occurs after the Tribulation is shown in my article found here.

Check out the following links for more details:

The Festival of First Fruits (Bikkurim)

Sukkot: The Feast of Tabernacles

Birth of Yeshua (Jesus) during Succoth

Feast of Purim -- probable date of 5/6's destruction of the Russian army and her allies attempting to invade Israel

According to Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39,  the destruction will include: a world-wide earthquake, locally massive flooding, unusually massive "hailstones", plus fire (molten rock) and brimstone (means "burning stones") falling from the sky.  This surely sounds like comet fragments to me. Could this be the next major Bible prophecy to be fulfilled?  There are some who say this is the same event as in Revelation 20:7-9, which would place this event's fulfillment roughly 1007 years from now.  I currently think that they are two separate events.

Go here for more details.

Chanukah (The Feast of Lights) -- possible date when the Antichrist comes to full power at his "revealing" half-way through the seven year tribulation.  Probable date for conception of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Antiochus Epiphanes, the archetype of the Antichrist, came to power during this holiday in 175 BC, setting up a throne in the Jewish temple for himself.  The Antichrist is said to do the same in the future.  According to Daniel 9:27, the Antichrist will come to power and set up his throne in the Jewish temple 3.5 years (360 days per year, 1260 days) after a treaty is made with Israel giving the Jews the right to use their temple site for sacrifices and offerings.   

The Watcher site believes that the seven year treaty with Israel may be signed on a future Passover, and then the treaty would be broken and the Antichrist be fully "revealed" 3.5 years later (360 days per year) during the Feast of Tabernacles.  They have some interesting arguments for why this is a possible date for the treaty breaking, but then NONE of the other "unfulfilled" Jewish holidays would appear to fit the prophetic timeline.  If the Watcher site is correct, Christ's second coming should be roughly 3 months after Chanukah, a time that will NEVER occur during a Jewish holiday.   I tend to favor Greg Killian's thinking, that Chanukah will be the time of the Antichrist's revealing, since Christ's death was already the prophetic fulfillment of Passover, and that the beginning of the tribulation would seem less significant regarding Jewish holidays than the Antichrist's revelation or Christ's second coming.

It is possible that the predicted "shortened" time of the tribulation could help solve this dilemma (Mark 13:19-20).  Does this mean that the 1260 days of the reign of the Antichrist will be shorter than 1260 days?  Is it possible that it refers to a shortening of the first 1260 days?  Could this refer to the shortening from our current 365.25 days per year down to 360 days per year?  Will the "shortening" make it possible for Christ to return on a Jewish holiday, or does this mean that it will cause His return to fall on a date in-between Jewish holidays?  If anything, because Christ's return on "the day of the Lord" is such an important Biblical event, I believe that Christ MUST return on a Jewish holiday, especially in light of Col. 2:16-17.  The second half of the tribulation is clearly mentioned to last "1260 days" (Rev 12:6,14) and "42 months" (42 times 30 equals 1260 days) (Rev 13:5).  Since these facts were presented AFTER Christ's reference of this period of time being shortened, it is my opinion that 1260 days IS already includes the time shortening.

One argument against the idea that the Antichrist is revealed on Chanukah is that if Jesus was conceived on this holiday, then this holiday already had its fulfillment.  This does not automatically prove that there cannot be multiple fulfillments of the holidays.  In fact, I am now leaning towards the idea of a double fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Is Chanukah a good "shadow" of the "revealing" (true nature being seen) of the Antichrist?  It is interesting that the archetype of the Antichrist (Antiochus Epiphanes) set up the first "abomination of desolations" in the Jewish temple on this holiday over 2000 years ago.

The "feast of lights" appears to illuminate both the good and evil around us.  If the Antichrist is revealed on Chanukah, then this might serve as a reminder to believers that it is Christ, "the light of the world," who is in control, since it is He who not only pre-ordained this revealing, but that He will soon extinguish this evil creature.

Regarding the possibility of Christ being conceived on Chanukah, the reasoning for this is fairly simple.  If Jesus was born in late September or early October (during the Feast of Tabernacles, as stated above), then go back nine months.  Also, Jesus' conception can be calculated from the time John the Baptist was conceived (six months earlier).  This needs a bit of calculations based upon the date His father must have entered  the Temple for his service as Levitical priest.  What better day for "the Light of the World" (John 8:12) to begin His first moments of His incarnation as the God-Man than on the "Feast of Lights?"

Go here for more details.

Yom Turuah (Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year)  -- possible time for the return Jesus Christ in order to destroy the Antichrist's kingdom, resurrect His followers, and begin to set up His one thousand year Kingdom on Earth.  Probable day that the Jews as a nation begin an official turning to accepting of Jesus as their Messiah.

This Jewish holiday has a two day built-in uncertainty about it that may be the uncertainty Christ talked about when He said that no one would know the "day" or the "hour" of His return.  I believe that the return of Christ is the most significant event that ought to occur on a Jewish holiday outside of His death which occurred during Passover.

If Christ returns on this holiday one year, then there seems to be a problem with the idea of the Antichrist being  "revealed" to the world on Chanukah, since Chanukah occurs at least 4 months too early. If we subtract 1260 days from Chanukah, it does not appear to fall upon any Jewish holiday, but does fall rather close to Pesah (Passover).  The revelation of the true nature of the Antichrist will occur at midpoint of tribulation,  which is 1260 days (slightly less than 3.5 years) earlier than Christ's return.  Because of the prediction that the Antichrist will put "put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering" (Dan 9:27), the timing of this occurring right before Passover seems more likely than on or around Chanukah.  This also lends more support to the idea of Christ returning on or near Yom Turuah.

According to Greg Killian, Yom Turuah is unique, in that it begins on Rosh Chodesh, or the New Moon.  Rosh Chodesh literally means, "beginning renewal."  Yom Turuah is the first day of the ten days known as the Day of Repentance, with the tenth day known as Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Yom Turuah in my opinion is not a very good candidate for the day Christ returns, but it is a good candidate for the Jews as a nation to begin their repentance regarding their nearly 2000 year NATIONAL rejection of Jesus as being their Messiah.  This NATIONAL repentance officially is completed on Yom Kippur ten days later.  Since Yom Turuah is part of the same holiday that Yom Kippur is, then it appears necessary to look at what the entire holiday is about, and what it is a "shadow" of.  This is covered in more detail in the next section regarding Yom Kipper.

Go here  and here for more details.

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) -- Probable date for the Jewish nation to officially bow their knees to Jesus as their King, Savior, and God.  Another possible time for Christ's second coming?

This holiday is a time of cleansing of personal sin and consecration to God.   This Jewish holiday occurs a week after Yom Turuah.  

If this holiday lasted longer than one day, then I would have included it as a possible time for Christ's second coming, when He would seemingly "cleanse" the world of many of those who continue to reject Him.  I also would have considered this to be the same day as the starting of the Noahic Flood, except that the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) occurs even closer to the time most of the world appears to remember as the starting of the flood.  Since "the day of the Lord" is compared to the starting of the Noahic Flood (Isaiah 54:9; Matt 24:7; Luke 17:26; 1 Pet 3:20), it would seem premature to completely rule out Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) as somehow being the second coming of Christ, since its symbolism appears to be related to Christ's return.

This day is considered by Jews as the most holy day to be observed during the year.  It is the climax of the Ten Days of Repentance, and is the only holiday where they are commanded to humble themselves before God.  Greg Killian says that this humbling consists of "fasting, sexual abstinence, not wearing leather shoes, and focusing on God to the exclusion of all else. God's people will spend all of today worshipping their creator (Leviticus 23:27)... What distinguishes the Days of Awe from all other festivals is that here, and only here, does the Sephardic Jew kneel. He does not kneel to confess a fault or to pray for forgiveness of sins, acts to which this festival is primarily dedicated.  He kneels only in beholding the immediate nearness of God, hence on an occasion which transcends the earthly needs of today.  The Ten Days of Repentance are concluded on the tenth of Tishri (Yom Kippur). The Viddui (Confession of Sins) begins with an immersion (baptism) of repentance, and is recited ten times on the Day of the Atonements to coincide with the tradition that the High Priest pronounced the name of God ten times when he invoked divine pardon on Yom HaKippurim."

Here is what the New Testament says about  humbling: James 4:10-- Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you1 Pet 5:6-7-- Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. As I have pointed out before in my web page, Jesus will not return until His own Jewish race accepts Him as their Messiah (Matt 23:39).  I currently hold the belief that Yom Kippur will be the day that the Jewish nation will finish ten days of officially recognizing Jesus as their Messiah, where they begin to "mourn" for Him, repent of their rejection of Him, and seek His presence:

Amos 8:9-11-- "And it will come about in that day," declares the Lord GOD, "That I shall make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.  "Then I shall turn your festivals into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth on everyone's loins and baldness on every head. And I will make it like {a time of} mourning for an only son, and the end of it will be like a bitter day.  "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD.

Zech 12:8-14-- "In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David {will be} like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.  "And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
"And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.  "In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo (note: the place where the battle of Armageddon will occur).  "And the land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;
 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves."

After comparing Matt 23:39; Lev. 23:27; James 4:10; 1 Pet 5:6-7; Amos 8:9-11; and Zech 12:8-14, it seems that Yom Kippur is most likely the climax ten days in which the Jewish nation officially accepts Jesus as their Messiah, and calls upon Him.  I believe that when the Jewish nation as a whole call upon Jesus as their Messiah,  this will officially set Jesus into motion towards making His return to the earth to save them and the rest of His flocks.  Five days after Yom Kippur is over, the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) begins.   Since the Feast of Tabernacles fits so well symbolically with Christ's first and second comings, and because it occurs just a few days after the Days of Repentance, Yom Kippur gives us even more reason to believe that Christ will return during the Feast of Tabernacles.

It is interesting that "ten days" in the Bible always refer to a time of testing (ex: Dan 1:14).  Is it significant that the Days of Repentance lasts ten days?  Must Jesus wait ten days more to test the Jewish nation's newfound faith?  Is it therefore significant that ten days after the end of Yom Kippur puts us at the start of the very last two days of the Feast of Tabernacles?  

Go here for details.

Tu B'Shevat  (Fifteenth of Shevat) -- probable date that the Earth will be cleansed and brought to a healthier state, somewhat like what the Garden of Eden was thousands of years ago.  This appears to be the day when we will be able to eat, for the first time since Adam and Eve, from the Tree of Life.

The promised new heavens and new earth appear to begin then (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1).  This occurs after the seventh millennium of history, which is still at least 1007 years away (possibly 360 days per year).  The seventh millennium begins with Christ's return. This "Millennium" is what my web page title is referring to (definitely not the one starting on 1/1/2000 or 1/1/2001).  

Go here for details. 

Check out all of Greg Killian's articles here.  Be forewarned, they are long, and he uses traditional Hebrew terms that many will find unfamiliar.  Also, he quotes MASSIVE portions of Scripture, possibly in hopes that the reader will understand the points mainly by reading the Bible for themselves (wow, a novel idea).

You might want to first check out Annie's Feasts of the Bible Page for a good introduction to Jewish Feasts.

I "accidentally" found a book that supports my view that the Day of Atonement represents the day when the nation Israel officially recognizes Jesus as their Messiah.  The book is called The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in the World (kind of arrogant title, methinks), by Clarence Larken.  He talked about how the nation of Israel would one day be regathered as a nation, but not have belief in Jesus Christ until just before Christ returns to the earth.   Also, Larken believed that the Feast of Tabernacles is symbolic for the Millennial reign of Christ, which is not far from what I believe, which is that it represents the start of the Millennial reign of Christ.  Larken's book was written in 1918.

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