Leviticus 23: Holy Days and Festivals

Leviticus 23

Leviticus 23:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:2 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 Weekly Sabbath is an unbroken repetitive cycle of seven days as a memorial of the physical creation and an acknowledgment of the Creator.

Those who claim that they must begin a count of seven days from the new moon break this commandment of God to maintain the seven day cycle from its beginning at creation because each month they break that cycle.  If they count four seven day cycles to 28 days and then they ignore a day or two before restarting the cycle, they reject the Word of God for their own false reasoning.

23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day [Friday sunset to Saturday sunset] 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 Weekly Sabbath and the Annual Holy Days are Holy Time: No work of any kind is to be done on them.  That means no food preparation and cooking and no buying of food or drink. All food and drink must be prepared on the previous day which is the Preparation Day for the Weekly and Annual Sabbaths.


Cooking, Buying  and Work on the Weekly Sabbath

The Sabbath was instituted by our Creator on the seventh day after the completion of six days of creative activity. (Gen 2:2-3). The Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27) so that man could follow the example of his Creator and rest from his labors and spend time with God.  It is not reasonable to think that God should need to rest, therefore he rested as an example for us.

It is lawful to do those things that God has commanded us to do on the Sabbath, since God is also the maker of the Sabbath and can therefore tell us what he wants done on HIS Sabbath.  For this reason the Priests may fulfill their God commanded duties on the Sabbath.

Since the Sabbath was made for the good of man we may also do acts of compassion and mercy.  We are NOT to use the “ox in the ditch” excuse to justify habitual Sabbath breaking.  We are not to travel on the Sabbath to the extent that it becomes a tiring labor, nor are we to burden others by buying gas, food, drink and  lodgings on God’s  Sabbaths.  We are to use the Preparation Day to properly prepare for the Sabbath.

We are not to do any cooking on the Sabbath (Ex 16:22-24) nor are we to do our own things nor even think our own thoughts.  We are to be totally dedicated to our God on his Holy Sabbath Day (Is 56 and Is 58).

We are to do no work at all on God’s Holy Sabbath except for that which God himself commands and acts of mercy for the health of others; nor should we be responsible for any others doing any work on God’s Sabbaths. To pay others to serve us in a restaurant is no different than to pay others to work at any other service.  To pay anyone else to do what we would not do ourselves is HYPOCRISY!  We are to avoid all appearance of sin.

Exodus 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:


Cooking, Buying and Work on Holy Days 

Exodus  12:15 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

This statement that food may be prepared during the Feast of Unleavened Bread has at times been used to justify for preparation on all other Holy Day Annual Sabbaths.  Is that a valid assumption?

This verse actually refers to the very First Feast of Unleavened Bread and its two High Holy Days, allowing food to be prepared and eaten.  Some extrapolate from this verse that food may also be prepared and eaten on all subsequent Feasts of Unleavened Bread and all other High Holy Days.

It is necessary to understand that this particular scripture is a history of Israel coming out of Egypt.

After that FIRST Passover all leftovers had been burned, there was no prepared food available.  As a singular act of mercy, God permitted food to be prepared and eaten on this one emergency occasion when Israel was engaged in marching out of Egypt at God’s command. Nowhere else in all scripture is such a liberty [to prepare food on a Sabbath or High Day] mentioned.  This is simply a record of a special allowance, an act of mercy;  made for a special situation which was caused by the people obeying God and marching out of the land of Egypt. 

This one time act of mercy is an exception to the rule and does NOT justify habitual breaking of the commandments for the weekly Sabbath or annual High Day Sabbaths! 

Brethren, we have sinned against God and His weekly and annual Sabbaths!  We must quickly repent and turn from this sin of using Holy Time for our own purposes and pleasures before we are corrected like physical Israel / Judah were historically corrected for the same sin!

Later in the first century A.D. it was well understood that the Passover was the preparation day for the first annual Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on which it was well understood that no work including cooking was to be done.  This is made clear by the faithful who rushed to entomb Jesus BEFORE the High Day of Unleavened Bread began at sunset that evening.

John 19:31   The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.


Servile Work

In Leviticus 23 the statements regarding the High Holy Days refer to commands not to do any work of any kind. 

No work of any kind, including food preparation and purchasing is to be done on any weekly or annual Sabbath!  Only acts of mercy for unexpected emergency health and safety issues, and anything specifically commanded by God to be done on the weekly and annual Sabbaths may be done.  We are to properly prepare on the preparation day so that all might rest from physical duties and engage in spiritual pursuits, learning about God on His Holy Time

Those who follow the Rabbinic Calendar, just ask the Rabbins!  They will tell you that I speak the truth on this subject.  Claiming that the Rabbins must be followed in certain other matters is dishonestly cherry picking what Rabbinic teaching to follow.  

Of course we know the answer to that; most folks will follow whatever is personally convenient and fits in with their preconceived beliefs, no matter how confused and inconsistent or how wrong they are!  Most would never think of living by every Word of God!


The Festivals, Holy Convocations and Appointed Times

God’s commanded observances are covered intensively in our festival categories on the right hand sidebar.  I will make a few comments here.  To cover each High Day properly requires a post in itself and it would be wise to go to the three festivals categories at the sidebar for more.

The Spring Festivals

The early harvest festivals of the called out from the Egypt; picture the spiritually called out from bondage to sin.

23:4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.


Passover is on the 14th day and is NOT on the 15th day as some suppose.  We observe Passover as the sun sets beginning the fourteenth day because that was the time of its observance in Egypt just BEFORE midnight when the Destroyer came through the land; and because we follow the example of Jesus Christ.

23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even [beginning the 14th day, because the destroyer passed over the land at midnight n the 14th day] is the LORD’s passover.

After sunset beginning the 15th day, Israel marched out of Egypt

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

This Feast pictures God calling out a few people as a kind of early spring harvest for seven thousand years as represented by the seven days of the Feast, with a resurrection at the end of the 6th day [at the end of 6,000 years]; followed by a High Day on the final seventh day, picturing the 7th, one thousand year period, during which the early spring harvest is expanded to include all people then living. 

Eating the unleavened bread made with pure whole grain, pure olive oil, water and salt every day of this Feast, pictures the called out early harvest internalizing the very nature of God.

23:6 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.

23:7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

23:8 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 Wave Offering

23:9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:10 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: 23:11

And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath [a Sunday] the priest shall wave it.

This pictures the resurrection of Jesus Christ at the time the sheaf was cut, immediately after the sun set ending the Sabbath [Saturday];  and the ascension of the resurrected Christ to God the Father in heaven the next morning [the first of the harvest from the flesh] at the same time that the Wave Sheaf was lifted up after the Sunday Morning Daily Sacrifice.

23:12 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. 23:13 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. 23:14 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 count to Pentecost, which is a count of seven weekly Sabbaths from the Sunday of the Wave Offering; and the day AFTER the seventh Sabbath [a Sunday] is the Feast of First Fruits often called Pentecost.

23:15 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: 23:16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

The Feast of Pentecost

On Pentecost two loaves are offered picturing INCREASE; they are to be made with leaven picturing sin, which is in turn covered by a sin offering. 

This offering does not picture the resurrection of the first fruits who have been called to God over the past 6,000 years.   

This offering and the Feast of Pentecost pictures;

  1. The formal establishment of the New Covenant, which happened on Pentecost in the first century as described in the book of Acts, and
  2. It pictures the expansion of the first fruits to all of humanity then living with the pouring out of God’s Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28) on a future Pentecost to begin and fulfill the remaining seventh day [the 7th one thousand year] of the Spring Harvest of First Fruits called out since Abel. 

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is not just six days long, it is seven days long.  Yes,there is a resurrection to spirit at the end of the sixth day [at the end of 6,000 years], but the remainder of the first fruits harvest continues through the remaining 7th one thousand year millennium. 

  1. Pentecost pictures the formal beginning of the New Covenant in the first century, and
  2. The establishment of the kingdom of God over all the earth after Messiah the Christ comes and
  3. The New Covenant being expanded to include all flesh after Christ comes.

23:17 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.

23:18 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.

23:19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering [to cover sin as represented by the leaven], and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.

23:20 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 the Feast of First Fruits [Pentecost] no work of any kind may be done except that which is specifically commanded by God

23:21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile [no work of any kind] work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

The law of mercy called gleaning is given

It is placed here because besides being an act of mercy for the physically poor, this was an allegory that the first fruits are a small gleaning from the earth, and the main harvest of humanity is yet to come.

23:22 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 Fall Festivals

The physical fall harvest Festivals picture the main spiritual harvest of humanity

The Feast of Trumpets

On the first day of the seventh month the whole of humanity is called to rejoice before God concerning the final victory over Satan.  See the Fall Festivals category on the right hand sidebar.

23:23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:24 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. 23:25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

The Day of Atonement

The fast of Atonement pictures the removal of Satan forever and sincere repentance with Christ’s atoning sacrifice applied to all peoples.

23:26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:27 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 [a total fast of repentance] , and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 23:28 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.

23:29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 23:30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 23:31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 23:32 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.

The final end of Satan and the call to the fasting of sincere repentance then leads to the bringing in of the main harvest of humanity during the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Feast of Tabernacles

23:33 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:34 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. 3:35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

23:36 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.

23:37 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: 23:38 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 Eighth Day

23:39 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.

Instructions for the Feast of Tabernacles

We must cut small branches of good trees and rejoice with them for seven days.  This is covered in detail in the Fall Festivals category.  Nothing is said about making booths from the branches which is an assumption of men.

23:40 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. 23:41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year.

The cutting of branches on the first day and rejoicing with them for seven days is to be done forever, yet this commandment is NOT obeyed by most today: Therefore most of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia have never kept the Feast of Tabernacles in the manner which God has commanded!

Each year they go out to keep God’s Feasts by their own ways on their own wrong [apostate Rabbinic Calendar] dates, contrary to the Word of God; and then they think that they are pleasing God!  How very strange!  To please God we must do what God commands!

. . . It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

Now comes a separate command to dwell in booths, which are actually tabernacles or tents or any temporary structure, so that we may learn that being called out of this world we have become foreigners and strangers seeking a better world of righteousness.  

23:42 Ye shall dwell in booths [tents and temporary structures like Israel had in the wilderness of Sinai] seven days; all that are Israelites born [including spiritual Israelites] shall dwell in booths: 23:43 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.

23:44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

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