The Biblical Jewish Festivals are a wonderful gift from the God of Israel to teach us about His purposes – past, present and future. They are full of deep meaning, and we are pleased to celebrate them at Tree of Life, and to search out their treasures.
PURIM (meaning “lots”)
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 14th Adar (may fall in February, March or April)
Scriptural Reference: the Book of Esther
The festival celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from their enemies through the intervention of Mordecai and Esther and the wonderful working of God through “coincidences”.
At Tree of Life we always have a joyful celebration at Purim.
Photo: King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti in our Purim play.
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 14th - 21st Nisan (in March or April)
Scriptural References: Exodus 12, Leviticus 23: 4-8 Numbers 28: 16-25
Luke 22: 7-20, Matthew 26: 17-30
The festival celebrates the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. The Passover meal was the last meal that Yeshua had before He was put to death. The festival foreshadows the deliverance accomplished by Yeshua, the Lamb of God, through His death as a sacrifice for sin.
At Tree of Life we have occasionally held a communal Passover meal (seder), but more usually we celebrate by having teaching on this vital subject, and we encourage people to experience a seder in a home setting.
SHAVUOT (meaning “Weeks”) (also known as Pentecost)
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 6th Sivan (May or June)
Scriptural References: Leviticus 23: 15-21, Numbers 28:26-31, Exodus 19:1-19, Acts 2:1-41
This festival, which is full of deep meaning, celebrates the first fruits of the wheat harvest. By tradition, the Law was given to the people of Israel at the time of Shavuot, and at this festival we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit, who writes the Law on our hearts.
FESTIVAL OF TRUMPETS (Rosh HaShana)
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 1st Tishrei (in September or October)
Scriptural References: Leviticus 23:23, Numbers 29: 1-6,
1 Corinthians 15: 51-2, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
The trumpet calls our attention, getting us ready for the Days of Awe ahead. At Tree of Life we see the festival as a foreshadowing of the time when the people of God will be raised up to be with Yeshua.
YOM KIPPUR (Day of Atonement)
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 10th Tishrei
Scriptural References: Leviticus 16:29-34, Leviticus 23:26-32,
This is a solemn day of fasting for the Jewish people. At Tree of Life we set aside the day to pray quietly.
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 14th – 22nd Tishrei
Scriptural References: Leviticus 23:33-44, Deuteronomy 16:13-15
The festival lasts for a week, and celebrates the fruit harvest and the culmination of the agricultural year. It is a time of rejoicing. It is so full of meaning, that it is impossible to celebrate every facet of it each year! We like to build a succah and decorate it with fruit and colourful pictures.
We remember that Yeshua once made His dwelling with us, and that one day the dwelling of God will be with men.
CHANUKAH (meaning “Dedication”)
Date in Hebrew Calendar: 25th Kislev (November or December)
Scriptural Reference: John 10:22
(We learn the history of the festival from the Book of the Maccabees.)
This festival celebrates the victory of the small army of faithful Jewish people against the might of a tyrannical evil regime. We are happy to light the traditional Chanukah lights. We see in the “servant” candle that lights all the other lights, a picture of Yeshua, the Light of the World.