Did Israel Celebrate Biblical Feasts in the Desert?

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea

This question was raised by Hardy of Orange County, Calif., a call-in viewer of our May 25, 2010 live Jewish Voice webcast. Rabbi Jack Zimmerman provides a clear answer.

We hope you enjoy this theological discussion and share it with those who would benefit from understanding more about the Jewish roots of our faith.

HARDY’S QUESTION: After the children of Israel got the Torah on Pentecost, did the Hebrew people celebrate Passover and Pentecost during the 40 years they were in the wilderness, or did they wait until after they crossed the Jordan and got into the Promised Land before they celebrated? If they did celebrate in the wilderness, where did they get their needed grain offerings and animal offerings?

RABBI JACK’S ANSWER: Here’s what we do know.  In Leviticus 23, when God told the people to observe the Passover, Pentecost, First Fruits, Feast of Trumpets and so on, He specifically gave instructions to the people. If you get the dating of it, you are right—these people are still wandering in the wilderness.

The instructions that God gave the people to celebrate the feasts and festivals were primarily for when they would enter the Land. If you read Leviticus 23 carefully, you will see that as God is giving these instructions, He is saying when you enter the Land that I am giving you, then I want you to celebrate these festivals.

This brings up another question: God if you don’t want me doing this yet, why are You telling me now? I’m going to forget in 40 years.

The answer to that question is God wanted to prepare the people, because if we look at the significance of the biblical feasts, they are all about preparation. The Feast of Trumpets was to prepare the people for one day when God would come and blow the trumpet for real. It’s all preparation, it’s all rehearsal. That’s why God said what He did.

Join In Our Jewish Voice Live Webcast!

Every month, we answer viewer questions about faith, the Bible, theology, prophecy, Israel, current events, and government from a Messianic Jewish perspective. We pull questions from our live callers (888-777-0782), our webcast email inbox (webcast@jewishvoice.org), and even our Twitter audience (send tweets to @jewish_voice and include @jewish_voice in your tweet) to bring you the most thought-provoking concerns that will help you live a life deepened in your understanding of Yeshua (Jesus) and your Jewish heritage in the faith.

Catch the next live, interactive webcast on July 22, 2010. Jack Zimmerman welcomes Eric Raider to our guest panel. Praise and worship with the Zaferatos and Israel Smith.

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