The Feasts of Faith (Part II)

This is Part II of a discussion from The Faith Explained. You can read Part I here.

Cale moved on to the next Hebrew feast, Rosh Hashanah, which translated means “head of the year” or “first of the year”. And, as the translation indicates, this celebration is the feast of the Jewish New Year. For thirty days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrews would blow a great horn known as the shofar in order to “awaken” the souls of those asleep in sin.

Similarly, we hear from St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians,

“‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’ Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:14-15)

We are all sinners, charged with bearing the crosses of our faults. But we are not destined for failure. Awake, rise up, and conquer what obstacles lie before us! To the Jews, the New Year was also a reminder that one day we shall face judgment. And when that time comes, do we want to face God proudly as His servant, or hang our heads in shame because we rejected the wake-up call and chose to live for ourselves?

Following Rosh Hashanah and the thirty days prior to the feast, the Jews would have another ten days of preparation before they reach Yom Kippur. In total, the Hebrews spent forty days preparing themselves for this “Day of Atonement”, during which they fast and pray, among other ascetic practices. This expression of repentance ideologically coincides directly with the Christian days of preparation and atonement known as Lent.

“The next feast we need to talk about is another one that’s mentioned in Exodus 23, but by a different name. That is the Feast of Ingathering,” said Cale. “As we read that text, you might’ve been wondering, ‘What is the Feast of Ingathering?’”

It’s the same thing as the “Feast of Tabernacles”, also known as Sukkot to the Hebrews. It comes from the Hebrew word for “covering”. Sukkot then translates to “booths” or “tabernacles”, and in this feast, Jewish people erect tent-like structures, sukkahs, in which they eat, sleep, and dwell for the duration of Sukkot. This temporary living situation is intended to commemorate the time that the Hebrews spent in the desert after slavery in Egypt.

Interestingly enough, the word for covering in Hebrew can also be translated as “the glory cloud”. As you might remember, as the Hebrews wandered the desert all those years, they were preserved by God’s presence which manifested itself in a great cloud. It protected and sheltered them, covering their temple and leading them in a pillar of cloud.

Just so, we see God’s presence manifest itself in a cloud in the New Testament as well: at the Transfiguration.

“‘Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’ Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.” (Mark 9:7-8)

When Solomon built the original temple, he dedicated it at the Festival of Tabernacles to God as the glory cloud, this remembrance of God’s divine protection and guidance during their time lost in the desert. And just as God resided in that cloud above the tabernacle in the desert, he would reside there, in that tabernacle in the temple.

Jesus did not become man to reject the old law but to fulfill it. And it is through His life and the establishment of His bride, the Church, that we see the fulfillment and completion of the law, feasts, and tradition in the New Testament.

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John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.