John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Nov. 21, 2007

  • 2007 Nov 21

Three Keys to a Godward Home

Conclusion Part 3 continued from November 20th


The Festivals of the Messiah


The Bible[1][4] provides several powerful reasons for studying and understanding the seen festivals of the Messiah:

  1. The feasts are in the Bible, and all the Bible is inspired by The Lord (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  2. The feasts are a shadow of things to come that teach us about the Messiah (Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1).
  3. The feasts are prophetic types and examples foreshadowing significant events in The Lord’s plan of redemption (1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 11).
  4. The Lord gave the feasts so we could learn and understand God’s plan of redemption for the world and our personal relationship to Him (Romans 15:4).
  5. The feasts, as part of the Torah (which means “instruction”), are as a schoolmaster or tutor that leads us to the Messiah (Galatians 3:24).
  6. The feasts will point to the Messiah and The Lord’s plan for the world through the Messiah (Psalm [Tephillim] 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:7).
  7. Yeshua (Jesus) came to fulfill all that was written in the Old Testament (Tanach), which consists of three parts: the Torah, the prophets (Nevi’im), and the writings Ketuvim (personified by the Psalms) concerning Him (Luke 24:26-27, 44-45; John [Yochanan] 5:46-47).
  8. The feasts set forth the pattern of heavenly things on earth (Hebrews 8:1-2, 5; 9:8-9, 23; Exodus [Shemot] 25:8-9, 40; 26:30; Numbers [Bamidbar] 8:4; Ezekiel [Yechezekel] 43:1-6, 10-12).
  9. The Lord gives the natural to explain the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46-47).
  10. By studying the natural, we can understand the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; 2 Corinthians 4:18).


Two ways we can share in some blessings of solitude: a shabbat meal and Rosh HaShanah


What Is Rosh [5] Hashanah?


The Hebrew word Rosh means “head” or “beginning.” Hashanah means “the year.” This name is used only once in the Old Testament. Ezekiel 40:1 says, “…at the beginning of the year...” The more common biblical name is “The Feast of Trumpets.” This celebration of a new year is not in conflict with New Year’s Day, January 1, which is our national holiday. Rather, it is intended to be a celebration marking a “spiritual” new year, a special time set apart for a new beginning with the Lord. It celebrates the Birthday of the World Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birthday of the world - If you have young children, put candles on the Honey Cakes and let this be a birthday party for the world.


Talk about all of the ingredients it would take to make a proper cake. How big would it have to be? It would take all of the wheat from all of the wheat fields, all of the milk from all of the cows, all of the eggs from all of the chickens, etc. Don’t forget the frosting! Let the stars be the candles on the giant birthday cake. Put on jackets and go outside together. Look up at all the little star candles and say “Happy Birthday” to the world. You will probably want to thank God together, for creation.


The Hebrew calendar is very old. It is believed that the counting of years originated with creation. There are a number of ways to count the months. One system begins the counting in the spring. Each month opens with the appearance of a new moon. Every time there is a new moon, a new month begins. Hebrew festivals are calculated on this lunar calendar. In keeping with tradition it is fitting that the seventh month is holy, just as the seventh day has always been honored. Therefore, the calendar begins with the seventh month.


In the Bible this day is called Yom Teruah, the Day of Sounding the Trumpet. “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month of the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Lev. 23:24). It is the beginning of ten days called the “High Holy Days,” or “Days of Awe.” Because of their meaning these days are also called Days of Repentance, Days of Admitting, Days of Returning. The observance concludes with Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement” (see Chapter 6).

First, it is a day to honor the kingship of God and His authority over creation.

Secondly, it is a Day of Remembrance.

The third thread refers to the revelation of God.


Preparation for Shabbat[2][6] actually begins early Friday afternoon. Since it is a holy day, the most festive linens and silverware decorate the dinner table. It is customary to serve the finest meal of the week on the evening of Shabbat to emphasize its special quality. Two candlesticks are set on the table, or in another prominent place. They symbolize the two-fold commandment to remember and sanctify. These candles are lit, according to rabbinic interpretation, eighteen minutes before sunset so that the act itself will not be considered work on the Sabbath. The Hebrew blessings are normally said by the woman of the house, though anyone may perform this duty. With a scarf covering her head, the woman lights the candles. She then circles her arms around in a motion as if to draw in the warmth of the light. Next she repeat the following blessings:


Barukh atah Adonai Elohenu melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvohtav v’tzi-vanu l’hadleek ner shel Shabbat.


Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has set us apart by your commandments and has commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights.


At this point, the woman closes her eyes for a moment of silent prayer. With the candles lit, the family now says the blessing over the grape juice, which is in a special kiddush cup, a cup of sanctification. The fruit of the vine has always symbolized the joy of God’s provisions in our everyday lives (Psalm 104:15). This may be a single cup or all those present at the table may have their own. As the cups are raised, the man of the house (if applicable) leads the group in the following blessing:


Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.


The bread is usually broken by hand, not sliced with a knife. The idea is to symbolize the day when all weapons of war will be done away with at the coming of the Messiah (Isaiah 2:4). A portion of bread is shred with each member at the table. Some people salt the challah to symbolize the salt on the sacrifices in the Temple era. As the bread is shared by all, greetings of “Shabbat Shalom” (peaceful Sabbath) are given to one another, often with a kiss or hug. A final blessing is given before the actual meal the prayer over the children. The father places his hand on the head of his son and says:


May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:20).


The wife is also blessed, by reading aishet khayeelthe virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31. Shabbat is meant to be a wonderful time of worship to the Lord God and a time of family sharing. The festival dinner is now served and leisurely table fellowship is enjoyed by all. For a change, no one is in a hurry. Even after dinner, many tradition z’mirot (songs) are sung, including the grace after dinner in Hebrew.





[3] Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline The Path to Spiritual Growth. San Francisco, CA.: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988, p. 88-95.

[4] Adapted from Kevin J. Conner’s The Feasts of Israel, (Portland, Oregon: Bible Temple Publishing, 1980), p.1.

[5] Martha Zimmerman, Celebrate the Feasts. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1981, p. 126-129.

[6] Barney Kasdan, God’s Appointed Times, A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays. Baltimore, Maryland: Lederer Publications, 1993, pp. 3-7.


For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit

More Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett Articles