Q. What are the Jewish Holidays to Messianic Jews?
A. There are seven Moedim (Biblical Festivals) all of which are fulfilled by Yeshua:
Shabbat, the first of the festivals given to us by G-d is the weekly Sabbath, and is known as an "island in time." It is a day of rest in which we focus our attention on G-d, the completion of Creation, rest and joy. Yeshua said that he was the Lord of the Shabbat and came to bring us complete peace.
Pesach or Passover commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery and of the Exodus from ancient Egypt. This eight day festival begins with a banquet (Seder) in our homes and has been celebrated for thousands of years. Yeshua died on the Passover and was said to be “the lamb of G-d who takes away the sins of hte world.”
Yom ha Bikurim or First Fruits is celebrated together with Passover with Yeshua being the first fruits of resurrection.
Shavuot is the Feast of Weeks, and is a celebration of spiritual renewal and of the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai over 3000 years ago. Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Torah coming to live among us…the living Torah, Immanuel-G-d with us.
Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish civil New Year and commemorates the themes of creation, recognizing G-d as our King, and the need for redemption. Biblically it is Yom Teruah or the Day of the blowing of the Shofar. These last festivals represent the future fulfillment in Yeshua. When the last shofar will blow, Yeshua will appear to bring redemption to the world.
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, (regarded as the most holy day on the Jewish calendar. sentence removed )It is a day set apart for reflection and repentance. Yeshua is our atonement and through his blood our names are written in the Sefer ha Chaim (Book of Life). He is the one who bring us to true Repentance.
Sukkoth is known as the Feast of Booths. It is an eight day commemoration of the Hebrew’s forty years of wandering in the desert. During that time having no a permanent place to live, we dwelled in temporary shelters (Sukkot). Every year during the festival of Sukkoth we build temporary shelters to remind us of the temporary nature of our lives. At any time we could be forced to live again in "temporary shelters," and lose all of our possessions. Sukkoth reminds us that everything we have in life is from G-d, and to be thankful for everything that He provides. Yeshua came to “sukkah” among us, to be a temporary dwelling among us and will one day return bringing tikkun olam (restoration of the world) and establish the olam ha bah (world to come). It will be a day of great rejoicing when all nations will send ambassadors to worship the Lord in the holy mountain of Jerusalem.
Shemini Atzeret is the eighth day of Sukkoth which is a seven day festival with one day extra added to it. The rabbis do not know the meaning of this day and say that when Messiah comes he will explain all things. Messianic Jews understand that if Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkoth, then he had his Brit Mila (circumcision) on Shemini Atzeret. Without this he would not be considered a Jew and salvation needed to from the Jew to fulfill prophecy once again.
Simchat Torah is a rabbinic tradition and a very lively celebration occuring at the end of Shemini Atzeret bringing to conclusion (and restarting) the yearly Torah reading cycle.
Messianic Jews also celebrate the Traditional Holidays:
Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek army in the 2nd century B.C.E. It is found only in the Apocryphal writings in the book of Macabees and in Yohanan 10:22 and is believed to be a late celebration of Sukkoth due to the fact that the Jews could not celebrate Sukkoth while it was in pagan hands. This Festival also remind us about to be on our guard against assimilation.
Purim found in the book of Esther commemorates the annulment of the decree against the Jewish people in ancient Persia (Late 6th century B.C.E.). It also reminds us of the fact that there can be loving non-Jews who have been called by G-d to protect and defend our people. It also demonstrates that there were many who converts to Judaism.
Tisha B’Av is a day of fasting and mourning the destruction of both the first and second Temples in Jerusalem and of the Jewish dispersion.
Tu B’Shvat also traditional is known as the New Year for Trees, and celebrates our connection to our agrarian past and to our need to be environmentally conscious today.
Yom Hashoah is the Holocaust Memorial Day in remembrance of the 6 million Jews and others killed by the German Nazi regime and their collaborators.
Yom HaAtzmaut is Israel’s Independence Day and commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the modern State of Israel in 1948.