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blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itmeranda-devanWhen my husband and I discovered the biblical feasts about 8 years ago, we didn’t know a thing about them.  We only knew a handful of people who celebrated them.  They felt very foreign at first, but over the years as we have celebrated them, we have made them our own. 

I can honestly say the discovery for us has brought tremendous definition in our Christian walk. We have met believers who have been celebrating the festivals for 30+ years, and many others who say they are starting to observe them starting this year.   If you have never considered celebrating them, consider participating in Hanukkah this year.

Jonathan Cahn presented an excellent presentation how Hanukkah foreshadows end times events that will come to pass in our day.  This is a must watch video which you can find on youtube

While we have observed the biblical festivals for many years, this will be the first year that we plan on observing Hanukkah.   We are both excited! 

I can see a gradual shift in believers interested in the festivals with the success of many Messianic ministries bringing it to the forefront, yet there still is a lot of confusion out there of how to keep the festivals. 

For the most part, the scriptures leave plenty of room to make them our own.  While there are a few commandments in the word of how to keep them, for the most part, we are able to make it personal.

Did you know that the scriptures mention keeping Tabernacles in the millennial reign of Christ?

We are told in Zechariah 14:16 that in the future millennial reign of Christ believers will also be celebrating Feast of Tabernacles.  If a nation does not go up to worship, judgement will fall down on their nation. 

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

 

Biblical Feasts

All of the festivals point to the God head, – The Father, Son and The Holy Spirit.

It was explained to me at one point that the appointed festivals found in Leviticus 23 should be looked at as DRESS REHEARSALS.

We are to rehearse them year to year, so we KNOW what to expect when the real event unfolds. The Festivals take place in the spring, and then again in the fall season.

(Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits), AND ( Pentecost ) then, ( Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles)

 

ABOUT The Festivals

The festival of “Feast of Tabernacles“ has been celebrated for thousands of years.  Believers of Yahweh would gather in Jerusalem, and they would set up tents and dwell in them as one of the main requirements of the festival. Why the tents? Yeshua was born 5 miles out of the city at the START of this festival in a humble tent. Some day in the future, God will dwell with us again. 

The festival of Passover – for thousands of years, the believers would have to sacrifice a male, first born lamb for their sins on this festival. The very day that the lamb was to be examined by the festival, Yeshua rode in on a donkey, in essence to be examined by the people as THEIR lamb. He died for our sins right on Passover, to the very hour, and later He then fulfilled the festival of “First Fruits” resurrecting on that exact day.

Feast of Trumpets is when Yeshua will gather us up to the Great supper, and just a few days later we will return with Him on Atonement, where He will take down Satan and reign for 1000 years.

Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit was poured out. Again, the location of this festival was pre-determined and celebrated for thousands of years, because ONE year, the Holy Spirit would be given out. 

Keeping Holidays That Are Close To Yahweh’s Heart

The beauty of the biblical festivals is there is true prophetic meaning behind the holidays.  Half of the festivals have been fulfilled.  The other half are yet to come in our lifetime.   I think this really touches my heart as I celebrate the feasts every year.  The realization that we are so close to the end of time when Yeshua will return.

I think many parents underestimate the let down that children experience when they finally understand that Santa is not real.  Years and years of telling the same fable is in fact lying to them over and over again.  At some point in the future they will also contemplate if miracles from God was a lie, or God himself was a lie.  Think about how many years children are told about Santa until they come to the understanding there is no such thing as a man who rides in the sky delivering presents.  

Parents are setting themselves up for their children to eventually distrust them on the bigger, more important topics. 

For middle school children, faith is main component for belief in God.  It is not until later that they learn about the evidence for God.  You may not get a second chance once a child is in middle school to change their mind on something they have been burned on.  Don’t underestimate the LIE of Christmas that you are telling.

On the other hand, the festivals have such significant meaning, and half of the festivals are already fulfilled.  So when Passover comes around, the idea that lambs at one time had to pay for the sins of the people could really be enforced with children.  Jesus represented on the cross most certainly would enforce that our God had to pay for our sins. 

The Passover, First Fruits, and Pentecost talks about some of the most significant events in our worlds history so far, and the fall feasts represent a King coming back for His people, and ultimately will dwell among them.  If there ever was a theme presented in the festivals, it isn’t one that is absorbed in the giving of gifts, or in the love of “self”, but rather it is focused solely on God. 

How To Share The Feasts Of God With Others

My husband and I found out about the festivals shortly after we were married, so we didn’t have any children to take Christmas away from.  We lived away from our folks which allowed us to establish ourselves in the feasts.  So we skipped out on the holiday get togethers for the most part because it would require long distance driving. 

So many other people that discover the feasts face greater obstacles

  • What if your significant other is not on board for celebrating the holidays?
  • What if your spouse doesn’t want to give up the secular holidays?
  • How do you deal with in-laws who expect you to participate in Christmas traditions? 
  • How do you take away presents from children who are expecting gifts? 
  • How do you deal with schools which are heavily involved in Christmas activities? 

I do not know the answers to the above questions, but I can give you a few pointers of how to navigate these challenges that many believers face when they go about leaving Christmas for the festivals. 

A Couple Tips To Navigating The Transition

A: Don’t Beat Your Family Down With The Pagan Significance Of Christmas

You are going to get questions at some point, and you will eventually realize, the questions never end. This is actually a good thing…..

You will be explaining why you celebrate the way you do to co-workers, in laws, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and the person bagging your groceries. 

The beauty is, there is a lot of excitement in these celebrations, and secular people for the most part don’t know anything about them. The ultimate realization that Yeshua fulfilled these thousand year old festivals to the very day, and to the very hour is incredible!   The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob knows the end from the beginning, and Yeshua was that God who died on the cross.  The events of the future will come to pass just like the other foretold feasts that have been already fulfilled.  This is a conversation starter, and a powerful witness that God exists, and He does have a plan for people’s lives. 

*Present the positive aspects of the feasts as an answer to their questions. 

“We discovered that Jesus died on the every hour that the passover lambs were being sacrificed, so we keep Passover instead of Easter” 

Presenting the positives also allows the recipient something to get excited about as well.

Telling relatives the exciting prophetic aspects of the holidays allows them to ask more questions and they might even find themselves pondering if they should keep the feasts along side of you.  

When we first discovered the feasts, we also came to the understanding that there were a lot of pagan underpinnings to the secular holidays.  There is significance behind Christmas trees, wreaths, ball ornaments, mistletoe kisses, and the list goes on and on.  One thing we learned quite well was we got a LOT farther ahead in an open conversation presenting the prophetic side to the feasts than condemning them with all the pagan no-no’s. 

Most people don’t know a lot about biblical festivals, so if you can educate them on a few of the prophetic basics, they may see you venturing into something that is reasonable than being far off the wall and weird. 

While you can bring to light the pagan nature of Christmas and Easter, don’t go overboard.  If your conversation is about 80% pagan based, chances are, they will be focusing 100% on the negative aspects of what you are trying to present. 

Most people love the holidays for the family get togethers, the food, the presents, and the warm feelings they get for being around those who they love.  These are all things that still can be celebrated, and presenting the nasty parts of the history of holiday won’t get you very far.  More or less, its going to make them feel bad about their observance in it, and you are going to have resentful feelings with your relatives or friends. 

No matter what, realize like I did that even if you beat them over the head with the pagan aspects of the secular holidays, it doesn’t mean they will run to these feasts with open arms, it means that you started a fight that went nowhere.  

Persons 1-  Millions of believers are starting to really understand the significance behind these holidays….  and they are diving head first into them, leaving all the Christmas celebrations behind. 

Persons 2  There are other Christians who have heard of the festivals, but haven’t yet decided what to do with them.  Maybe they don’t know a single person in their area who is celebrating these things, so they are holding back.  They feel they are “Jewish” celebrations and may not see the connections to why Christian believers should celebrate them.  They may not know they have been given to all the tribes of Israel.  Maybe they feel out of place keeping celebrations they know nothing about.  They want to make the move, but they haven’t stepped fully into it with both feet. 

Persons 3 Lastly, there are Christians out there will review these feasts and know all the aspects of the pagan influences and STILL choose Christmas and Easter and sadly Halloween. 

Maybe you have been interested in observing the holidays but just don’t know where to start. 

I have been there before.  Every year you keep building on your celebrations, and they will become more familiar to you.  You have to start somewhere.  A lot of the times there is an online internet celebration happening that will allow you to participate so you can feel like you are involved in a celebration.   That is a terrific starting point.  Grab a glass of wine, and celebrate along side others online.  Mark Biltz usually has a celebration online for most of the feasts.

There comes a point when you have to realize that these festivals are YOURS as they are any other persons and it is YOU that is making the decision to keeping the festivals.  Even if you show the festivals to extended family and friends, do it for you regardless of who joins in with you and keeps them.  As those around you who choose the secular holidays let them.  Its not for you to judge.

“I am keeping Christmas for God”

The first couple of years that I started observing the festivals, I felt very lonely, and almost that I was missing out. The truth is, you can observe Christmas and still feel those sad feelings inside of being alone.  The secular holidays are based on gifts, and have been for some time, even though many people don’t care to admit it.  

On the other hand, the festivals are not based on giving gifts.  There was one benefit about moving to the feasts, and that was the amount of money we saved on our budget.  There was no more endless shopping we could not afford, with buying gifts for people who didn’t appreciate the hard earned money we would spend. 

Yet, as I explained the feasts to people, the most common response I would get from believers who knew all about the history of Christmas was ….

“I am keeping Christmas for God”

I stumbled upon a passage that changed my whole heart on the subject of keeping holidays and attaching God’s name on it. 

Do you recall when Moses brought the commandments down from the mountain and saw the people worshiping Yahweh with a golden calf?   The believers said that they were worshiping Yahweh through the Egyptian customs, much like what the response many Christians give for observing “Christmas”…..”I am doing it for God”, “My heart is in right place” 

….what was Yahweh’s response? 

He was so furious, He was ready to kill every single one that bowed their knee to the idol.  Your Christian friends may say they are participating in Christmas, and doing it for God, but at the end of the day,what I have realized is our ways are not the Lords ways. 

Amos 5:21-23 KJV –21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

Elohim doesn’t want his signature feasts mixed in any way what so ever with pagan customs.  There is no way He would share his glory with a false God.  His appointed festivals will no way be tainted with Baal worship, so if that happens, He simply leaves.

What you can take refuge in is that God does want His people to be set apart.  In His word, when something represents HIM, it is fulfilled with specifics.  The very hour, the day is planned out and gives Him glory.  We read in the word about the very specific operations of the temple.  There was no room left for interpretation.  The feasts are a shadow of the very events that relate to Him, so take a lot of pride in the fact that celebrating them, is CELEBRATING HIM. 

Every person is different.  There are going to be some Christians who will jump with both feet in, and others who will put one foot in.  It is so easy to judge others for disregarding the idea of the festivals, and there could be multiple reasons behind it.  Every person is at a different stage of their walk.  That person you witnessed to may start observing these things in a couple years.  Bitterness, and judgement eats away at your joy….and has been something I have had to deal with as I have moved ahead and witnessed about this over the years.  Enjoy the fact you are celebrating something that is also celebrated in heaven at the exact same time. 

B. Get Rid Of Christmas Stuff  – Throw it out

When we discovered the truth about Christmas we threw away our Christmas decorations.  We just did it, and didn’t think twice.  There are going to be many people who have attachments to their Christmas stuff….and it will be harder to donate. I am not here judging anyone, but simply if I were to pass on any advice….it is once it is out of the house, you never think about it again.  Its easier to get rid of it quickly than to ponder on every ornament over a couple weeks and hold on to stuff. 

C.  Plan NEW Family Traditions

If you have kids, moving away from Christmas can be difficult.   With older children, it can be even harder.  They may feel like they are missing out when all their friends get toys and gifts. 

Work in an entirely new scheme into the holiday of Hanukkah.

  • Every night of Hanukkah can be a night where the family sits down together.  Maybe it’s for a movie.  Pick the movies in advance so that you have something to look forward to.  Maybe it is game night, or an adventure out in town.  Maybe it is a tradition of deserts for every night of Hanukkah.  What ever it be, the focus can be towards family than just gifts.
  • Allowing presents, but re-work the whole scheme that presents are not the main focus.  Maybe the presents come in the middle of Hanukkah, or maybe the kids buy presents for someone else.  What ever it may be, if you want to get away from the whole trappings of going into debt, simplify the process of presents.  Instead of many, consider one present that the child is able to pick out. 
  • Allow Extended Family To Give.  Relatives will give presents to your kids, but work it in your timing.  Maybe you open the gifts a week before Christmas, or on New Years.  Skyping while opening presents allows your extended family to enjoy the fact that their gift is honored.  The idea is not to battle out a day, but to make someone feel special that they thought of you. Make a big deal out of Thanksgiving where you can give relatives a nice meal instead of participating in Christmas.  Learn more about Hanukkah, and invite relatives over on one of the nights.  

It may be challenging to find your way the first couple of years, but it does get easier. 

D.  Put Effort Into The Biblical Holidays

My husband and I have celebrated these festivals for a couple of years, and for the most part we put minimal effort into decorating our house like we used to for Christmas.  The beauty is you can decorate for these holidays any way you wish, so use your imagination.

The feast of Tabernacles is a week long holiday, and so is Passover.  So you have two holidays that come around that you can start hanging things a week before they arrive, and if you wish, you can extend them past a week or more.

Once you decorate for one of the holidays, simply put those decorations away like you would in the past for Christmas. 

The one thing we realized over the years is how fast the festivals seem to go by. 

In the past we would start setting up our tent for tabernacles the day before it came, and we would take it down the day after it finished. 

This year it was a mad race to get it set up in time again, and I am learning that if you start earlier, it is easier to get into the joy of celebrating, rather than rushing to get things done. 

In the past for tabernacles we would set up a tent in our basement, or in our living room, and some years we have set it up outside, but every year it has been quite cold.   This year we set up a white canopy and used our day bed in our basement as one of the beds we slept on.  

Incorporate something in the tent when tabernacles comes around.  Maybe it is putting on worship music, and reading inside your tent.  Maybe you watch a few biblical movies in your tent.  What ever it is, do something in your tent. 

Some people sleep in them, others set a table up in their tents.  The scriptures just tell us to set up a tent. 

Feast of Unleavened bread is another week long celebration.  In many years in the past we have focused a lot of our efforts in removing the leaven or yeast from our home, but we rarely introduce new recipes with the unleavened bread. 

What I am hoping to add to our celebrations next spring are some specific recipes that we can try out that are much different than what we normally eat on a regular basis.  It can be easy to avoid the foods that we are not supposed to eat during that time, but the new recipes could be a chance to incorporate some excitement of trying a new cuisine. 

One book I am hoping to get is Maccabee Meals: Food and Fun for Hanukkah

I am discovering the secret is to start on these things a few weeks before the festival comes around, not a day before it begins.  

Every year we are trying to build on these festivals and try to make them even more special. 

Below are a couple shots of our feast of tabernacles this year…and some ideas I have been considering for future dates….

What are your traditions for the biblical holidays?  Be sure to leave some comments below….

snip20161017_17

Here is a post of the Israel Defense Forces celebrating Tabernacles. I loved all the colorful paper ornaments that were hung from the ceiling of their tent.  

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles

We had a difficult time locating decorations that we can hang from the ceiling. When these came in, I was really impressed with how large they were.  They don’t show how large they are in the picture.  We have vaulted ceilings so they worked really well for us.   I contemplated swags, banners and settled on these Star of David decorations found on Walmart.  We paid $29 dollars for them, and bought two sets.  I used a Bright Coat of Chrome spray by Rust-oleum to paint the back.  I tried two other brands that didn’t seem to stick.  The Rust-oleum was ideal.  It took one spray, and the finish was very reflective. 

 

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itAt our local thrift store they tend to sell yarn for just 60 cents, so I plan on using a lot of the yarn in making pom pom decorations. I hope to decorate around bold colors. 

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itHere are some that we hung from our tent.  We only have pine trees where we live, so we decorated with that.

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-it

Here is what our tent looked like this year.  We decided to go for a white tent canopy from walmart.  The one we bought was only $38 dollars from Walmart, and we thought we were getting a bargain.  If you plan on buying this from walmart, know that the tent posts will NOT stay up.  They are so flimsy, that if you walked past the tent, it would fall over.    Though the white canopy tarp was worth the 40 dollars.  Michael and I got a good laugh when it was up, so that was worth the trouble.  It was so flimsy I am not sure how it would survive outside.  

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itI had a lot of vintage gift wrapping ribbon that I tied together to make hanging decorations for our walls. 

 

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itYou can see how whimsical they look over the pictures in our basement.  It cost me next nothing but looking through what I already owned.

 

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itI hope to make more ribbon banners out of some of the old colorful ribbon I own for next years Tabernacles. 

blog-post-feast-of-tabernacles-how-we-celebrated-itA box pleat sewing foot was used to make this ribbon out of blanket edging that I owned. 

 

michael-at-feast-of-trumpetsMichael at Feast Of Trumpets At Morningside this year

 

hanukkah-decoratingHanukkah  Decorations

 

paper-platesPaper Plate Coloring Ideas- I thought about using paper plates which coloring book images could be glued on, or tracing paper could be used to transfer a pattern on to a plate, which then could be traced out using a blue artists pencil.  Let your kids color in the images and hang them on the wall.  Find Hanukkah Coloring Books at Walmart or simply go to google images and print off some pages on your computer.

 

gold-hanukkah-bannerGold Glitter Holiday Hanging Pennant Party Banner- $9 -Walmart

These holiday banners would be very simple to make. String several of these with different messages if you were to make your own.

hanukkah-gift-tags  

Hanukkah Tags – Set of 20- Walmart

Re-create your own by buying bulk tags on Amazon and using a stamp with a menorah. 

 

tissue-paper-garland

9′ Royal Blue Tissue Paper Tassel Garland $3.99 for 9 feet- Walmart

 

61i22sob4l-_sl1100_ Hanukkah Labels, 216-Pack- Fits Hershey’s KissesAmazon $7.99

holographic-coins

24 Mesh Bags with 5 Nut Free Parve (Non Dairy) Dark Chocolate coins in each $18 Amazon

 

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  • Thank you for the suggestions on how to gently speak to someone about the Feasts/Festivals. You sure have an eye for the beautiful, but simple things! Gonna have to try a few of those this year! Loved the article. 🙂

    -Kara

    https://prophetictimelines.wordpress.com/

    • Meranda Devan

      Thank you Kara, I appreciate that

  • MotivatedinOhio

    I buy Chanukkah cards with a Messianic Message, buy new candles, and say “where did I put that Menorah?”. You do a beautiful job decorating.

    • Meranda Devan

      I love that! We might have to consider sending out cards this year too. What a great idea!