Fall Festivals Are God’s People Asleep Today?


By Dale Erickson 

Most of us enjoy a good nap from time to time. For most of my life that just wasn’t possible. Some of that involved time pressures, caffeine and children, but the truth is my body just isn’t wired for taking naps. When I was able to nap, I would wake up groggy for an hour and then be unable to sleep that night. My father on the other hand, could take a 20-minute nap, wake up without an alarm and be totally revived. 

How many people could say that 2020 has been a year for rest? For those whose eyes are focused on a pandemic, protests, riots and unrelenting bad news, 2020 could be viewed as a “fearful time in our history.” For those with eyes to see that God is on the move, 2020 could be the alarm clock that wakes us up. 

What does that have to do with the title of this article, “Fall festivals”? 

Well, let me ask that in a different way. What do you know about the Jewish fall feasts of Rosh Hoshana, Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles and why should you care? If “I don’t have a clue” is your response, then read on. 

There were seven festivals that God required His people to celebrate. Leviticus 23:2 calls them the “appointed times.” You’ve probably heard a little about the spring festivals, such as Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. I would guess that you don’t know very much about the fall festivals, such as Rosh Hoshana (Yom Teruah), Yom Kippur, and the Feast of Tabernacles. For the sake of brevity, I will cut to the chase. The redemptive work pictured by the first four Jewish festivals were all fulfilled by Jesus on the very day that the Jewish people celebrated them. 

  • Passover (Pesach* – Nisan 14). Jesus is literally called our Passover lamb in 1 Corinthians 5:7.
  • Jesus cleansed us from our sin during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (begins Nisan 15 and runs for 7 days). See 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and 1 John 1:9. 
  • Jesus arose from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits (Nisan 16). See 1 Corinthians 15:20. 
  • The disciples were instructed to wait for the Holy Spirit’s arrival, which according to Acts 2:1-4 happened on the day of Pentecost (Hag Shavout). 

Why do Christians overlook the festivals of the Lord? They are the shadow. We have the substance (Gal. 4:10-11; Col. 2:16,17; Rom. 14:6-7,10). Does that imply that we should ignore the redemptive pictures that the fall festivals reveal? No, and I will tell you why. Their fulfillment is truly at hand. 

God’s people in Jesus’ time did not have their eyes open to the redemptive acts of God taking place before their very eyes. Yes, they were asleep. 

  • The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is known as the Day of the Awakening Blast. It is also known as Rosh Hoshana (Tishrei1-2 – September 18-20). This is the festival which the Jewish people will be celebrating when the gates of heaven are opened to the “righteous” at the trumpet blast. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. 
  • The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur,Tishrei 10 – September 27). This is the festival which the Jewish people will be celebrating when the books allowing access to God’s Kingdom are closed. See Mark 1:15. 
  • The Feast of Tabernacles (HagHaSuccoth, Tishrei 15-22 – October 2-9). This will be the festival which the Jewish people are observing when God’s people begin to tabernacle (dwell with) their Messiah. See Revelation 21:3; Zechariah 14:16-17; Isaiah 11:1-12. 

The redemptive fulfillment of the first of the fall festivals may or may not happen in 2020, but it is critical that God’s people be aware that the redemptive clock is moving towards completion. One thing is certain. God’s people in Jesus’ day were caught napping with disastrous results. Time to look up (wake up), for our redemption is drawing nigh. 

“But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” – I Thessalonians 5:4-6 NIV 

Let’s hear the call to prayer for repentance and revival being called for by our contemporary leaders. Check into the details at www.TheReturn.org. 

*Explanation of terms (taken from Wikipedia.org): 

  • Pesach is another name for Passover, a major Jewish holiday that occurs in the spring during the Hebrew month of Nisan.
  • Tishreiis the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. It is an autumn month of 30 days and usually occurs in September-October on the Gregorian calendar. 


Pastor Dale Roy Erickson understands and lives out the importance of prayer in his individual life and in the corporate life of the church. He is established as a gifted and creative teacher who carefully studies and presents the truth of God’s Word. He is the president of Prayerful Publishing, Inc., publishers of the Teach Us To Pray curriculum, Heaven Help Us books, and the Prayer Prompts Calendar, which has been downloaded for free in over 80 countries. He may be reached at [email protected], or visit www.prayerfulpublishing.com for more information. 

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