Biblical Feasts & Holidays
2020 Holiday Dates and Worship Schedule
The Feasts of the Lord are a collective picture of God’s plan of redemption and are commanded in Leviticus 23 for all followers of the Lord. In part, they are meant to have us regularly celebrate the gift of salvation and call us to readiness for the return of Messiah. If you are completely unfamiliar with these Feasts and their meaning, please learn more by downloading the Marion Bible Fellowship Educational Issues (PDF format) referenced throughout. See also this overview of the Biblically commanded holy days.
Please mark your calendar to attend special gatherings. We look forward to your visit with us. As a special invitation, if you have placed personal faith in Jesus as Master and Savior, or if you are a family member of one who attends our annual Passover Seder (Meal), feel free to contact us two weeks or more before the date of Passover to attend personally.
Times to Recall Salvation: The Exodus and Messiah’s First Coming, His Death, and Resurrection
Spring Feast Information and Celebration Guide
Passover & Unleavened Bread
—Hebrew: Pesach & Chag Hamatzot
Passover is an ordered evening meal (Hebrew: seder), while Unleavened Bread is a seven-day long festival. Preparation for Unleavened Bread begins ahead of time by cleaning all food containing leavening agents from the home. During the festival one abstains from all food containing leavening agents beginning with Passover eve until after sunset the final day of the holiday week. The first and seventh days are sabbaths with gathering times prescribed in the Torah. On the seventh day Marion Bible Fellowship has adopted the tradition of gathering for a “Messiah Banquet” that anticipates Messiah’s coming (return).
Passover Seder Meal: Occurs Wednesday evening, April 8 at sunset The Seder activities this year begin at 6:30pm at MBF
Unleavened Bread: Begins at sunset, April 8 with the Passover meal and continues through April 15 at sunset
Messiah Banquet: Wednesday, April 15, 7:00pm at MBF
Festival Sabbath Reminder: Thursday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 15
First Fruits / Resurrection Morning
—Hebrew: Yom HaBikkurim
First Fruits is a one-day celebration of the first products of the barley harvest. It coincides with Messiah’s resurrection as the “first fruit” of the New Covenant—He is the first to rise from the dead. For Messianic believers First Fruits, as a celebration of Messiah’s resurrection, parallels “Easter,” but it is biblically scheduled three days after the Passover meal on the Hebrew calendar, so it does not always coincide with Christendom’s resurrection celebration.
First Fruits / Resurrection / Empty Tomb Celebration: Friday, April 10, 8:00pm at MBF
No Festival Sabbath
—Hebrew: Pesach Sheni
The Second Passover is for those who cannot attend the Passover Meal due to travel away from home or ritual uncleanness, which is no longer relevant. Contact the pastor if you need to have us provide an opportunity for this alternative celebration for you.
Alternate Passover Celebration: Thursday, May 7
No Festival Sabbath
Ascension Day occurs on the fortieth day of the Omer Count. It is Marion Bible Fellowship’s remembrance of the ascension of Messiah to the right hand of the Father.
Ascension Celebration: Tuesday, May 19, 8:00am on the lawn of the Harding Memorial, or at Marion Bible Fellowship in case of rain.
No Festival Sabbath
Pentecost or Festival of Weeks
Pentecost is a one-day celebration of the first products of the wheat harvest, occurring fifty days after First Fruits. This day is traditionally reckoned as the date God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai and the day God gave the Spirit to believers in Messiah (Acts 2).
Pentecost Celebration: Thursday, May 28, 7:00pm at MBF
Festival Sabbath Reminder: Friday, May 29
Times of Repentance, Preparation and Anticipation of Messiah’s Return
Information and Celebration Guide
Festival of Trumpets and Ten Days of Awe
—Hebrew: Yom Teruah
The Festival of Trumpets is a day of blowing trumpets (ram’s horn or Hebrew shofar) to alert believers to ready themselves for the upcoming Day of Atonement and the coming of Messiah. The day is a mixture of anticipation and begins the "Ten Days of Awe," a ten-day period of daily repentance and self-searching that terminates in the Day of Atonement. The traditional title of the day in Judaism today—Rosh Hashanah (“New Year”)—is distantly secondary at MBF, since the Bible marks the religious new year as the Hebrew month in which Passover occurs (Exodus 12:1-2).
Trumpets Celebration: Friday evening, September 18, 7:00pm at MBF
Trumpets Prayer Service and Activities: Sabbath, September 19, 10:00am at Delaware State Park Shelter House
Festival Sabbath Reminder: Sabbath, September 19
Ten Days of Awe
—Hebrew: Yamim HaNoraim
MBF has adopted the tradition of observing the ten Days of Awe that begin on the Feast of Trumpets and end on the Day of Atonement. During these ten days, believers may use our printed Guide to consider various portions of their life in repentance. We bring these areas of our lives before the Lord in prayerful consideration on the Day of Atonement.
Day of Atonement
—Hebrew: Yom Kippur
This challenging and important Feast Day concentrates on seeking the Lord to identify the sin in our lives. This day has been called the “holiest day of the year” and is a day of serious and resolute rest, prayer, repentance and gathering from evening sunset to evening sunset. We observe a solemn evening worship service and then spend a day of complete fasting (medical health permitting). During that the day and until sunset we concentrate on God's direction for our lives and seek to identify how He would have us change. We also gather as an assembly at the church for reading Scripture and corporate prayer.
Atonement Opening Service: Sunday, September 27, 7:00pm at MBF
Atonement Prayer Service and Activities: Monday, September 28, 10:00am at MBF
Festival Sabbath Reminder: Monday, September 28
Feast of Tabernacles
The concluding festival of the year recalls Israel’s wilderness experience while waiting to enter the Land. It also reminds us that God dwells in the midst of His people and cares for them, even in the most humble of circumstances. A third and the greatest focus of the festival anticipates God sending His Messiah to dwell with His people. Believers embrace this anticipation as we await Messiah’s return, the establishment of the Temple in Jerusalem and His reign as king over all nations. For additional fellowship opportunity during the week-long festival, MBF has a tradition of sharing a “Progressive Meal” in which celebrating members visit several homes for a progressively complete evening dinner. Specific host homes are announced ahead of the event.
Tabernacles Opening Celebration: Friday, October 2, 7:00pm at MBF
Tabernacles Prayer Service and Activities: Sabbath, October 3, 10:00am at MBF
Progressive Meal: Sunday, October 4, 6:00pm at specified home (TBA)
Tabernacles Great Deliverance Service: Friday, October 9, 7:00pm at MBF
Eighth Day of Tabernacles Celebration: Sabbath, October 10, 10:00am at MBF
Festival Sabbath Reminder: Sabbath, October 3 and Sabbath, October 10
These traditional festivals, while not mandated by Scripture, celebrate God faithfulness to deliver His people.
Festivals of Light
Marion Bible Fellowship traditionally celebrates the light of God by combining Hanukkah traditions, which recall the light of the Temple and God’s light in deliverance, with the Light of the World in the birth of Messiah (traditional date). We combine song, biblical readings and candlelight to recall and anticipate the Light of God in our lives.
Hanukkah, which means “dedication,” is an eight-day long festival that prompts us to further dedicate our lives to God. MBF encourages the use of our devotional in lighting a hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah) at home. We offer guidance ahead of the holiday on obtaining a hanukkiah as needed. The Light of the World Himself took time to observe God’s deliverance in this “Feast of Dedication” (John 10:22-23)
Festival of Lights Service: Sabbath, December 12, 6:00pm at MBF
Hanukkah Week: December 10-18
No Festival Sabbath
Marion Bible Fellowship hosts a traditional holiday reading of the book of Esther, with themed costumes worn by all participants. Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from a wickedly schemed destruction during time of the Persian empire. This observation recounts the sometimes silent faithfulness of God in preserving his people. Nothing happens by chance. God’s hand moves in silence and in declaration in human history.
Purim Celebration: Monday evening, March 9, 7:00pm at MBF
No Festival Sabbath
Summary Holiday Sabbaths/Times of Rest
In addition to observing most of these festivals with a sacred assembly, the Bible also commands believers to keep them as special sabbaths on which no work should be done. These days provide opportunities to rest before the Lord. Resting may include spending time in prayer and study, spending special times with family, relaxing, visiting with friends, attending worship and learning more about the holiday itself. Although we are not to work, cooking, which is prohibited on the weekly Sabbath Day, is permitted for the day's food preparation on festival sabbaths. Where a holiday and regular Sabbath fall on the same day, the more stringent restrictions (no cooking) apply. To plan ahead for time off from work with your employer, we list with each holiday above the holiday sabbaths for this year.
A Note of Encouragement…
As a follower of Jesus, please don't let these appointments with the Lord slip by without discovering their importance in your life. Each of them paints a progressive picture of Messiah and His return:
Trumpets reminds us that He is coming at any time
Atonement calls us to prepare ourselves for meeting with Him
Tabernacles rehearses the joy that will abound when He rules on earth as Lord and King!