The Jewish Feasts of the Lord and the Temple Sacrifices


Gen 1:14 [Hebrew Stone’s Edition Tanach, (O.T.)  “Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for festivals and for days and years”


Act 3:19-21 (NASB)  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

If one can grasp the meaning of the Feasts of the Lord and the temple Sacrifices, one will understand much of the entire plan of the Bible!  Know that when you read the word convocation in relation to the feasts the Hebrew means not only an assembly but it means a REHEARSAL and feast means a set time or an appointed time.

Every feast points to and symbolizes Jesus the Christ – past, present and future.  The 7 holy feasts occur in the 2 rain seasons – the Spring [former rain] and the fall [latter rain].  Hosea 6:3, “…and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

The Jewish Calendars


Solar [Babylonian] Year Calendar Translation

Nisan (Aviv)

March – April

Lyar (Zif)

April – May


May – June


June – July


July – August


August – September

Tishri (Ethanim)

September – October

Chesvan (Bul)

October – November


November – December


December – January


January – February


February - March

To maintain the relation of the lunar [moon] based calendar to the solar [sun or Babylonian] based calendar, it was periodically necessary to add a 13th month, which was called Second Adar.  The additional month was later introduced automatically seven times in a lunar cycle of nineteen years; in the years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 of the cycle.  The Jewish lunar calendar determined the new moon as the beginning of the month and a full moon as the middle of the month.  Jewish months are generally identified by number instead of name in Scripture.  The names of the twelve months are of Babylonian origin.  It is very interesting that the number of days between Nisan and Tishri is always the same. Because of this, the time from the first major festival Passover in Nisan to the last major festival Feast of Tabernacles in Tishri is always the same.


(1)  The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, (2)  "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD'S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations--My appointed times are these:


(3)  'For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.  (4)  'These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.

The Spring Festivals – The Former Rain - PASSOVER

(5)  'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD'S Passover.


 (6)  'Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.  (7)  'On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.  (8)  'But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.'"


(9)  Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  (10)  "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  (11)  'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  (12)  'Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD.  (13)  'Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine.  (14)  'Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.


(15)  'You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.  (16)  'You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.  (17)  'You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD.  (18)  'Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.  (19)  'You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings.  (20)  'The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest.  (21)  'On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  (22)  'When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'"

The Fall Festivals – The Latter Rain - TRUMPETS

(23)  Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (24)  "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  (25) 'You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'"


(26)  The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  (27)  "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD.  (28)  "You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God.  (29)  "If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.  (30)  "As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.  (31)  "You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.  (32)  "It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath."


(33)  Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,   (34)  "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.  (35)  'On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind.  (36)  'For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.  (37)  'These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD--burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day's matter on its own day--(38)  besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.  (39)  'On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.  (40)  'Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.  (41)  'You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.  (42)  'You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths,  (43)  so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'"  (44)  So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.

The Spring Festivals – The Former Rain

Pesach or

·        Related Scriptures:

Exodus 12:1-16 NASB: (1) Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, (2) "This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.  (3)  "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household.  (4)  'Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.  (5)  'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.  (6)  'You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.  (7)  'Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  (8)  'They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  (9)  'Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.  (10)  'And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.  (11)  'Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste--it is the LORD'S Passover.  (12)  'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments--I am the LORD.  (13)  'The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  (14)  'Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.  (15)  'Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  (16)  'On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.


Exodus 12:21-51 NASB:  (21) Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb.  (22)  "You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.  (23)  "For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.  (24)  "And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.  (25)  "When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.  (26)  "And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?'  (27)  you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'" And the people bowed low and worshiped.  (28)  Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.  (29)  Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.  (30)  Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.  (31)  Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said.  (32)  "Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also."  (33)  The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, "We will all be dead."  (34)  So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.  (35)  Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing;  (36)  and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.  (37)  Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.  (38)  A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.  (39)  They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.  (40)  Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.  (41)  And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.  (42)  It is a night to be observed for the LORD for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the LORD, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.  (43)  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; (44)  but every man's slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it.  (45)  "A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it.  (46)  "It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.  (47)  "All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this.  (48)  "But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.  (49)  "The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you."  (50)  Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.  (51)  And on that same day the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.

.I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of Egypt.  Leviticus 19:36

“Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be alien, because you were alien in Egypt.”  Exodus 23:9

1Co 5:6 – 8 (NASB) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a LAMB to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”   (Isaiah 53:3-7)

Rom 3:25 (NASB) “…because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed…”

Luke 22:15, 16 (NASB) And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God

·        Passover begins on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish religious calendar which is Nisan or Aviv.

·        God, not Moses, is the Redeemer; Moses is the heroic messenger.

·        The MALE, unblemished lamb at the peak of its life was brought in on the 10th day of Nisan.  The lamb represents Christ and the number ten is the number of law.  Prior to the temple the Israelites lived with and inspected the lamb for 4 days.  4 is the number of all creation which Christ is to redeem.  After the temple a lamb was chosen by the high priest outside of Jerusalem on the tenth of Nisan. Then the priest would lead this lamb into the city while crowds of worshippers lined the streets waving palm branches and singing Psalm 118, "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord."  Jesus our Messiah who also came from outside Jerusalem entered Jerusalem this same day, on a donkey (usually ridden by a king), probably right behind the High Priest's procession. The crowds that had just heralded the entrance of the sacrificial lamb heralded the entrance of the Lamb of God. Accordingly, Jesus identified himself with the Passover sacrifice (John 12:9-19).  The High Priest would then take the lamb to the Temple, where it would be tied in public view so that it could be inspected for blemishes. In the same way, Jesus sat and taught in the Temple courtyard for four days. He was inspected and questioned as the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the teachers of the law sought to trip him up in His words and entrap Him. They could not, because He was perfect and without blemish.

  • Before the Jewish temple, in the doorway on the 14th of Nisan at the appointed time, the Father would lay his hands on the head of the lamb using his weight.  This would indicate full substitution and identification with and consecration of the lamb and attest to the appropriateness and fitness of the sacrifice.  The lamb’s throat would be cut and the blood applied to the top and side posts of the door.  The mother would roast the lamb over an open fire using [according to some Jewish scholars] a pomegranate stick.  The pomegranate represented fruitfulness and life due to its many seeds and ability to reproduce itself and was a frequent ornament in Jewish societies, particularly on temple garments.  The firstborn of every house whose door was “covered with the blood” would be spared; all houses not covered by the blood would have the firstborn killed.  Exodus 4:22, 23 (NASB) "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, "Israel is My son, My firstborn.  So I said to you, 'Let My son go that he may serve Me'; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn."  On this night He killed every first born of Egypt, to set His Firstborn Son Israel free. And on this night some 1400 years later, He sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, to free everyone from slavery to sin and punishment.

·        After the temple the Passover lamb could only be slain in Jerusalem.  The Priest would bind the lamb to the altar on the 14th of Nissan at 9AM.  At the same time outside the city, Jesus the Christ was both tied and nailed to the cross.  For 6 hours, both awaited death.  The lamb was to be slain “in the evening” – the Hebrew meaning being “between the evenings” or 3PM.  At 3PM the High Priest ascended the altar in the Temple, took his knife and killed the lamb pronouncing the words, “It is finished.”  This is the term that the priest in the temple would say with the conclusion of the daily peace offering as well as the various special festival offerings.  At exactly the same moment Jesus the Christ gave up His Spirit with the same words and died.

·        Many teach that originally, prior to the temple, each father acting as priest and killing the lamb for their own house symbolized Israel as a kingdom of priests.  This was later altered by Israel’s sinfulness resulting in the institution of the Aaronic priesthood by God.  The Lord’s Supper, as taught in the New Testament, demonstrates the return of the “kingdom of priests.”

·        There was only one real Passover – the first one.  All others were a celebration of the first.  Because conditions changed after both the deliverance from Pharaoh’s hand and the temple, the rules for subsequent Passovers changed.  Blood was no longer applied to the side and top door posts; it was handled according to temple rules.  Although certainly remembered, the rules regarding shoes on the feet, staff in hand, loins girded, eating in haste and not leaving the house were also relaxed.

·        Scriptures related to the Passover not only clearly typify the plan of salvation and sacrifice of the Christ, they also show the nature and character of God and Christ via commanding Israel to humbly remember the conditions that led to the exodus and by demanding kindness to strangers, orphans, widows, and the downtrodden.  Also, gentiles were able to partake of the protections of the Passover through faith demonstrated by obedience.

·        In the 6-week period preceding Pesach, there are 5 special Sabbaths. Four are entitled after the special Torah reading of that Sabbath. The fifth takes on luster because of it's proximity to the holiday itself.  See Appendix.

·        Passover represents the crucifixion of Jesus. He died on Preparation Day, the day before the special Sabbath (Mark 15:24).  He became our Paschal Lamb and was sacrificed on Passover.  The Christian communion service commonly called the Lord’s Supper is, in fact, a Passover celebration meal [Seder] celebrated with its full revelation and meaning revealed.

  • During the Passover time, a sign hung on each lamb’s neck, bearing the name of the owner of the lamb. Jesus was crucified with a sign hung over His head with the name of His Father. Studies have shown the Tetragrammaton [the Hebrew unpronounceable name of God] probably appeared over Jesus when He hung on the cross. During Bible times, messages were commonly written with the first letter of each word. An example in English: UPS, stands for United Parcel Service. The phrase "Jesus of Nazareth and King of the Jews" was written in three languages on a sign above Jesus as He hung on the cross (John 19:19). The Hebrew initials for "Jesus of Nazareth and King of the Jews" was YHWH. That is why the priest asked Pilate to change the writing.

·        Jesus died at 3PM.  They hurried to place Him in the tomb by sunset at which time [Nisan 15] the next festival – Unleavened Bread begins.  John 19:31-42  Nisan 15 is the day Israel ate the Passover lamb with matzo and bitter herbs.  During this feast God not only commands Israel to eat matzo, He also demands they eat no leavened bread, that leaven not be found or even seen in their homes or even in their territories for those seven days (Exodus 13:3-10).  To prepare for this Passover feast, the home is cleaned from all leaven. (Spiritually, there must be a cleansing from sin in the individual as taught by Paul regarding the Lord ’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:24-32)  That is why Nisan 14 is called Preparation Day.  All bread, cakes, pasta, cookies and dry cereal are removed. Liquor is also removed because it is made from grain and could possible constitute a form of leaven. The house is cleaned of all crumbs.  Sometimes leaven would be hidden and a game would be made of finding it and getting completely rid of it before the deadline.  This feast also typifies sanctification and purity.  Spring cleaning started 13 days before the feast.  The preparations included a ceremony called Bedikat Hametz – the search for leaven.  The Search for Leaven was conducted in the dark and utilized a large wooden spoon, a long white feather, a candle, and an envelope for the burning of the leaven.  Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being.  Every nook and cranny of the house would be searched by the “light of the Lord”.  When leaven was found it would be brushed by the white feather [Holy Spirit] onto the wooden spoon [the Cross], placed in the envelope [the grave] and later burned showing it was never to return.  These leavened items should be burned and there is a special ceremony to do this, but since this might prove to be a financial hardship for some, they are permitted to remove it from the home and "sell" it to a Gentile friend for the duration of Passover.  Then it may be bought back.  Certain pets that ate grain based foods could be temporarily sold to a non-Jewish friend and bought back after the holiday. 


Matzo – unleavened bread

  • Related Scriptures:

Exodus 12:15-20 NASB: (15)  'Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  (16)  'On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.  (17)  'You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.  (18)  'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.  (19)  'Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.  (20) 'You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.'

Jesus said to them, "I am the Bread (Matzo) of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry..."' (John 6:35)

Luke 24:30-32 states this after the resurrection: 'Now while He was with them at table, He took the matzo and said the blessing; then He broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; but He had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?"'

Luke 24:35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.

John, a Jew who walked with Jesus recalls Jesus declaring: '...If you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you will not have Life in you.  Anyone who does eat My Flesh and drink My Blood has Eternal Life, and I shall raise him up on the Last Day' (John 6:53-54).  At the Passover before His Death, Jesus told His followers that the matzo represented His Body. Matthew 26:26 records this: 'Now as they were eating, Jesus took some matzo, and when He had said the blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples. "Take it and eat," He said, "this is My Body."

·        The day after Passover, the 15th of the month of Nissan, starts the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The purging of all leaven had taken place on Preparation Day and unleavened bread must be eaten for the length of the feast - 7 days.  Jesus was buried on Preparation Day and is depicted as both the Passover lamb and the matzo.  This day is when Israel eats the Passover meal with matzo and bitter herbs.  Why bitter herbs?  One Rabbi puts it this way:
At the Seder we say: "In every generation they rise against us to annihilate us." The Egyptians broke our backs and our spirits. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple and rivers of Jewish blood flowed. And so it was in every generation: Crusades, Inquisitions, Pogroms, Holocaust, Arab terrorism. Intense and irrational hatred has stalked our people to every corner of the globe.  Why the hatred? The Talmud says the Hebrew word for "hatred" (sinah) is related to the word "Sinai." At Mount Sinai, the Jewish people acquired the legacy of morality and justice -- a message that evil cannot tolerate. We taught the world "to beat their swords into plowshares." We taught the world "to love your neighbor as yourself." We taught the world equality before justice, and that admiration belongs not to the rich and powerful -- but to the good, the wise, and the kind.  Hitler said: "The Jews have inflicted two wounds on mankind -- circumcision on the body, and conscience on the soul." How right he was and how much more work we have to do.  Throughout the generations, the forces of darkness have sought to extinguish our flame. But the Jews have somehow prevailed. We have God's promise that we will be the eternal nation. For without our message, the world would revert to utter chaos.  At the Seder, we eat the bitter herbs -- in combination with matzah -- to underscore that God is present not only during our periods of freedom (symbolized by the matzah), but during our bitter periods of exile as well. He will never forsake us.  

·        Leaven is symbolic of sin.  It is that which gets inside and alters what it enters by puffing up.  The Hebrew for leaven is “chametz” which means decay, corruption and sour” and in the Bible leaven is used symbolically of sin, slavery and corrupted doctrine.  Eating unleavened bread symbolized a life of holiness.

·        The brown spots in matzo are called bruises.  'The LORD God of Israel, speaking through His Prophet Isaiah declares about the Messiah: 'And yet ours was the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished struck by God and afflicted. Yet, he was pierced through for our stubbornness, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his stripes we were healed' (Isaiah 53:4-5).  Notice all the stripes and holes in the flat matzo.  From the very beginning, matzo has had to be pierced so that the heat won't cause it to have air bubbles. Isaiah speaks of our Messiah as being pierced.  In the New Covenant we see that Jesus had His Hands, Feet and Side pierced through at His Death. God goes on to say that the Messiah would be 'crushed for our sins.' The matzo, at one time came from whole kernels. These had to be crushed into fine flour, mixed with water and placed in an oven. Biblical matzo was made with flour, water, salt and olive oil representing the sinless body, cleansing, preserving and the Holy Spirit.  The crucifixion was the furnace that crushed and 'baked' Him. 'But it pleased the LORD to crush him...' Is. 53:10. 

·        The Pesach Seder [Passover meal] involved 4 cups of wine which symbolized the 4 promises given to Moses from God in Exodus 6:6-7.  This was a rabbinical decree from Mishna Pesachim 10:1.  The rules of leavening apply to food prepared out of any of the five kinds of grain; barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt.  Although wine is fermented, it doesn't enter into the category of leaven because it’s not made from one of these five types. Some reports indicated that possibly unfermented "raisin-wine" was the only acceptable beverage for Passover. Today only kosher wine is used for Passover.  During the Seder, each participant drinks four cups of wine to recall the four expressions of redemption mentioned in the Bible (Ex. 6:6-7). God tells Moses to tell the people of Israel, "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you from under their bondage and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm and with great judgments: and I will take you to Me for a people and I will be to you a God." The four cups at the Seder represent the four expressions of redemption--bring, deliver, redeem and take. The first cup is called the cup of sanctification; the second, the cup of judgment; the third, the cup of redemption; and the fourth, the cup of the kingdom.  When Jesus said, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins” in Matthew 26:28, he had picked up the third cup – the cup of redemption.  

A fifth cup was later added by rabbis, called the cup of Elijah. The custom of filling a fifth cup of wine for Elijah the Prophet at the seder table is relatively recent. Some families set a place at the table for Elijah and pour into a goblet called "Elijah's cup" to symbolize Elijah would be a welcome guest at the seder.  Another custom is to open the door during the seder for Elijah, symbolizing bringing the Messianic age into their lives.

·        At regular holidays and Sabbath meals two loaves of unleavened bread are placed on the table as reminders of the shewbreads displayed in two rows by the priest in the temple.  On this particular feast a third matzo is added for the ceremony of the Three Matzot, the three pieces of unleavened bread. They are either placed under a napkin or in a Matzo Pouch, a single pouch with 3 compartments called the Unity Bag. The middle piece of matzo will be taken out and broken in half in a ceremony called “yachatz” meaning “to break.”.  One half will be placed back inside the pouch’s middle compartment between the other two pieces of matzo, and the other half will be wrapped inside a napkin and buried in a part of the house.  The buried broken matzo in Greek is called “afikomen” meaning ‘that which comes last’ or possibly, “he will come again.”  It is also called the bread of affliction or the bread of redemption.  The Hebrew for the matzo returned to the middle pouch is called Lechem Oni [the Bread of Poverty].  After the meal, the children will be released to try and find the buried matzo.  Nothing can continue till the buried matzo is found.  The one who finds it brings it to the father and is rewarded a silver piece or something of that nature.  The host will then raise the matzo and declare, 'All who are hungry and afflicted, come to this table and eat.'  He then lifts the matzo up, blesses God for redeeming Israel from Egyptian slavery and passes the matzo around for all to eat of it.  The best that Rabbis that still reject their Messiah can decipher from this is that they either represent Abraham, Issac and Jacob or the three layers of society in ancient Israel; the Aaronic Priesthood, the Levitical Priesthood and the rest of Israel.  But why then is either "Issac" or the "Levitical Priesthood" broken?  Second, why hide the middle matzo? And third, why reward the child with a piece of silver for bringing the hidden matzo?  The Three Matzot represent the Triunity of the Godhead – 3 separate but one just like the pouch.  That is why the pouch is known as the “Unity bag.”  The three matzot are covered by a napkin or placed in the pouch. Either way, they cannot be seen. And neither can we see God.  The ceremony of the Three Matzot represents the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah of the world.  The removal of the matzo depicts the revealing of the Christ - the word made flesh.  The breaking of the matzo is the breaking or crucifixion of the Son of God, the middle Person of the Godhead.  The wrapping of the matzo in a napkin depicts the wrapping and burial of the Christ while the other half placed back into the middle of the pouch depicts Jesus’ continued status as Godhead. The child bringing the hidden matzo into view again declares the resurrection of the Christ.  Silver is the metal symbolic of redemption (Exodus 30:11-16).  The buried matzo is called “He will come again or last,” the bread of affliction or the bread of redemption and the matzo returned to the pouch is called the Bread Of Poverty showing Jesus “emptied” himself.  Phillipians 2:5-8 (NASB)  “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

·        The matzo of Passover is a graphic picture of the crucified body of the Messiah - the piercing, the crushing and the bruises in addition to the matzo having no leaven symbolizing no sin.  This is why the LORD commanded that matzo be the bread of Passover - so that Jesus could inject Himself into the meaning of the matzo 1450 years after the Exodus out of Egyptian slavery.  And Jesus is the Matza that has come down from Heaven that gives us Life and True Freedom.

·        Jesus is called the “Bread of Life” and in Hebrew Bethlehem where he was born means “House of Bread.”  1Corinthians 5:6-8 (NASB) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.  For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  In Jacobs time Bethlehem was also called “fruitful,” and David was anointed King by Saul in Bethlehem which is why it was called the City of David in Luke 2:4,11. 


·        Related Scriptures:

Lev 23:9-14 NASB: (9)  Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (10)  "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  (11)  'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  (12)  'Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD.  (13)  'Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine.  (14)  'Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

1Co 15:21  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

·        The Feast of Firstfruits occurs on Nisan 17 - the third day after the beginning of Passover.  It's a feast of thanksgiving - it celebrates the barley harvest, the first grain of the season.  It is a celebration of new life, a celebration of the first harvest looking toward the larger harvest yet to come; a celebration of the promise yet to be fulfilled.  When the Israelites entered the Promised Land they were to present an offering of the first fruits of the land to the Lord God.  Firstfruits also typify people and this feast coincides with the exact day of the resurrection of Christ.  Christ is called, “the firstfruits of those that rise from the dead.”  [1 Corinthians 15: 20-23].  As part of the Temple ceremony, the priest would take some of the barley, lift it up, and wave it to the Lord in the sight of all the people. One of the foundational doctrines of our faith is the resurrection of the Messiah. This event was foreshadowed in the Feast of First Fruits, where not only did the Messiah die on Passover, but He rose on the Feast of First Fruits. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (Jn. 12:32)

·        There are actually 2 firstfruits.  This feast is called the early firstfruits (barley).  50 days later there is the feast of Weeks or Pentecost where you have the latter firstfruits (wheat).  Jesus being the early firstfruits and us the latter adds more meaning to what Jesus said in John 12:24,25, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”  The 50 days in between is called the counting of the Omer.  An omer is a unit of measure – one tenth of an ephah which is about 2.2 liters.  This makes it a modest but important offering since the new produce could not be eaten until this firstfruits offering was brought to the Temple priest. On Nisan 17, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering.  Sometimes the Farmer would mark the offering with red cloth.  Every night to the night before Pentecost, Israelites recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, they would say "Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer."  The counting is intended to remind Israel of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Pentecost, which commemorates the giving of the Torah.  The Torah is the first 5 books of Moses and the oral law involving the 613 commandments received as the Israelites camped at Sinai for a year.  The counting of the omer also reminds Israel that the redemption from slavery was not complete until they received the Torah.  It also was a reminder of the importance of what was coming – the word firstfruits means “a promise to come.”  Recall Jesus promised the Holy Spirit at this same time.  [Luke 24, 44-49]

·        The early firstfruits are waved before the Lord in their natural state.  The latter firstfruits were waved in a prepared state.  Both Israel and the church entered this period in their “raw” unprepared state, spiritually speaking.  Later, Israel was empowered at Mt. Sinai with the Torah and the church was empowered on the same day about a millennium and a half later with the Holy Spirit.  Both were prepared as the latter firstfruits typify. 

·        Science tells us that the firstfruits, like sprouts, are the most biologically alive plants.  They have the fullest life potential with the full chemical composition for the beginning and the end of its life unlike any other time in the life cycle of the plant.  Jesus described himself as being the fullest life and being the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega!  Jesus also said, “I am THE truth.”  The Hebrew word for truth is Emeth. It is composed of three letters: Aleph=Alpha, Mem=My, and Thaw=Theta. The Aleph and the Thaw are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the Alpha and Omega are of the Greek. Thus the term Emeth (truth) begins with the first letter of the alphabet and ends with the last.  This led the Jewish sages to find in this word a mystical meaning. The Aleph or the first letter of Emeth(truth) denotes that God is the first of all things. There was no one before Him of whom He could have received the fullness of truth. The Thaw, or last letter, in like manner signifies that God is the last of all things. There will be no one after Him – he is the fullness of all things and all things dwell in truth.

·        Originally the Jews were only given a 3 day leave by Pharaoh after the Passover. [Exo 8:27, 28 "We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us."  Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me." Exodus 12:31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said.] Israel remained under Pharaoh’s ownership.  Some Jewish scholars believe that in the original Passover the Jews would have received their freedom on Sunday, the day Pharaoh drowned in the sea and the same day the Christ rose from the dead.  Pharaoh’s death released all ownership rights freeing Israel to continue on into the Promised Land!  On Nisan 17, when Israel emerged from the Red Sea, this emergence was a shadow of the fulfillment of the day of resurrection and Firstfruits (Lev. 23:9-14). God's people emerged from sin (Egypt). The death of Pharaoh [sin] freed them.  If God hadn’t “resurrected” them after 3 days from certain death on the other side of the sea, they would have remained in sin [Egypt, Pharaoh, slavery].  Israel’s “resurrection” resulted in sin [Egypt, Pharaoh] being conquered.  1Co 15:17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. All this history lost its mystery when 1,478 years later on Nisan 17, 30 a.d. Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven as our high priest, the Firstfruit of the resurrected (John 20:17). 


·        Scriptures related to Pentecost:

Deuteronomy 16:9-12 (NASB)  "You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.  Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the LORD your God blesses you; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name. You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes."

Rom 8:2 (NASB)  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

Eph 2:14-18  For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.  AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

Mat 13:37-43, "And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.  So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.   He who has ears, let him hear."

·        This occurred 50 days after the first Passover in Egypt when the Hebrew people came to Mount Sinai and received the Torah.  Shavuot means “weeks” and represents the 7 weeks the Hebrews prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah.  Jewish sages have compared this event to a wedding between God and the Hebrew people.  Also, the Apostles and others prepared themselves for the giving of the Holy Ghost which arrived 50 days after the resurrection [firstfruits].  The law of sin and death was delivered on Mt. Sinai; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ was delivered in Jerusalem on Pentecost [Greek for 50th].  God would now be writing the Law in the hearts of believers.  At Sinai God birthed a nation, in the New Testament God birthed the church on the same day while the 120 and countless others who came to Jerusalem were celebrating the Feast and the giving of the Torah.  There were 3 feasts that required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.  This is the reason for the crowd.  Scripture readings as part of Shavuot include Exodus and Ezekiel which speak of signs and wonders, many resembling what happened in Jerusalem on Pentecost.. 

·        An offering of 2 loaves of bread is made to the Lord as part of this feast.  It is significant that these loaves are baked with leaven, symbolic of sin.  It is believed these loaves represented the still imperfect Jew and Gentile being birthed as one new man [Ephesians 2:15] which is the church, the body of Christ.  The Kingdom of Heaven had now fully commenced while we head toward the fullness of the Kingdom of God at the end of the ages.  It is commonly misstated that the setting up of Jesus’ Kingdom was delayed.  This is untrue.  The Kingdom of Heaven [professing Christians comprised of wheat and tares] was to come first as Jesus plainly taught time and again.  Another example of this merging of Jew and Gentile appears in the book of Ruth, which is also read during this Feast.  Shavuot is the time of the wheat harvest in the land of Israel. Ruth, a Gentile, returned with her Jewish mother in law, Naomi, to the land of Israel during the time of the beginning of the harvest. One of the commandments given regarding Shavuot was Leviticus 23:22, where it states that the corners of a field being harvested must be left for the poor and the stranger (Gentile).  It was because of this Levitical law that Ruth, a Gentile, met and married Boaz, a Jew, bringing forth a son, who became the ancestor of Jesus the Christ.  This typifies again the Jew and Gentile coming together in Christ.

·        When God appeared at Sinai a shofar [trumpet made from a ram’s horn] sounded louder and louder.  Fire was seen, the wind roared and the ground shook.  Israel was in awe as the voice of God brought forth the Torah.  Jewish tradition states God spoke not only in Hebrew, but in every known tongue at the time.  The similarities of what happened at Pentecost with the noise, the wind, the fire, the shaking and everyone hearing the Spirit filled Apostles and others preaching in their own tongue proves the prophetic nature of what happened.

·        This feast was designated the Atzeret which is a festive gathering for the conclusion of a festive season, a concluding feast of Passover.

·        Many teach that in the prophetic time line we are between the Spring Feasts and the Fall Feasts with the Spring Feasts showing what has occurred and the Fall Feasts showing what is coming.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Most all of Christianity is in agreement regarding the meaning behind the 4 prophetic Spring feasts just discussed.  However, the Fall prophetic feasts are another story.  There are basically 2 opinions regarding the meaning behind the Fall feasts to be discussed next.  There is the view from those that call themselves Preterists who believe the events depicted in the Fall feasts have already been fulfilled during and after the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  Others believe the events depicted in the Fall feasts are yet to be fulfilled.  The opinions regarding Biblical prophecy are many and I am not sure any group has got it completely right.  I am certain of this one thing.  If the basics of the truth of Christ are believed we should not be splitting up, judging harshly, feeling superior to or not fellowshipping due to non-essential points of doctrine.  We are all learning and growing and I pray none of us forget that.  Early church historians speak of how unconcerned the early church was with points of doctrine.  The essentials of Christ were all that mattered and other points of doctrine were viewed as nothing but interesting discussion.  Perhaps we should all learn from the attitude of the early church!  The following table shows the most common views.


WHICH LATER BECAME KNOWN AS Head of the Year (Rosh Hashannah)

·        Scriptures related to the Feast Of Trumpets:

Leviticus 23:23-35; Numbers 10:10; 29:1-6

Mat 5:23-24  "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

·        The 3 Fall feasts occur in the 7th month – the Sabbatical month.  Most feasts start in the middle of the month around the Full Moon.  This feast also called Yom haDin or Day of Judgement starts the first of the month when a sliver of the moon shows and no one knew exactly when the trumpets would sound.  This encouraged a state of readiness.

·        The sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) on the Feast of Trumpets ushered in ten sacred days that end on the Day of Atonement.  The number 10 is the number of law and this 10 day period is known as the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe or High Holy Days).  It is during this sacred time, the time of the great trumpet blast, that Jews believed each person’s final destiny in the Age to come was sealed in the Book of Life. 

·        During this time, Jews made things right with God and man, forgave and asked forgiveness and performed through spiritual house cleaning.  While repentance allowed the Jews to resolve these conflicts throughout the year, it was the main focus during Rosh Hashana. Repentance consists of several steps in the Jewish tradition including;
1.  Recognition and admission of the wrong doing
2.  Renunciation of the action
3.  Restitution to the wronged party and
4.  A promise not to repeat the offense. 
The theme of repentance figures into most all of the rituals and prayers of Rosh Hashana.  Sometime between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is customary to throw bread crumbs into a body of water as a symbolic act of repentance. This is called tashlich.  Most Jews do tashlich the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashana. Family and friends gather together at the waterfront to "cast away" the sins of the past year and resolve to do better in the year to come.  Micah 7:19 is among passages quoted.  He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.”

·        In all services there would be awakening blasts from the shofar (ram’s horn).  There were three kinds of notes. The tekiah was a single blast. The shevarim was a set of three blasts. The teruah was a set of nine very short blasts. During the shofar service the horn blower blows three notes in different combinations as they are called out. At the end of the shofar service, a very long tekiah , the tekiah gedolah [the great trumpet blast Isaiah 27:13; Matthew 24:31] is blown.  It was to alert all believers to:
1. Wake up, acknowledge and face the Creator
2. Do whatever repentance was necessary
3. Remember the revelation on Mount Sinai (the Law)
4. Remember the exhortation of the prophets
5. Remember the destruction of the Temple
6. Recall the Binding of Isaac for sacrifice and the ram provided by the Lord
7. Be alert to possible imminent danger
8. Prepare for the Day of Judgment and Atonement which is at hand
9. Focus on the redemption of Israel
10. Remember the resurrection

·        Repentance in Hebrew is called “teshuvah which means to turn around and come back.  Jesus’ opening message was the same as the message of this feast, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” Matthew 4:17.  Also notice this feast came BEFORE the Day Of Atonement following the same pattern as Jesus taught – getting right with your brother BEFORE offering your gift on the altar.  [Matthew 5:23-24] 

·        Some teach that the more bent over [showing humility] one is for this feast the better.  Some point to the shape of the shofar as an example of humility.


·        Scriptures related to the Day of Atonement:

Leviticus 16; 23:26-32 17:11; Numbers 29:7-11

·        This is Israel’s most Holy day.  The whole focus is on atonement and forgiveness of sin.  Atonement means to cover or to cancel.  The Hebrew for sin is “chet” which means to miss the mark, to come up short of God’s standard.  Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.  Only shed blood could atone for the soul.  God Himself was the first to atone [cover up] for sin by shedding blood when he sacrificed animals to cover Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Sinful man knew instinctively that something had to be done to cover sin because he tried covering himself with fig leaves.

·        While other sacrifices were done on this day, the main focus was the annual sacrifice consisting of 2 goats.  Although it was 2 goats it was considered one sacrifice.  The “chatat” (sin goat) was to be sacrificed on the altar after the priest had confessed the sins of the nation over it.  The second goat, the “azazel”, commonly called scapegoat, also had the sins of the people confessed over it but was then set free in the wilderness.  The standard thinking is that this symbolized the sins were sent away never to return but deeper research indicates this meant the sins were being sent back to the source of evil itself as proof there was no more condemnation for the sins.  See Appendix on Azazel.

·        While being bent over in humility is the preferred posture of the Feast of Trumpets, the straighter one is during this festival the better.



Compiled by Leon Clymer

The Jewish holiday of Purim, from the Book of Esther, is distinctly different from all the others. First of all, Purim tells the story of Jewish people who chose to live in a prosperous foreign country instead of returning to help rebuild the nation of Israel. Many American Jews today are faced with this dilemma, and most, like Mordecai and Esther, choose what appears to be a "safer" alternative. Purim also shows how G-D uses people who are willing to listen and obey in order to save and preserve His Chosen People, wherever they are.

The story takes place in Shushan, the capitol of Persia, shortly after the reign of Xerxes (486-465 B.C.E.) According to the Book of Ezra, the Jews of the Babylonian Exile had been allowed to leave in 538 B. C. to rebuild Israel. The events described in Esther happened approximately 100 years later to the descendants of those Jews who decided to stay in Babylonia.

Their circumstances sound very familiar to our present time. They were mostly of the Persian middle class. A few had even risen to prominent positions. The central characters, Mordecai and Esther, had Persian names. The name of Mordecai is believed to be a variant of "Merodach", patron deity of Babylon. The name of Esther means "she who is hidden ". Her Hebrew name is "Hadassah ". Apparently, Mordecai and Esther, and most of the other Persian Jews, had chosen to assimilate into Persian society to avoid discrimination, Esther kept her Jewishness a secret even when she was chosen as Queen.

However, G-D always seems to raise up a Pharaoh, Hitler, or Haman, to remind the Jews of their destiny. Haman, the Jew-hater of this story, was a descendent of Amalek, the eternal enemy of Israel. King Saul hand an opportunity to destroy Amalek’s descendants, but disobeyed G-D. (1 Samuel 15:9) Therefore, Mordecai, a Ben jaminite like Saul, was forced to deal with Haman. Haman aroused the anti-semitic hatred of the Persians and planned to exterminate all Jews.

After casting lots (Purim), Haman decided the Jews would all be killed on the thirteenth day of Adar, and all of their property seized. He persuaded King Ahasuerus with reasons that are always used against Jews; and the Jews are aliens in the land, they have "different" laws and customs, they were disloyal to the natkn. Foolishly, the King agreed wth Haman ‘s plan, and the fate of the Persian Jews was seemingly sealed.

However, G-D had a different pian. Responding to the supplications and pleas of His people, He raised up a deliverer in Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia. Esther, like Moses, Gideon, and many others, was at first reluctant. She was afraid to expose her Jewish identity to help her people. Mordecai, her cousin and advisor, was forced to remind her in Esther 4:14 that G-D would raise another deliverer if she failed to respond. So Esther made the decision to lay down her life, if that was required, to save her people from destruction.

The remainder of the story is an example of God’s justice. Haman is exposed and hanged, Mordecai is promoted, and the Jews in all of the Persian Empire are allowed to defend themselves against their enemies. And so the day of destruction was turned into a day of deliverance for the diaspora Jews.

Purim, like Chanukkah, is a sign of physical redeeming of G-D’s people. Today, Jews and Gentiles alike, have the perfect redemption in Yeshua the Messiah, who laid down His life to rescue all who accept Him. Purim, like all of the Jewish Holidays, point to Him as our Redeemer. It is a said by the Rabbis "While all other Festivals may be annulled, Purim will never pass away". We are redeemed by Yeshua, and like Purim, the salvation He brings will never pass away.

Purim, or the Feast of Esther, happens every year on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Adar, the last month of the Jewish calendar. Adar usually corresponds with the month of March. Esther 9:27 & 28 teaches the Jewish people to "Keep these two days. . . and that these days should be remembered every generation ".

In the Synagogues and Temples, the Megillah, or Book of Esther, is read aloud. When the name of Haman, the Jews’ enemy, is pronounced, children and adults alike, whistle, shake rattles, noisemakers, and stomp their feet to blot out the name. The children have costume parties and the women bake "Hamantaschens", which are small pastries shaped like a three cornered hat (Haman’s hat).

Even through Purim is a festive time, there is a period of fasting to remember that G-D heard His people when they fasted and cried out to Him. Also, Purim is a time for sending gifts of food to your friends and for helping the poor people in your community.






Greek word meaning that which comes after or “he will come again.”  It is represented in a broken piece of matzo wrapped in linen and buried (hidden) during the Passover Feast.  It can also mean dessert or after.


The binding of the sacrifice.


A guilt offering made by one who has sinned against his fellow man.

atan Torah

The giving of the law or instruction.

Athid Lavo

The coming age.


A festive gathering for the conclusion of a festive season, a concluding feast


Good news (same as gospel).

Bedikat Hametz

The search for leaven

Beit Hamikdash

The sanctuary or Temple in Jerusalem

Beit haShoevah

The House of the Waterpouring


House of Bread – Jesus’ birthplace


Common Era (same as A.D.).


Decay, corruption and sour; leaven


Sin goat


To sin, miss the mark, come short of God’s standard


Canopy which represents the honeymoon chamber.

Cohan haGadol

The High Priest.

Can Eden

The Garden of Eden.



Hag haMatzoh

Festival of Unleavened Bread.


The Adversary (same as Satan).


A sin offering made by one who has sinned against G-d.


The hope.

High Holy Days

A ten day period from Rosh haShanah to Yom Kippur.


Cut off as in “cut off from his people”.  It comes from the rite of covenant - to cut and pass between the pieces. To be cut off is to void the covenant, to be placed outside the relationship Israel has with God. We would explain it as excommunication. The covenant has become null and void. The one who is "cut off" is no longer a part of the covenant...spiritually lost


The wedding ceremony.


A second marriage contract.

Lashanan Haba˙ah Bi Yerushalayim!

Next year in Jerusalem!  [Said at the end of the Passover meal]

Lechem Oni-

The Bread of Poverty - a broken piece of matzo wrapped in linen and placed back in the middle pouch during the Passover Feast

Malkut Shamayim

The Kingdom of Heaven.


Anointed one (same as Messiah or Christ).


Hebrew name for Matthew.


Unleavened bread.

Mayim Hayim

Living water.


Convocation, a rehearsal or recital.


Set time or appointed time, a festival.


Additional service for Sabbath and festivals.


Deliverance, used to denote the rapture.


Closing of the gate (part of the service of Yom Kippur).


The Prophets.

Olam Haba

The World to Come.


Gathering of the nobles.




Convert to Judaism.


Seat of Idolatry.


The wholly wicked.

Rav Shaul

Rabbi Paul (the Apostle Paul).

Rosh haShanah

Head of the year, Jewish New Year.

Ruach HaKodesh

The Holy Spirit.


The Passover service and meal, order.


Penitential prayers.


The “laying on of hands” for substitution, identification, attestation and dedication for religious purposes.  Hebrews six states this is one of the elementary doctrines of faith in the Christ.


Seven high Sabbaths a year which fall on particular calendar days instead of the day of the week.  The first day of the feast of unleavened bread [the 15th] is an example.


Morning Service.


Weeks, The Day of Pentecost, receiving of the Torah, and the beginning of the wheat harvest.  Also, it represents the betrothal between Israel and the L-rd.

Shemini Atzeret

The day following Sukkot and the end of that festival.


7, to be full, satisfied or to have enough

Shitre Erusin

A betrothal contract.


Trumpet made from a ram's horn.

Shofar haGadol

The Great Trumpet.


Booth, Covering.


The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.


The Hebrew Bible.


The customary practice of throwing bread crumbs into a body of water sometime between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur as a symbolic act of repentance. Most Jews do tashlich the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashana. Family and friends gather together at the waterfront to "cast away" the sins of the past year and resolve to do better in the year to come.


An awakening blast.


Repentance from sin, spiritual reawakening.  A desire to strengthen the connection between oneself and the sacred.


Instruction (teaching) or law.


Saints or the Righteous.

Yamin Nora'im

The Days of Awe or High Holy Days.


Hebrew name meaning salvation (same as Jesus).


Hebrew name for Isaac.


Hebrew name for John.

Yom haDin

The Day of Judgement.

Yom haPeduth

The Day of Redemption.

Yom haZikkaron

The Day of Rememberance

Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement.

Yom Teruah

The Feast of Trumpets.


A Memorial


A portion of the Rosh HaShanah service that deals with divine remembrance.

·        Some explanations regarding Passover dates:

The gospels appear to say that the Messiah ate a Passover meal with the twelve on the evening beginning Nisan 14, and John appears to say Jews were having their Passover meal one day later. There are different theories to explain this.   
1. The Sadducees and Pharisees disagreed on the day of Passover. The Sadducees (more conservative group) believed the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread were separate feast days. They held Passover on the fourteenth as God decreed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Those of the majority opinion, including the Pharisees, held Passover on the fifteenth. Jesus may have been following both dates by having Passover with the disciples on the fourteenth and becoming the Passover lamb on the fifteenth.  
2. Thousands of people would come to Jerusalem to have their lambs ritually slain in the Temple. If they only had one day in which to prepare for the Passover, it would have been extremely difficult to have slaughtered all the lambs brought in to be sacrificed. Therefore, they worked on two different time scales. The northern part of the country went with the old way of dating (starting from morning and going to the following morning). The southern part of the country followed the official dating method (from evening to evening). Thus, there were two times when lambs were being killed in the Temple for sacrifice.

·        Traditional Seder [Passover meal] Outline

1. This begins with a sanctification blessing over grape juice in honor of the holiday. The grape juice is drunk, and a second cup is poured, which is symbolic of the blood of Jesus (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:23,24; Luke 22:20; John 6:53-56).

2. The father or leader pours water into a basin and washes his hands. This symbolizes the foot washing Jesus did before He ate the Passover meal. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded (John 13:5).

3. The Karpas (a vegetable--usually parsley) is dipped in salt water and eaten. The vegetable is said to symbolize the lowly origins of the Jewish people; the salt water symbolizes the tears shed as a result of our slavery.

4. There are three pieces of matzah, two for the blessing and one to be broken. There is a special cloth holder with three sections called matzah tash. The three pieces of matzah are inside, one in each compartment. The leader takes the middle sheet of matzah and lifts it for everyone to see. He then breaks the bread in two. This symbolizes Christ. Next he takes one piece and places it back in the matzah tash. Then he takes the other piece and wraps it in a linen cloth. This linen-wrapped matzah is called the Afikoman. The matzah tash forms a unity of one which speaks of the unity of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

5. The leader hides the Afikoman. This is a picture of Y˙shua (Jesus), the middle part of the tri-unity, which was broken, wrapped up in cloth, buried and brought forth again (as bread brought forth from the earth.)  Jesus, the bread of life, was without sin (leaven), pierced, and striped just as the unleavened matzah. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb...(Matt. 27:59-60).

6. There should be a retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt and the first Passover. This may begin with the youngest person asking The Four Questions. Then the leader reads the Passover story in Exodus 12. We should try to motivate our children to ask their own chain of questions, by pointing out small items that will lead them along a path of discovery to ever bigger and more important items.

7. A blessing is recited over the second cup of wine and it is drunk.

8. A second washing of the hands, this time with a blessing, in preparation for eating the matzah.

9. A blessing specific to matzah is recited, thanking God for bread that symbolizes the body of Christ (Matt. 26:26). Then a piece of matzah is eaten.

10. A blessing is recited over a bitter herb (usually raw horseradish), and it is eaten. This symbolizes the bitterness of slavery and the bitterness of our sin. The bitter vegetable should be eaten together with matzah.

11. The bitter vegetable is eaten again, but with a mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine, which symbolizes the mortar used by the Jews in building during their slavery. This mixture symbolizes how the sweetness of Jesus can overcome bitter sin.

12. A festive meal is eaten. There is no particular requirement regarding what to eat at this meal except that leaven cannot be eaten. Traditionally, some Jews eat gefilte fish and matzah ball soup at the beginning of the meal.

13. The piece of matzah set aside earlier is eaten as dessert, the last food of the meal. The children look for the Afikoman. Once it is found it is ransomed to the leader for a price as the Messiah was our ransom.

14. The third cup of wine, called the redemption, cup is poured. Grace is recited afterward. Then a blessing is said over the third cup and it is drunk.

15. The fourth cup is poured.

16. Some items are set aside for the prophet Elijah (see previous section Jewish Customs of Passover Today.) The door is opened for awhile at this point for Elijah.

17. Several psalms of praise are recited. A blessing is recited over the last cup of wine and it is drunk.

18. The Passover is completed with the phrase: Lashanan Haba˙ah Bi Yerushalayim! Next Year in Jerusalem!  This is sometimes followed by various hymns and stories.

·        History of the Jewish Star

Through our long and often difficult history, we have come to the realization that our only hope is to place our trust in God. The Magen David (literally "Shield of David") has six-points, which symbolize that God rules over the universe and protects us from all six directions: North, South, East, West, Up and Down. A similar symbolism is found in reading the "Shema." ("Code of Jewish Law" O.C. 61:6)  Thus, King David used this six-pointed symbol to signify that the Almighty shields him in war. (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein - "Igrot Moshe" O.C. 3:15)

A more practical theory is that during the Bar Kochba rebellion (1st century), a new technology was developed for shields, which used the inherent stability of the triangle. Behind the shield were two interlocking triangles, forming a hexagonal pattern of support points. If you've ever seen a Buckminster Fuller geodesic, you know how strong triangle-based designs are!  A cynical suggestion is that it is an appropriate symbol for the internal strife that often afflicts Jewish nation: two triangles pointing in opposite directions!

In Kabbalah, the two triangles represent the dichotomies inherent in man: good vs. evil, spiritual vs. physical, etc. The two triangles may also represent the reciprocal relationship between the Jewish people and God. The triangle pointing up symbolizes our good deeds, which go up to heaven and activate a flow of goodness back down to the world, symbolized by the triangle pointing down.

Another idea is that a cube, which has six sides, receives form and substance from its solid center. This inner core represents the spiritual dimension, surrounded by the six universal directions. So too, we see this pattern in the six-pointed star with it's hexagonal center. By the way, the same idea applies to Shabbat -- the seventh day which gives balance and perspective to the six weekdays.

As for the yellow, presumably this is an invention of the Nazis, who forced Jews to wear yellow stars so that they could be recognized from afar.  So whether it is a blue star waving proudly on a flag, or a yellow star in a concentration camp, the Star of David stands as a reminder that for the Jewish people... in God we trust.  With blessings from Jerusalem, Rabbi Shraga Simmons -

·        The special Sabbaths preceding Passover

The Four Parashiyot

In the six weeks preceding Pesah during the months of Adar and Nisan, there occur four special Sabbaths called Sheqalim, Zakhor, Parah, and Shabbat Hahodesh. In addition, the Sabbath immediately preceding Pesah is called Shabbat Hagadol. The first four are referred to as the 'Arba Parashiyot and are distinguished by additional readings from the Torah and special lessons from the prophets. Two of these are connected with the celebration of Passover (M. Meg. 3:4). (A good summary of the 'Arba Parashiyot can be found in the Mishnah Berurah on O.H. 681:1, n. 1.)

Shabbat Sheqalim

In ancient days, every male Israelite twenty years and older had to contribute a half-shekel annually to the maintenance of the Temple in Jerusalem. This had to be paid before the first of Nisan. In order to remind the people of this duty, proclamations were made on the first of Adar that the half-shekel was due (M. Sheq. 1:1). Inasmuch as Jews came to the synagogue on the Sabbath, it was instituted that on the Sabbath preceding the first of Adar, the Torah reading would include the passage describing the first proclamation of the half-shekel. On that Sabbath two Torah scrolls are removed from the ark. In one we read the portion of the week, and in the other Exodus 30:11-16, which contains this passage (O.H. 685:1). If the first day of Adar occurs on a Sabbath, three Torah scrolls are used: the first for the portion of the week, the second for the section for Rosh Hodesh (Num. 29:9-15), and the third for the section for Sheqalim (O.H. 685:1). Hatzi Qaddish is recited on the Sabbaths of the four parashiyot upon completion of the reading from the scroll prior to the one from which the Maftir is read. The Haftarah is from 11 Kings 12:1-17, which is an account of the gifts contributed for the repair of the Temple in the reign of King Jehoash. This Haftarah is recited even if Shabbat Sheqalim falls on Rosh Hodesh (O.H. 685:1).   In a leap year Shabbat Sheqalim occurs on the Sabbath before Adar II, or on Rosh Hodesh Adar II if it occurs on the Sabbath.

Shabbat Zakhor

The Sabbath preceding Purim is called Shabbat Zakhor. Again two Torah scrolls are used. In the first the portion of the week is read, and in the second, Deuteronomy 25:17-19, which tells of the battle with Amalek. This portion begins with the word zakhor-hence the name of the Sabbath. The Haftarah is from I Samuel 15:1-34, which also tells of a battle with the Amalekites. This material is associated with Purim because of a tradition that Haman was a descendant of the Amalekites since he was called an Agagite, and Agag was king of the Amalekites in the time of Samuel (I Sam. 15:8).

Shabbat Parah

The third of the four Sabbaths is Shabbat Parah. This must always precede the last of the four Sabbaths, Shabbat Hahodesh. Thus if Rosh Hodesh Nisan falls on a Sabbath and it also becomes Shabbat Habodesh, Shabbat Parah falls on the last Sabbath of Adar (O.H. 685:3-4). If Rosh Hodesh Nisan is in the middle of the week, Shabbat Habodesh falls on the last Sabbath of the month of Adar and Shabbat Parah precedes it (O.H. 685:5).   Again two Torah scrolls are used. From the first we read the portion of the week, and from the second, the laws concerning the red heifer (parah adumah) in Numbers 19:1-22. The Haftarah deals with the future purification of Israel as described in the Book of Ezekiel (36:16-38).   All Israelites carne to the Temple in Jerusalem on Pesah in order to offer the Paschal lamb. They had to be in a state of ritual purity to perform this rite. Since the ashes of the red heifer were used in the process of purification, this passage served to remind those who were not in a state of purity to take the necessary steps.

Shabbat Hahodesh

The Sabbath before the month of Nisan, or the first of Nisan if it is a Saturday, is Shabbat Hahodesh. Again two Torah scrolls are used. In the first we read the portion of the week, and in the second, Exodus 12:1-20. If Rosh Hodesh Nisan is on Sabbath, three Torah scrolls are used. In the first we read the portion of the week, in the second, the portion for Rosh Hodesh (Num. 28:9-15), and in the third, that of Shabbat Hahodesh. Qaddish is said after the reading of the second scroll. The Haftarah is Ezekiel 45: 16--46:18, which contains a description of the sacrifices to be brought on the first of Nisan, Pesah, and other festivals in the future Temple. This Sabbath celebrates the arrival of the month of Nisan, during which the liberation of the children of Israel took place.

·        The Jews and the relation to the moon

The solar year is called "shannah" which means "change." However, the month is called "chodesh," which means "renewal," something that indicates dynamic change. The Jewish people are not only about change, but about renewal and growth, longevity and eternity.

·        Azazel – Who was he?

Azazel and the Se'irim

Azazel is the chief of the Se'irim, or goat-demons, who haunted the desert and to whom most primitive Semitic (most likely non-Hebrew) tribes offered sacrifices. The Old Testament states that Jeroboam appointed priests for the Se'irim. But Josiah destroyed the places of their worship, as the practices accompanying this worship involved copulation of women with goats.  The Se'irim, or hairy demons as the word itself means, are mentioned in Leviticus 17:7 and 2 Chronicles 11:15 as "goat-demons". Isaiah 34:14 says that the "goat-demons" greet each other amoung the ruins of Edom along with Lilith and other wild beasts.  The name 'Azazel' may be derived from 'azaz' and 'el' meaning 'strong one of God.' It is thought that Azazel may have been derived from the Canaanite god, 'Asiz, who caused the sun to burn strongly. It has also been theorized that he has been influenced by the Egyptian god, Seth.

Azazel in Leviticus

Leviticus 16:8 tells that the Lord ordered his high priest, Aaron, to 'place lots upon the two goats, one marked for the Lord and the other marked for Azazel' on the Jewish Day of Atonement. The goat designated by lot for the Lord is to be used as a sin offering, while the goat designated for Azazel "shall be left standing alive before the Lord, to make expiation with it and to send it off to the wilderness for Azazel." (Lev 16:10) Aaron was to "lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities and transgressions of the Israelites, whatever their sins, putting them on the head of the goat; and it shall be sent off to the wilderness through a designated an. Thus the goat shall carry on it all their iniquities to an inaccessible region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness." (Lev 16:21-22) Leviticus also says that "He who set the Azazel-goat free shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water; after that he may reenter the camp." (16:26)  From this passage in Leviticus, it would seem that Azazel is conceived of as a personal being, as lots were drawn for the Lord and for him. Also, Leviticus mentions that Azazel lives in the wilderness, as do the Se'irim. Because of this ritual, Azazel is known as the "scapegoat." The goat that is sent to Azazel is not as a sacrifice, but as a symbol that there is no longer any unexpiated guilt. Both the goat and the man who leads away the goat are unclean, and the only way the man can reenter the camp is by washing his clothes and bathing.

Azazel in The Book of Enoch

In one account of the fall of the angels in the Book of Enoch, Azazel (Asa'el as in the Qumran texts) is the leader of the Watchers who educates humankind of heavenly secrets that lead humankind to sin. These teachings include making weapons of war and preparing cosmetics, which enabled the women to seduce the angels.   The angels then charge Asa'el before the Lord with crimes of revealing the heavenly secrets which mankind was not supposed to know. Raphael was then assigned to punish Asa'el by binding him hand and foot and throwing him into the darkness among the sharp and jagged rocks, where he would remain until the day of judgment when he would be hurled into the fire. The story then claims that "the whole earth has been corrupted by [Asa'el's] teachings of his (own) actions; and write upon him all sin." . It was because of Asa'el's teachings that God sent the Flood to destroy the evil in the world including even the souls of the giants, so that all evil will be wiped away from the face of the earth.  "And Azazel taught the people (the art of) making swords and knives, and shields, and breastplates; and he showed to their chosen ones bracelets, decorations, (shadowing of the eye) with antimony, ornamentation, the beautifying of the eyelids, all kinds of precious stones, and all coloring tinctures and alchemy." - 1 Enoch 8:1

Azazel in the Apocalypse of Abraham

In the Apocalypse of Abraham, Azazel is portrayed as an unclean bird which came down upon the sacrifice which Abraham prepared. This is in reference to Genesis 15:11 "Birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away."  "And the unclean bird spoke to me and said, 'What are you doing, Abraham, on the holy heights, where no one eats of drinks, nor is there upon them food for men. But these all will be consumed by fire and ascend to the height, they will destroy you.' And it came to pass when I saw the bird speaking I said this to the angel: 'What is this, my lord?' And he said, 'This is disgrace, this is Azazel!' And he said to him, 'Shame on you Azazel! For Abraham's portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth, for you have selected here, (and) become enamored of the dwelling place of your blemish. Therefore the Eternal Ruler, the Mighty One, has given you a dwelling on earth. Through you the all-evil spirit (is) a liar, and through you (are) wrath and trials on the generations of men who live impiously."  Apocalypse of Abraham 13:4-9  The Apocalypse of Abraham also associates Azazel with Hell. Abraham says to him "May you be the firebrand of the furnace of the earth! Go, Azazel, into the untrodden parts of the earth. For your heritage is over those who are with you" (14:5-6) There is also the idea that God's heritage (the created world) is largely under the dominion of evil. It is "shared with Azazel" (20:5) Azazel is also identified with the serpent which tempted Eve. His form is described as a dragon with "hands and feet like a man's, on his back six wings on the right and six on the left." (23:7)  Finally, the Apocalypse of Abraham says that the wicked will "putrefy in the belly of the crafty worm Azazel, and be burned by the fire of Azazel's tongue." (31:5) Here again, there is another reference to Azazel as being Hell.

Dictionnaire Infernal - Collin de Plancy (1863) (paraphrased)

Azazel is guardian of goats. On the 10th day of September, on the feast of the Expiation, it was Jewish custom to draw lots for two goats: one for the Lord and the other for Azazel. The goat for the Lord was then sacrificed and its blood served as atonement. With the goat for Azazel, the high priest would place both of his hands on the goat's head and confess both his sins and the sins of the people. The goat ("scapegoate") was then led into the desert and set free. Azazel then returned the goat. Milton described Azazel as the first gate-teacher of the infernal armies. Azazel is also the name of the demon that serves Mark the heretic.