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Thanksgiving Day And The Seven Jewish Festivals

For most of us, Thanksgiving Day is centered on our families and friends.

In Leviticus 23, the appointed Jewish festivals are described: the Sabbath; the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread; Offering the Firstfruits; the Festival of Weeks; the Festival of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the Festival of Tabernacles. These seven festivals (all observed by Jesus) aren’t exactly what we’re celebrating this week, but they at times sound like our Thanksgiving Day. They involve God, thanksgiving, family, and food.

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly…For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly…On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil — a food offering presented to the Lord, a pleasing aroma — and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine…From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord…Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering.” (Leviticus 23, NIV)

Families traveled for fine grain, meat, drink, lots of food offerings, and fellowship.

When we observe Thanksgiving, offer what’s on and around the table to God with thanksgiving — just as was done in these festivals.


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