Dear Readers, Beloved of Christ:
I am beginning a series here on the Seven Feasts of Israel. You may be wondering, what is the significance in this teaching? After all that is “Old Testament” and those feasts were only celebrated by the Jewish people! Right and wrong! If you are a born again Christian you have, and continue, to celebrate these feasts to this day, and I am going to show you how! Let us not forget that our Lord Himself celebrated these feasts!
Before I begin this teaching, a little history is in order. The seven feasts are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost (Feast of Harvest or Feast of Weeks), Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. They are mentioned in several places in scripture, but for the purposes of our study, we will look at them as outlined in Leviticus chapter 23. Also, it is of benefit for you to notice the order in which these feasts were given by God. Nothing of God is happenstance! He is always methodical and organized. In one chapter and forty-four verses, God has revealed an infinitely meaningful and extremely profound prophetic system! The events of the New Testament, the future events concerning the Church and the Jews- indeed, all of God’s plan from chaos to eternity are revealed through the nature and timing of these seven annual feasts!
These holy convocations were given by God to Moses upon Mount Sinai and were to be held each year by the Chosen People. If a faithful Jew was to remember one chapter from the Old Testament, this is the one. An error in these celebrations would result in banishment from the Chosen People!
We now exist between two feasts and it is important for us to understand God’s calendar. His calendar is lunar, based on the phases of the moon rather than the earth’s revolutions around the sun. Each month starts with a new moon reaching to full moon in a 28 day cycle. The moon made for a much better calendar than the sun since it changes every night. The sun isn’t as good as it does not change daily. We either see the whole sun or we don’t. In Hebrew reckoning the day begins at sundown, or moonrise. This seems to be God’s intentions at the very beginning of time (Genesis 1:5). All of the other feasts are based back upon Passover, a simple numbering of the days from a given point.
The Feast of Passover:
As we get into the feast of Passover, I think it important to define “feasts” for you. Yes, I know when we hear this word used we think of food, but that is not entirely the definition. In the original Hebrew language feasts meant “an appointment, fixed time, or an assembly.” Food may have been present, but God’s original command was that it be observed so the Jews would be brought to “remembrance.”
The festival year begins with Passover, to be held at the beginning of spring, the first full moon of spring:
On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover (Leviticus 23:5)
The Lord only gives a single verse here as to the direction of Passover as Israel had recently celebrated it because the nation had been liberated from Egypt. Notice that God only gave the date it was to be celebrated, and remember, all of the other feasts are based back on Passover. In other words, God said “From this day forward.” We read of Israel’s liberation and deliverance from death and slavery in Exodus chapter 12. The Lord established in Exodus 12, that 4 days (the tenth day of the month) prior to the official “day of” Passover (the fourteenth day), the whole congregation of Israel was to “take to themselves a “Lamb”. This was not to be “just any ole lamb”; it was to be “a Lamb without spot or blemish, a male of the first year!” (Exodus 12:5) God also told them that it could be taken out from the sheep or the goats. This may be insignificant, but it makes me wonder if that was God’s hint at “saints” (symbolized by sheep) and “sinners” (symbolized by goat)!
Now, let us examine some symbolism or as I like say “types and “shadows”! The congregation of Israel was to nurse this lamb 4 days. This was sufficient time to get somewhat attached to it, especially by the children. Then on the 14th day, they were to “kill it” as commanded by God. They were then required to take the “blood of the lamb” and strike it against the two side posts and upper post of the door of their houses. Next, they were to “eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, unleavened bread (leaven is symbolic of sin) and bitter herbs shall they eat it.” If the Jew was faithful then God promised, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague (death) shall not be upon you.”
Now, we shall look at this in the “Light” of the New Testament. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, stated this in his call to “prepare the way of the Lord”, “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 John clearly marked the person of Jesus as a blood sacrifice! Consider Jesus’ own words:
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you for this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27) NKJV
This portion of scripture is known as “the last supper or the Lord’s supper”. It was the last time that Jesus would have a meal with his disciples before His crucifixion. The meal itself was unimportant. What Jesus did here was establish the New Covenant (Testament) in His own blood. The disciples of old, as are the Christians of today, were instructed to “drink of this cup!” So, the Christian celebrates Passover by participating in the sacrifice of the Lord! In Egypt the Jew marked his house with the blood of the lamb. Today the Christian (Jew and Gentile alike) marks his house- his body, “the house of the spirit”- with the blood of Christ! The Angel of Death will pass over each Christian as surely as he passed over the Israelite in Egypt. We are already living our eternal life!
Jesus was crucified on the 4th day before Passover, therefore as “the Lamb of God” He became the sacrifice for our sin. He died and rose again in 3 days, the exact day of the Feast of Passover! Are you beginning to see God’s prophetic system as outlined in Leviticus 23? At the last supper, the Lord himself instructed us to do this (drink from this cup) “in remembrance of Me.” We do take communion, a part of the original Passover Feast, in remembrance of the Lord. Therefore, Passover represents our salvation! Praise God! Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb!
Be sure to come back for the other six parts of this series as I unfold the prophetic system of the remaining feasts. Up next is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Until we meet again beloved, May the blessings of God be poured upon you in abundance!