Every day of the year has a designation. For example, today, Wednesday November 1st, is what?
All-Saints Day? Maybe; but since 1994, it is also World Vegan Day.
Some calendar days are a lot more significant than others, e.g., Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
God gave Israel a calendar to follow. Their calendar is based on the phases of the moon; it is a lunar calendar. Each month in a lunar calendar begins with a new moon.
Certain days on the lunar calendar were designated as feast days. There are seven of them, starting with the first full moon of spring. The first three feasts fall in our March and April. The fourth one marked the summer harvest and occurs in our late May or early June. Even though it’s more towards summer, it is usually included with the spring feasts. The last three feasts happen in our September and October.
The four spring feasts are Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Weeks (called Pentecost).
The three fall feasts are Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.
The seven Jewish feasts are found in Leviticus twenty-three.
Lev 23:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 23:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.
The Hebrew word for “feast” is moedim. It means appointment. These appointments commemorate certain historic events in the nation of Israel. But there is something much deeper, too.
They communicated, and still communicate, future events:
Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits communicated and still communicate the first coming of Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world, in His work of redeeming the human race.
Pentecost communicates the body of Jesus Christ being formed.
The three fall feasts communicate the future, especially the Second Coming of Jesus, and the Millennial Kingdom on the earth.
One commentator said, “the feasts which God gave to the nation of Israel are incredible in their truth about Jesus and for their prophetic revelation concerning God’s plan to redeem and retake this planet.”
We’ll see that Jesus, in His first coming, fulfilled exactly the first four spring feasts. We believe that in His Second Coming He will fulfill the remaining three fall feasts.
We’ll look briefly at all of the feasts; then, in subsequent weeks, at each one individually.
The first is Passover:
Leviticus 23:4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.
Leviticus 23:5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.
Passover was when the death angel passed-over every home that had the blood of a lamb on its doorpost in Egypt. The innocent lamb died in place of the firstborn and the Jews were delivered.
The lamb prefigured Jesus Who shed His blood on the Cross to die in our place that we might be delivered from sin. Jesus died on the Cross just at the time the Passover Lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple. He was, truly, “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.”
Next is the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
Leviticus 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
Leviticus 23:7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.
Leviticus 23:8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’ ”
For seven days after the Passover the Jews ate only unleavened bread and they cleansed all the yeast from their homes. Leaven depicts sin in the Bible.
Jesus lived a sinless life; an unleavened life. He is described as “the Bread of Life.”
He was born in Bethlehem, which, in Hebrew, means, “House of Bread.” His time in the tomb fulfilled the symbolism of the unleavened bread.
Next on the calendar is the Feast of Firstfruits:
Leviticus 23:9 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Leviticus 23:10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
Leviticus 23:11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
Leviticus 23:12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord.
Leviticus 23:13 Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.
Leviticus 23:14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
The day after the sabbath that followed Passover, which would be a Sunday, is when Firstfruits was celebrated. It was a harvest celebration. It was a token – the first – of the greater harvest to come.
Jesus rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits.
His resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week, on Sunday, was the token of the greater harvest of souls to be raised after Him. He is the firstfruits of all those who are to follow in resurrection.
Next – The Feast of Pentecost:
Leviticus 23:15 ‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
Leviticus 23:16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.
Leviticus 23:17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.
Leviticus 23:18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the Lord.
Leviticus 23:19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering.
Leviticus 23:20 The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.
Leviticus 23:21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
Pentecost was also called the Feast of Weeks because it was celebrated seven weeks after Firstfruits. The word “Pentecost” means fiftieth.
In Acts chapter two this feast had its fulfillment as the church was born. The two loaves represent Jews and Gentiles being brought into one body, the church. There is leaven in these loaves because there is sin until the Lord completes His work in us.
There is a long interval between the spring and the fall feasts. This communicates that the Holy Spirit is gathering out the Church, while Israel is scattered among the nations.
That brings us to the final three feasts. They were all celebrated in the seventh calendar month, roughly our September.
The Feast of Trumpets was the first of the September feasts:
Leviticus 23:23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Leviticus 23:24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
Leviticus 23:25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ”
It was the first day of the seventh month and ushered in the new civil year. It’s also called Rosh Hashanah, meaning the head of the year.
This was a spiritual time for prayer and the confession of sin.
The Feast of Trumpets is the only one that occurs on the first day of the month. It happens on the “new moon.” That means nobody knows for sure the exact date. It had to be announced by two witnesses. “Of that day or hour no man knows” is an expression referring to this phenomena.
It’s one reason I think that it is associated with the Second Coming. Jesus said of His Second Coming that no man knew the day or the hour – hinting that it will be on the Feast of Trumpets as the Tribulation is ending.
The Day of Atonement is the next fall feast:
Lev 23:26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
Lev 23:27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
Lev 23:28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.
Lev 23:29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 23:30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.
Lev 23:31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Lev 23:32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”
Since Jesus fulfilled all of the spring feasts in His first coming, we can expect Him to fulfill all of the fall feasts in His Second Coming. If He comes on the Feast of Trumpets, then the Day of Atonement will relate to His judging of the nations insofar as who will populate the Millennial Kingdom.
Which brings us to the final feast – Tabernacles:
Lev 23:33 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 23:34 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.
Lev 23:35 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.
Lev 23:36 For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.
Lev 23:37 ‘These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day –
Lev 23:38 besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD.
Lev 23:39 ‘Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.
Lev 23:40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
Lev 23:41 You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
Lev 23:42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,
Lev 23:43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.’ ”
God Tabernacling with men? Sounds like the Millennial Kingdom – the one thousand year reign of Jesus on the earth.
That seems to be the way the apostle Peter understood Tabernacles. When Jesus was transfigured, and Moses and Elijah met with Him, Peter wanted to do what? Build three booths. He thought the Kingdom had come, and that it meant it was time to celebrate Tabernacles.
Let me answer one question right now, briefly. Do we need to keep the feasts?
Lev 23:44 So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
No. The feasts were given to the nation of Israel, as part of their law, to be celebrated each year. They were not given to any other nation nor were they given to the Church.
In Galatians chapter four we read, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.”
Christians, whether Jewish or Gentile, are not responsible to keep these feasts, but knowledge of them encourages our faith.