“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, CONCERNING THE FEASTS OF THE LORD (capitals mine), which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my (God’s) feasts.”
Leviticus 23: 1-2
Approximately 3,500 years ago Moses wrote the Book of Leviticus, which basically outlined the Israelites becoming “…an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:2). The Jews and their forbearers were NOT sin free, perfect people but rather were selected by God Himself to be the ones who would be called His people and who would spread His Word. They are the ones who ultimately wrote the entire Bible (Old Testament AND New Testament) and from whom would be born Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. The Book of Leviticus is critical to us today because it taught the priests the principles of holiness and cleanliness, which they were to then impart to their followers. For this reason the Book of Leviticus is also known as the Book of Atonement. But, guess what? It is also prophetic!
Throughout the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, God described to Moses His Feasts which were to be celebrated. Please notice God did not say there would be seven Feasts. Rather He gave Moses those feasts that were to be considered His Feasts. The fact there were seven should tell us something as throughout the Bible, the number seven is always considered to be the number of “completeness”. These were very specific “holy convocations” which the Israelites/Jews would commemorate to His Glory and Honor. Now I am sure most of us have heard about some or all of these Feasts but probably have never placed them into the meaning in Jewish traditions that also impact those of us today who are Christians. Below I have listed the Seven Feasts in the order they are to be celebrated. It is important to note these Feasts are over a very distinct 7 month time period in the Jewish calendar. The first four are in their Spring and the last three are in their Fall. Therefore they are known as the Spring Holidays and the Fall Holidays.
Please remember the Jewish calendar is very different from the Gregorian calendar we use. Our calendar is tied to the solar year. Theirs is tied to the lunar year. Our year starts January 1st, theirs starts on the 1st of Nisan, which typically aligns with our March or April (in 2021 it will be on March 14th). Yes, we a few days ago entered into the new year of 5781 in the Jewish calendar. Their year starts on the first of Nisan which is determined by the harvesting of barley (Ruth 2:23). Barley was planted in the Fall and harvested for their animals and their poor people in the Spring.
The 4 Spring Feasts and prophecy – Jesus died on Passover, was buried during Unleavened Bread, He rose on Firstfruits & He sent the salvation/sealing baptism of His indwelling Holy Spirit on Pentecost
- Passover – “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s PASSOVER (capitals mine).” – Leviticus 23:5. Christian significance? Jesus’s death. Of course, the original Passover related to the Final judgement of the Egyptians when God sent the angel of death to kill the firstborn of all (humans and animals) in Egypt as punishment for the pharaoh not allowing the Jews to be freed from their 400 years of Egyptian slavery. God had sent numerous plagues but the pharaoh did not listen. Finally, God told the Jews to wipe the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the door frame of their homes and the angel of death would “pass over” their house. Interestingly, draw a line from the bottom of the door frame to the top and side to side and you have just drawn a cross! Coincidence? I doubt it! When the pharaoh saw the resulting devastation of not doing what God had told him through Moses, he freed the Jews, allowing Moses to ultimately take them to their Promised land. Hundreds of years later, God’s sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross began a new “pass over” for all who accepted His sacrifice for their sins. Jesus did not come to cover our sins. No, rather, as John said, Jesus came to TAKE AWAY the sins of the world. Just as God freed the Jews from the Egyptian slavery, He has freed all of us from our sins through the death of Jesus. As a Christian with the knowledge our sins have been taken away, now that is worthy of a feast!
- Unleavened Bread – “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” – Leviticus 23:6. Christian significance? Jesus’s burial. According to Jewish tradition people who died were to be buried within one day of their death. Since their days began and ended at sundown, if Jesus died in the afternoon as indicated in the Bible and was buried a few hours later, that would equate to being buried the next day. Leaven in the Bible usually refers to sin. Remember, it wasn’t Christ’s death on the cross that saved us. It was His resurrection from death that saved us. He died and rose for us!
- First Fruits – “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:” – Leviticus 23:10. Christian significance? The Feast of First Fruits was celebrated the third day, the 16th of Nisan. This “third day” celebration was the same day that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. As Paul prophetically said in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first of them that slept.” Paul refers to Jesus as the first fruits of the dead. Jesus was the first of the great number of souls, including us, that will be resurrected to eternal life. Of course as Christians, we celebrate this day as Easter and we feast with family and friends!
- Pentecost or Feasts of Weeks – “Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” – Leviticus 23:16. Christian significance? The outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Exactly 50 days after the Feast of the First Fruits, the Feast of Pentecost (which means 50) was celebrated. In the Bible the disciples were told to go to Jerusalem after Jesus’s Ascension to Heaven and wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This day eventually would be recognized as THE day the Church was born. Remember at that time there were primarily only Jews who followed Jesus. But the out pouring of the Holy Spirit was intended for Jews AND Gentiles alike. After receiving the Holy Spirit they were told to go out into the world and preach His message of salvation to all, Jew and Gentile alike, if they only accepted His Gift.
The Spring Feasts end with the task of preaching the Holy Gospel to the world. For nearly 2,000 years now that is exactly what has been happening. We know between the Spring Feasts and the Fall Feasts is an undetermined length of time which most Christian scholars believe relates to the Church Age, now nearly 2,000 years old since Pentecost. They also believe the Fall Feasts will be fulfilled AFTER Jesus’s Second Coming. How do we know this? Because we are clearly told in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN SHALL THE END COME (capitals mine).” Since the Feast of Pentecost the followers of Jesus have been telling others of His Gift of Salvation. Believe He died for your sins, repent and ask Him for forgiveness and you will be saved! Once the entire world has been told of His Promise, and they have made their personal decision to accept or reject Jesus, then the End will come. It is critical here to mention the Spring and Fall Feasts have nothing to do with the Tribulation, the anti-christ, Armageddon, etc. It only has to do with the time period before the Church age and the time when Jesus Returns for His Bride, the Church. The Fall Feasts explain this clearly:
The 3 Fall Feasts and prophecy
- Feast of Trumpets (aka Jewish Rosh Hashanah) – “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.” – Leviticus 23:24. In a wonderful way, God commands His people to rest, to celebrate a sabbath and have a holy convocation or feast. Men and women are told to present a food offering to God. They are told to gather and celebrate the blowing of trumpets. Kind of sounds like the Rapture of the Believers doesn’t it. Just as we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP (capitals mine); for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Of course this verse is one of the most common referring to the Rapture. After the Rapture, the Believers in Christ, both dead and alive will gain new bodies and we shall ascend to the clouds and meet Jesus where we will celebrate the wedding feast with Christ in Heaven. Revelation 19:9 says Blessed are those invited to that Feast, the wedding feast of the Lamb! I have to agree with most Biblical scholars who see this as the end of the Church Age and the Rapture of those Believers in Christ, both those who died in Christ and those of us who are still alive and remain. We WILL meet up with them in the clouds! And, we will be with Him forever! Now that will be a Heaven of a feast.
- Day of Atonement (aka Yom Kippur) – “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” – Leviticus 23:27 Yom Kippur is an especially Holy Day for the Jews. It is a day of humility and repentance to God. It is on Yom Kippur when the High Priest annually enters the Holiest of Holies (after nearly 2,000 years soon to be in the 3rd Holy Temple to be rebuilt during the Tribulation period) and takes the blood of the sacrificed lamb and cleanses the sin of the Jews for one year. Of course this annual “cleansing” would not be required if the Jews had originally accepted the Sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah, for their sins for eternity. In Jewish tradition, the High Priest COVERS the mercy seat of atonement in the Temple on Yom Kippur with the blood of the sacrificial lamb. With Jesus’s death and resurrection he actually REMOVES their sin, not covers it. Again, many Bible scholars believe it will be on the Day of Atonement that Jesus will Return and the Jewish people will see him as the one who “they pierced” and will finally accept Him as their Lord and Savior. Of course we know this will happen at Jesus’s Second Coming when Jerusalem is under siege and it appears the Jews are on their last legs. Their debt, and ours, has been paid. We only have to accept it!
- Feast of Tabernacles or Booths – “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.” – Leviticus 23:34 After the Day of Atonement, there will be a great celebration, as there should be. In much the same way God provided for the Jews during their 40 years wandering in the wilderness after being freed from Egyptian slavery, during the Feast of Tabernacles they celebrate for seven days being in the presence of the Lord who resided with them in a tented temple called a tabernacle. So, this feast celebrates them finally being with their Messiah. The fact that when He returns there shall no longer be death or suffering points clearly to the 1,000 year Millennial reign of Christ on earth from Jerusalem. Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit and peace and righteousness will abound. This will be the greatest time to be alive on earth, other than in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall into sin, and it will be under the perfect reign of Jesus Christ. What a feast that will be!
It is so critical to remember the seven Feasts of God told to Moses were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born and rejected. In God’s miraculous way, He instructed His people the Jews to have certain days of Feasts and celebrations. At the time Moses wrote these I doubt anyone alive knew the prophetic scenario they presented for the world to witness as one more fulfillment of God’s Will for all of us. We can all enjoy this Promise from God to partake in all of this if we only accept His gift of Salvation. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Acknowledge your sins and ask Him to forgive those sins. If you do this, you will be saved and will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. That is so comforting to know we can never achieve that goal with works alone but only by faith in Him. If you agree, please forward or share this message with your family and friends. We are all told to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.” Do this and the number of people you feast with will be greatly increased!
May God Bless you as we await His soon Return!