Leviticus 21-23, Psalm 37
Sometimes in the Old Testament it may seem like we are in a portion of Scripture which only has relevance to the people of Israel and not Christians. The feasts which are mentioned are one of these portions. These feasts were specifically given to the nation of Israel as holidays set aside annually as holy days set apart to assemble and honor God. We, as Christians do not celebrate these holy days. The Hebrew word for feast, mow'ed, means sign, signal or appointed season. God was directing the Israelites with a clear message to watch for Messiah. These spring and fall feasts were dress rehearsals for the first and second coming of their, and our Messiah. So, these feasts not only reflect back on what God had done for His people, but they also look forward to what God would do in the future through Jesus Christ, They summarize, in progression, the complete work of Christ.
The first feast mentioned was Passover. This feast celebrates Israel's deliverance from Egypt and the salvation of their firstborn accomplished by the sacrifice of a lamb and covering the doorposts of their house with the blood of the lamb. Prophetically, Passover revealed what our Passover Lamb would do on the cross for us, as He took away our sins, covering them with His blood, therefore bringing salvation to us. Jesus' death on the cross occurred on the first spring feast, Passover.
The second feast which starts the following day is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This commemorates the night the Israelites left Egypt with such haste that their bread didn't have time to rise. Currently, when celebrated, all yeast containing products must be removed during this week. Yeast is a picture of sin. This unleavened bread would be seen in the unleavened One, or the sinless One, Jesus Christ. Jesus, who at the Passover Seder, the Last Supper, offered His sinless, unleavened body, at that first Communion, saying in Luke 22:19, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
We read in Leviticus 23:11, that the Feast of Firstfruits would be celebrated on the day after the Sabbath of Passover. This specifically referred to the first heading of the barley harvest. This feast commemorated the Israelites entering the Promised Land, a land of milk and honey, which God provided for them. The first day after the Sabbath of Passover almost 2000 years ago was the day when our Messiah rose from the grave on Resurrection Sunday. Jesus Christ was the firstfruits of all who would follow Him into heaven. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:20, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
Fifty days after the Passover is the Feast of Weeks, starting with the Day of Pentecost. This was a joyous time of celebration for the nation of Israel as they presented the new grain offerings of the summer wheat harvest. We read in Acts 2:1,4, "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place...And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit...". This day was the day that Jesus baptized believers with His Holy Spirit, starting the church age.
Jesus has already fulfilled all four of the spring feasts. As we move onto the three fall feasts, they look towards the future fulfillment at the time of Jesus' second coming. The Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah commemorated the silver trumpets which were sounded for three reasons: to gather the people as they traveled through the wilderness on their way to the Land of Promise, to move to a new destination, and as a battle alarm. Many view this prophetically to be fulfilled in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 at the Rapture, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
The next Feast is the Day of Atonement, where we read in Leviticus 23:29-30, "For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among His people." Many feel prophetically this speaks of the time in the Great Tribulation when the people of Israel will repent and turn to Jesus as their Messiah. Before this time they have trusted their own works of righteousness, this repentance will result in their realizing not by their works but on the completed work of Jesus on the cross that they are saved. We know even from Revelation 7 that the tribulation will be a time that many in the Jewish faith will come to Jesus as Messiah.
The last Feast on the Jewish calendar is the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast commemorated God's provision for the nation of Israel when they dwelled in tabernacles or tents, during their wilderness wanderings. This speaks prophetically of the Millennial Reign of Christ described in Revelation 20, when we will be provided for by King Jesus as He rules and reigns on the earth.
It is apparent that nothing in Scripture is coincidental. The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament, while the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: