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Seven Feasts of Jehovah - A short synopsis

Synopsis of the Feasts (Leviticus 23)

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Leviticus 23:2 (KJV)

 

Feast Cycle and Calendar arrangement

March/April May/June July Aug Sept/Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
Early rain The long hot Summer Late rain        
Nisan Iyar Sivan Tamuz Ab Elul Tishrei Marches-van Kislev Tevet Shebat Adar
Abib Ziv Sivan Tammuz Av Elul Ethanim Bul Kislev Tebeth Shevat Adar
Passover (14)
Unleavened Bread (15-21)*
Firstfruits (16)
  Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (6)*       Trumpets (Jewish New Year) (1)
Day of Atonement (10)
Tabernacles (15-21)*
         
*All men had to attend in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16, Ex 23:14)
Some alternative names/spellings for the months of the Hebrew calendar

The big idea – what can we apply to our lives.

Cycle 1: The Christian life begins with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our savour (whose blood can save us), the turning away from the things of this world (Egypt) and the living of a life, holy and pleasing to God, which means without sin (no "leaven"); this can only be achieved if led by the Holy Spirit, which was sent at Pentecost.

Cycle 2: There remains a rest for the people of God (see Hebrews), therefore, get on with life, don’t be timid or lazy (ie at ease)[1], but look forward to the day when we will be physically at rest, in the presence of God [2].

Why study the feasts

The Old Testament furnishes us with the shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1). For one who loves the Lord, understanding His concern for the welfare of mankind and his dealings with his chosen people is to understand the Lord himself and in particular what GRACE is. Furthermore, understanding the connection of the Old Testament with the things of New Testament enables a true searcher of Scripture to be fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14). A study of the Law is to reveal the true nature of God and His working towards us: a lost people, redeemed from everlasting destruction into everlasting life, as heirs to the Father. The typography of the Seven Feasts of Jehovah reveals the path Christ took to purchase and sanctify His chosen people, and reveals the glorious moment of "being with Him". It does this by looking forward to a future time of restoration of His people.

The feasts emphasise the shedding of the blood of the lamb that enabled redemption from the bondage of sin, the resurrection of Christ as the First fruits and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We see the future foretold, with the awaking of the remnant of Israel, their repentance and restoration and the blessing of the poor and strange, all of which manifests the glory and blessedness of the kingdom of God.

Study points

  • Old Testament is the shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1).
  • The connection of the Old Testament with the things of New Testament enables a true searcher of Scripture to be fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14).
  • It enables a deeper and richer understanding of God by seeing the New Testament hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament revealed in the new.
  • The Law reveals the true nature of God and His working towards us; a lost people, redeemed from everlasting destruction but now, destined for glory, as heirs. (The Law shows us for what we really are – lost, the Feasts show what Grace is.
  • The typography of the Seven Feasts of Jehovah (or the Lord) reveals the path Christ took to purchase and sanctify His chosen people, and further, it reveals the glorious moment of "being with Him". It does this by looking forward to a future time of restoration of His people.
  • A Christian’s interest in the feasts is in the way they speak of the Jehovah’s boundless mercy and grace.

The tenet (Key point)

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. Hebrews 10:1 (NKJV)

Background

  • The Feasts governed the lives of Israel.
  • Feasts ran from spring to autumn.
  • Three times a year all males had to present themselves to the temple at Jerusalem (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles – Ex 2314-17). A "holy" convocation is a religious meeting, and in Scripture it is a holy gathering of people as appointed by God, hence being more than a congregational meeting.
  • The feasts ran from the early rains in spring through to the late rains, which came at the end of the long hot summer, at the beginning of autumn.
  • There were three feasts, a break the forth feast, than a break followed by the last three.
  • Observance is not required by Christians (because Christ fulfilled the law).
  • Early Church observed Passover.
  • Key bible passages – Leviticus 23 outlines the law pertaining to the seven feasts.
  • These feasts belonged to Jehovah – see Leviticus 232.

The "types" seen in the feasts are as follows.

  • The feats are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Firsts, Weeks (Pentecost), Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles.
  • These correspond to salvation, resurrection, gathering of the church, the awaking of Israel, repentance and reception of the Messiah, everlasting life.
  • Note that types must: have a genuine correspondence – there must be a type and its antitype (eg Joseph and the Messiah), foreshadows something, and there is a heightening of the type by the antitype (Christ is greater than any of his types), and the type will bear the marks of design.

 

Feast
Action
Antitype
NT Reference
Passover Blood sprinkled The Lords death 1 Cor 5:7
Unleavened bread Passover eaten Communion of Saints 1 Cor 5:7,8
First fruits Sheaf of first fruits waved Christ’s resurrection 1 Cor 15:20
Pentecost Two loaves waved Holy Spirit Sent Gal 3:28
Trumpets Trumpet blowing Christ return to His land 1 Cor 15:51–52
Day of Atonement Blood atonement Repentance of Jews Heb 9:28
Tabernacles Dwelling in booths Millennium Revelation 20..
Note that in each action many other "types" can be found, for instance, in the atoning sacrifice, which Christ has done, once for all, the Passover lamb, being Christ Himself.

 

Overview

  • Not counting the Sabbath there are seven feasts, a divinely perfect number. The Sabbath makes it eight, instituted in the first week of creation, and the book of Leviticus (chapter 23) begins with the Sabbath. It however then states that there are "seven holy convocations which you shall proclaim".
  • The first four feasts are connected with the Lord’s heavenly people, the Church – Christ is our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7). These have been fully fulfilled.
  • The last three feasts are more connected with His earthly people, Israel. These remain to be fulfilled.
  • They were held at the place Jehovah appointed (Deut 1616). The three times when males appeared in Jerusalem, they had to come without empty hands (Deut 1616, Ex 2924, Lev 1612, Deut 262.
  • Christians need to realise that observance of the feasts are not required, (because Christ fulfilled the law), however, the early church did observe Passover. Also note that Passover observed by the early church in Acts is not the Easter Christendom observes now, that latter being a pagan festival, borrowed by the Church of Rome from Babylon along with "Lent".

0. Sabbath

The Sabbath portraits the dealings of God in grace with His people, with its principle significance in the rest which remains for the people of God. Mentally a Christian can be at rest – we can enter into it in spirit, but physically this is yet to happen.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:9, 10 (NKJV)

  • Our rest, holiness, fellowship etc is rests ONLY is on the saving grace of God
  • Leviticus 23, describing the Seven Feasts, begins with Sabbath.
  • Observed weekly, feasts are yearly.
  • Observed at home, others in the place Jehovah appointed (Deut 1214, 166).
  • The Sabbath has not been completely filled, for there remaineth a rest for the people of God. (Heb 4:9).
  • Sabbaths point to the grace of God, for no rest, holiness or fellowship can ever be entered into without His grace.

The Seven Feasts

Note verse 4 – although the Sabbath is included with the feasts, the text makes it clear that the ordinances of the seven feasts begins here: "these are the feasts of holy convocation". The word convocation should not be missed. It means a holy gathering or get – together, a community event and hence the Feasts were orientated towards family as in Passover evening, or community either in individual settings or in Jerusalem.

1. Passover (14th day first month), see also Exodus

Passover begins with God choosing His people:

God was to bestow an unmerited blessing: For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 14:2 (NKJV)

The elements of need is explained in Exodus 1:13 & 14 with the benefit explained in Exodus 6:6&8: Israel was –

Out of fellowship with God:

but your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

Did not know God:

God is in none of his thoughts" Psm 104, when they come and say "what is His name?" Ex 313.

Lost

My people have been lost sheep Jer 50:6

Helpless:

"Wretched, miserable, poor , blind, naked" Rev 3:17

Idolatrous

Joshua 2414

  • Ruled by an evil King, who could not be trust – a great monster – (Ezekiel 29:3) and God was against him (Ezekiel 19:10)
  • The Passover undoubtedly speaks of the slain lamb of God, whose blood redeems us from everlasting darkness, or death.
  • Speaks of redemption: a separation of the people of God (Psm 148:14) from Egypt.
  • It speaks to us as having been redeemed from the curse of the law:
  • No stranger can partake – only His chosen, the redeemed.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), Galatians 3:13 (NKJV)

  • It involved a lamb and spilt blood.
  • The ground on which it is taken (the location) is chosen by Jehovah.
  • Done to glorify God: Exodus 6:7, John 17:3, 1 Cor 6:20.

Conclusion

1.      The Lamb’s blood is sufficient for us.

2.      When an individual repents & believes he is born again – the month is reckoned the first – the beginning.

3.      His life needs to follow a blameless life, holy unto the Lord – without leaven.

4.      Passover speaks of all things become new (Rev 21:5) "behold I make all things new".

5.      The Cross is the starting point to the throne.

6.      Redemption by the blood of Christ is what gives us the position of hope.

7.      Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Exodus 6:7 (NKJV)

Bondage versus Freedom

Note verse 7 – where no manner of servile work was to be done during this holy convocation. This is repeated in verses 8, 21, 25, 25 and 36. In this feasts were instigated to demonstrate the grace of God towards Israel who were saved out of bondage from Egypt. They no longer were slaves. Nor is a Christian a slave to sin (see all of Romans 6). He does not toil in servile work and has ceased from manual labour (ceremonial law) but partakes in Christ. Servile work is what the priests did in order to fulfil the ceremonial law – which Christ has complete and sat down to rest.

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, Hebrews 10:12 (NKJV)

2. Unleavened bread

  • Passover was eaten without leavened, and unleavened bread was eaten for a further week.
  • Involved the absence of leaven: leaven was not seen, was not eaten, was not in the home.
  • Leaven speaks of sin. Unleavened bread speaks of salvation. Gentiles ought to live without sin.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1 (KJV)

  • It speaks of the communion of the saints.
  • It speaks of a life that is not bondage to sin – no leaven, no servile work.
  • All men had to appear in a place God appointed (Jerusalem) see Deuteronomy 16:16.

Conclusion

Christians must actively remove sin or corruption or corrupting influences from their life. The Jews had to actively clean their homes in preparation for this Festival. Paul says "I die daily".

.. He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."1 Peter 1:15 – 16 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

3. Firstfruits

The firstfruits is the example what was to come – it is equivalent to the great harvest that Jesus speaks of in the gospel, of whom Christ was the firstfruit, by virtue of being the first born, among the dead. (Col 18, Rev 15 – note both Paul and John use the same imagery). Hence the Feast offerings prefigures the perfect glorious work of Christ in fulfilling the work to the glory of the Father, along with the joy of His voluntary death on the Cross, together with the prefigurement of the redemptive work of Christ, the Passover lamb, and the spotless life (unleavened) of Christ as our example.

  • On the first day of the week as the Son (Christ) rose from the dead, and the sun rose in the east, the priest was waving the first fruits.
  • Involved the waving of the first fruits of the harvest before the Lord, on the east side of the tabernacle.
  • It speaks to us of Christ’s resurrection – first among the dead.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20 (NKJV)

  • Shows that the sacrifice is sufficient for our sins.
  • The first fruit (Christ) was the example of what was to come – a great harvest.

Conclusion

In redemption we have the display of grace and mercy, abundant beyond all understanding: however, with the comprehension due to Christ living within our hearts:

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; ..may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—9to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17 – 19 (NKJV)

In obedience we live a life unleavened – in the strength of the Holy Spirit – "I die daily" is what Paul says.

In the firstfruits we have Christ. It is proof that Christ was accepted by God as the propitiation (the one who turned aside the wrath of God from those who believe) for our sins. Hence, its elements include the first of the crop, but also the sacrifices indicating the perfectives of Christ’s sacrifice. (1 John 4:10).

  • Do you believe the Lord Jesus Christ has taken away all your sins?
  • This feast tells us the all can come within His atoning work.
  • It gives us great joy to have the knowledge of His atoning sacrifice for us. It encourages us to praise and adore Him who sent the Son.
  • It demonstrates the extent of the Love of God – what encouragement this is.

4. Weeks 50 days after Passover – Feast of Weeks/Pentecost

The Feast of Weeks represents the Church presented in all the value and excellencies of Christ, because it is by Christ that we are united to Him (are with and in Him), through the freewill work He wrought on the cross, being the mystery revealed, uniting Jews and Gentiles.

  • The first fruits of the Spirit given at Pentecost (Rom 8:23): The Holy Spirit, who is He and what is His Work, in relation to Pentecost.
  • Linked to the firstfruits, using two loaves, made from the first grain.
  • Linked to the sin offering that made it possible for God to accept the leaven (where the leaven was killed by heat).
  • Two loaves speak to us of Jews and Gentiles, united by the Holy Spirit.
  • Pentecost is a type of God’s people gathered by the Holy Spirit
  • Involves oil, leaven and baking.
  • Belongs to the stranger as well Lev 23:22, and involved free will offering.
  • All men had to appear in a place God appointed (Jerusalem) see Deuteronomy 16:16.

Conclusion

To realise our position of being with and in Christ and that we are no more in the fallen Adam nor of the world, but we are in the Second Adam. This must but give us great comfort, and great hope.

5. Trumpets (1st day of Seventh month) (First feast of cycle 2)

  • Occurs after the Autumn rain in the seventh month; where rain always speaks of the Holy Spirit; and that announces the end of the hot dry (spiritless) summer.
  • No work was to be done – it was to be a Sabbath.
  • Occurs after a long hot summer, where the Holy Spirit has been quenched.
  • Trumpets points to future events, when Jehovah shall "be King over all the earth", Zech 149.
  • The events are spoken about in Isaiah 183 – 7, 2713.
  • It spoke to Israel of God’s ability to defend them from their enemy.

Conclusion

The feast points to the mystery of the Church revealed and the fact that the substance of the hope for which we hope for is imminent.

"For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Heb. 10:37 (NKJV)

Jesus parting words were: "Surely I come quickly".

Christians – are waiting for a shout not a trumpet:

1 Thess. 4:16 (NKJV) 16For 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.

What a day of joy and gladness will this be for the church.

6. Atonement (See also Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9 and 10)

Atonement means covering, and was the day the sins of the nation were covered, or atoned and essentially deals with uncleanness (Leviticus 16 verses 16, 19), and was a day of confession. It was (past tense, as Jesus Christ fulfils this feast) the means by which sin, especially sin of the conscious is dealt with. It portrays the futility of man and the perfection of Jesus who obtained eternal redemption (Heb 912) and cleansed our conscience from dead works (Heb 914), having sprinkled blood (Heb1224 etc) once for all.

  • Involved affliction of soul (deny), atonement for sin, and rest from labour.
  • Speaks of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, where Christ glorified His Father: the feast formed the ground of God’s dealing in grace, mercy, patience and forbearance.
  • It speaks of the bitter sorrow Israel will feel when then realise that they did to their Messiah. (Zech 136).
  • The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. Jeremiah 8:20 (KJV).
  • They will mourn the one whom they have pieced (Zech 12:10 – 14).
  • Guilt will be felt and they shall be afflicted.
  • This truly belongs to Israel

Conclusion

Christ fully met the needs of atonement on the cross and in it we see the worthiness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this we are assured that the guilt of sin is entirely dealt with by Christ.

It is the blood of Christ that ensures salvation of the Church. All rests on the blood He shed at the cross. It is the blood which speaks peace to our heart and to our conscience.

The Day of Atonement speaks of "rest" to Israel when they (eventually) mourn Him they pieced.

7. Tabernacles

  • After the long journey in the wilderness, where each pain and pang of hunger was dealt with by the gracious Jehovah, and they now rejoice in Canaan.
  • It remembers the in – gathering of the harvest, a time of rejoicing.
  • Its fulfilment is in the Millennial reign – after the gathering of the corn and wine.
  • All men had to appear in a place God appointed (Jerusalem) see Deuteronomy 16:16.
  • Involved a number of sacrifices including the finest from the harvest

Conclusion

The firstfruits reminds us of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the firstfruits (1 Cor 1520...), who defeated death, and those of His at His coming will be taken to be with Him. (These verses also reminds us that Christ will rule the earth, and His enemies will be dealt with). ARE YOU SAVED? The harvest is at hand. ARE YOU A HARVESTER? Satan rules now, but Christ will come, first for His saints, then a little later to judge and then rule the earth.

The Jewish Calendar 2020 or Year 5780 - Summary of the Seven Feasts and others

Note that for a Jew the dates do not change - for example Chanukkah is the 25th of Kislev (9th month). What does change is the day in relation to the sun, because the Jewish calendar is not in sync with the sun, and hence the date in respect to the Gregorian calendar (which most in the world uses) does change. In this table the date is the date of commencement of the feast/holiday at sunset.

 

Year 5780 (2020)

Description

Verse

Synopsis

Sunset 9 March – nightfall 10 March

Purim

Esther 9

Celebration of the providence of God over his people on the eve of their planned destruction.

Sunset 8 April – nightfall 16 April

Passover (Pesach)

Leviticus 23:4-8
Deut 16:6
Exodus 6:6-7
Exodus 11-12

A people under bondage requiring rescuing:
Egypt
The Lamb
The Blood
The Passover feast


Jesus Christ our Passover lamb

1 Cor 5:7
Heb 4:15
2 Cor 6:16

The antitype: Our Lamb Our priest, Our sacrifice


Unleavened Bread

Deut 16:3
1 Cor 5:7-8

Unleavened bread for 7 days
Feast for the redeemed
Old leaven and new
A type of the life of a believer – communion of saints


First fruits (the wave sheaf)

Lev 23:9-14
Num 18:12
Exodus 23:19

The first fruits of the harvest is the Lords
The land flowing with milk and honey
Type: Christ resurrected


Christ the First Fruits

1 Cor 15:20
1 Cor 15:23

What must we do to be saved ( Acts 16:30)
Hope in Jesus Christ, risen from amongst the dead
The sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice found in the sheaf of first fruits, waved

Sunset 28 May - nightfall 30 May

The feast of Weeks (Shavuot)

Leviticus 23:15-22
Ex 23:16
Num 28:26

The feast of weeks (festival of Revelation)
Two wave loaves
The leaven, but baked
The timing of the feast, a voluntary offering


Pentecost

Acts 2:1
Galatians 3:28
Acts 15:14
Rom 11:25

We are all one in Christ Jesus – there is neither Jew nor Greek…
The Holy Spirit
The mystery of God revealed in the Church
The present interval - Summer

Sunset 18 September – nightfall 20 September

The feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

Lev 23:24-25
Num 29:1
Isaiah 18:3
John 12:24
Acts 15:14
Rom 11:25

The present interval – the day of Grace.
A time of little rain.
Jews return to their land
The time to come – ever present with the Lord


A great sound of a Trumpet

Matt 24:31
1 Cor 15:51-52
1 Thess 4:16

The type - the day of rain, The type – trumpets
The awakening of Israel
The coming of the Lord

Sunset 27 September - nightfall 28 September

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Leviticus 16; 23:26-32
Numbers 29:7

The types in the atonement.
The holiest place
The sacrifices


Christ offered once

Hebrews 9:28
Hebrews 5, 7 & 10

Repentance of Jews
The superiority of Christ over the law
'Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world"

Sunset 2 October - nightfall 9 October

Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Deut 16:13
Lev 23:27
Matt 6:10
Rev 14:14-20

Millennium - a time of joy and rejoicing
The corn, The wine, The wrath of God

Sunset 9 October - nightfall 11 October

} Shemini Atzeret

} Other Jewish, non-sacred feasts e.g.
Rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem

} Simchat Torah

Sunset 10 December - nightfall 18 December

Chanukah

2020 dates from <  http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/jewish/holidays.htm >

Some notes on the characteristics of the Hebrew Calendar

The Jewish calendar is confusing because it initially followed the seasons and phases of the moon. Hence their names were just descriptions of what was happening eg "Abib" meaning sprouting (corn), the first month, "Bul" meaning rain the 8th month. In Exodus 12:2 God demanded that the month of the Passover become the first month of the new year and was called Abib meaning "ear of corn" but after the captivity was called Nisan meaning "beginning" e.g. Nehemiah 2:1. However, a glance at the Jewish calendar shows that new year (Rosh Hashanah) is celebrated in September or October in the month of Tishri. This is because there are two systems – one religious and one civil. This discord probably occurred after the exile. The beginning of each month was determined by the new moon and to account for the uneven number of lunar months in a year certain leap months were added periodically. This added further confusion, due to the complex rules applied to "leap months".

Seven

The number seven is symbolic from the very first chapter of the bible and continues from the creation through to the judgements of God found in Revelation. Essentially it means completeness. Seven dominates our lives and dominated the lives of the Hebrews not only in their week, but also the Feasts that broke up the seasons. We see the Sabbath as being the seventh of the week, Pentecost is seven weeks after the beginning of the ceremonial year. The seventh month is the most sacred month celebrated by the Feast of Trumpets followed by the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. Every seventh year is a Sabbath year, and the year of Jubilee year was seven lots of seven years (which apparently was never celebrated – see Daniel).

Cycles

The year was divided into two cycles, defined by the Feasts: Passover to Pentecost, Pentecost to The Tabernacles, with three annual visits to the temple (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles). They needed to be present to offer a sacrifice and without being present the sacrifice could not be offered. However, since it was impossible for everybody to attend (except perhaps in the wilderness where the encampment was around the tabernacle) 24 "courses" of men were set – up who represented Israel (1 Chronicles 23 etc).

Lunar years

The Hebrew calendar worked in lunar months, which if not corrected would have led to the month of Nisan not falling in Spring. Hence leap – months were introduced and from time to time, according to a set of practices, a thirteenth month (Ver – Adar) was inserted after the twelfth month and before the first. The practice ensured a Sabbatical year was never a leap year.

New Moons

The phenomena from which the days were counted was the appearance of the new moon. This allowed for the creation of a system to observe and declare the presence of a new moon, along with a communication system to ensure all, especially those in Jerusalem, learnt of it.

Endnotes

[1] Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; Psalm 73:12 (NKJV)

[2] There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. Hebrews 4:9 (NKJV)

 

David L Simon (CCC 2009) Edited Jan 2012, edited Jan 2014 (dates of Jewish year)
\SevenFeasts\The seven feasts of Jehovah – A short synopsis