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)
|Early rain||The long hot Summer||Late rain|
|Passover (14) |
Unleavened Bread (15-21)*
|Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (6)*||Trumpets (Jewish New Year) (1) |
Day of Atonement (10)
|*All men had to attend in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16, Ex 23:14) |
† Some alternative names/spellings for the months of the Hebrew calendar
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), but look forward to the day when we will be physically at rest, in the presence of God .
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.
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)
|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.|
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)
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.
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.
My people have been lost sheep Jer 50:6
"Wretched, miserable, poor , blind, naked" Rev 3:17
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20 (NKJV)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Sunset 9 March – nightfall 10 March
Celebration of the providence of God over his people on the eve of their planned destruction.
Sunset 8 April – nightfall 16 April
A people under bondage requiring rescuing:
| || |
Jesus Christ our Passover lamb
1 Cor 5:7
The antitype: Our Lamb Our priest, Our sacrifice
| || |
Unleavened bread for 7 days
| || |
First fruits (the wave sheaf)
The first fruits of the harvest is the Lords
| || |
Christ the First Fruits
1 Cor 15:20
What must we do to be saved ( Acts 16:30)
Sunset 28 May - nightfall 30 May
The feast of Weeks (Shavuot)
The feast of weeks (festival of Revelation)
| || |
We are all one in Christ Jesus – there is neither Jew nor Greek…
Sunset 18 September – nightfall 20 September
The feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)
The present interval – the day of Grace.
| || |
A great sound of a Trumpet
The type - the day of rain, The type – trumpets
Sunset 27 September - nightfall 28 September
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Leviticus 16; 23:26-32
The types in the atonement.
| || |
Christ offered once
Repentance of Jews
Sunset 2 October - nightfall 9 October
Millennium - a time of joy and rejoicing
Sunset 9 October - nightfall 11 October
} Shemini Atzeret
} Other Jewish, non-sacred feasts e.g.
} Simchat Torah
Sunset 10 December - nightfall 18 December
2020 dates from < http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/jewish/holidays.htm >
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".
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).
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).
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.
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.