In Leviticus 23, we read of the seven annual Feasts of the Lord that were given to Moses for the people to follow. These feasts became steeped in Jewish tradition, with recitals of prayers and stories of remembrance. Not only do these feasts tie in with Jewish law and history, but what may not be obvious is that they were also prophetic in explaining the plan of God in sending Jesus, the Messiah. Paul tells us in Colossians 2:16-17 that these feasts were a shadow of things to come. Let’s take a look at the feasts, the season they occurred, the month, their meaning, happenings at the time of Jesus and their significance in prophecy.
The first four feasts have been fulfilled in prophecy. They are considered to be interconnected, beginning with Passover two weeks after the Jewish New Year and Pentecost concluding the Spring feasts. Keep in mind that the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar so the dates jump around in our solar calendar, but basically run from March to May.
|The Lord passed over the houses with lamb blood on the door post and a supper was eaten in preparation for the Exodus.||Thursday. Jesus eats the Seder Meal with His disciples and institutes the Lord’s Supper. Jesus is our passover lamb. “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor 5:7)|
|The Exodus began the next day. The Israelites left Egypt in haste and the bread they brought was baked without leaven. The unleavened bread symbolized the purging out of sins since leaven is seen as sin.||Friday. Jesus is crucified. Through his death, the sins of man are purged. “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven;” (John 6:51)|
Day after Sabbath between Nisan 15-21
|The first fruits of the harvest are brought before God as a sacrifice. The people recognized God as the provider.||Sunday. Jesus was resurrected. This is the first harvest. The latter harvest will come. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Cor 15:20)|
50 days from First Fruits
|The giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. Fruits were plentiful by this time and so it was a time of thanksgiving.||Sunday. Celebration of God providing a way for His people to come to Him. The church was established.|
We are now living between this time of the spring and fall festival prophecies with the establishment of the church. Jesus’ first coming has occurred and each day we draw closer to His second coming and the fulfillment of the fall festival prophecies. He told his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
The fall feasts have not yet been fulfilled. The Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles symbolize the second coming of Christ, judgement day and the eternal dwelling of his people in heaven, respectively.
|Trumpets are blown to remember the grace of God in providing a ram for sacrifice in place of Isaac. Also the beginning of ten days of repentance in preparation for the Day of Atonement.||The second coming of Christ. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thes. 4:16-17) See also (1 Cor 15:51-52) and (2 Thes. 1:7-10)|
|Day of Atonement
|A solemn occasion of fasting. The High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the people. The sins of the national are symbolically placed on a scapegoat and it is set free in the wilderness, taking the sins of the people with it.||Judgement Day. Satan is defeated and cast away. Jesus is our High Priest and comes to atone for our sins. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)|
|Harvest is finished. During this 7 day feast, the people live in temporary structures “Sukkah” made of branches to remember their ancestors who wandered for 40 years in the wilderness.||The harvest is finished! Heaven, the eternal dwelling place of the righteous, has been established and they will abide (tabernacle) with him.|
God’s plan for humanity is clearly seen in the seven feasts he established in Leviticus 23. He was setting forth a prophecy to be fulfilled in due season. The spring feasts prophesied the first coming of Jesus with his death, burial and resurrection. The fall feast prophecies lie ahead at his second coming. Seven days conclude a weekly cycle, and so the seven feasts conclude the work of God on Earth. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39)