SHORT EXPLANATION OF THE SEVEN FEASTS GOD GAVE TO ISRAEL
By Linda Ebel
Please always test what you read and study with our wonderful Word of the Lord, His Bible. We are to be Bereans: “These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:11
What I have written here is for you to study and research for yourself to see if these things are true!
Maranatha! The Lord come quickly!
In the Old Testament, the Festivals, which are also called God’s Appointed Times or Feasts, and also the Sabbaths and New Moons, are all types and prophecies of things to come in the future when they were given … and all pertain to Jesus the Messiah.
The context of Colossians 2:16-17, which I will not explain here, gives us an important clue about the feasts and their purpose:
“So, let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival(which means “appointed times”) or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are ashadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
The first four feasts have been literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ at His first Coming on the exact days of the Feasts, so we can know for sure that the last three fall feasts will also be literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ on those days at His Second Return.
What I have written below about the fall feasts is speculation on what events could possibly fall on those feast days in the future at His Coming.
THE SEVEN FEASTS/FESTIVALS: Three in Spring, one in Summer and three in the Fall
1. PASSOVER or PESACH: Spring for One Day – Jesus’ DEATH as the Perfect Lamb of God sacrificed for us
Passover points to Jesus as the perfect Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood was shed for us. When the children of Israel (the Hebrews) had been in servitude in Egypt for over 300 years, God used Moses to bring them out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land of Israel. After asking Pharaoh to let the people leave, and after many miraculous plagues on the land to convince him, Pharaoh refused.
So, God used a final plague. The night before the people were finally free to leave Egypt, they were instructed to kill a perfect lamb to prepare for dinner for each family or groups of smaller families, and its blood was placed over the doorposts to protect the Hebrews’ first born. God (using an angel) passed through Egypt taking the lives of every first born of people and animals who did not have blood on their lintel and doorposts. This was the final plague before Pharaoh finally released them from Egypt to leave.
With the instruction to apply the Passover lamb’s blood to their doorposts and lintels, God instituted a commemorative Passover meal to always remember His deliverance: fire-roasted lamb (Jesus), bitter herbs (His bitter suffering and death), and unleavened bread (He was sinless).The Lord told the Israelites to “observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever,” even when in a foreign land. Exodus 12:24 Jesus’ name means “deliverer.”
The Jewish Passover meal has been celebrated over thousands of years. The meal contains three pieces of unleavened bread, representing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The middle piece of bread (Jesus the Son) was a piece of matzah, (unleavened bread), wrapped in a cloth, broken in two, before the Passover meal, and hidden. The children had to look for it.
At the end of the meal it is brought back to the table and distributed to the participants and eaten as the final food. Jesus left the earth when the leaders of Israel broke Him (crucified Him) and rejected Him but when He returns at the Final Day all Israel will believe in Him.
This flatbread is our communion bread in the Church, as we take the symbol of the Body of Christ into our life to live for Him. The Matzah bread was striped like the bruises on Jesus’ back and pierced through with holes – like the nails that pierced his hands and feet and sword that pierced His side. Our communion wine represents Christ’s blood shed for us and was one of the cups of wine in the Passover meal also.
2. THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD: Seven days in the Spring – Jesus, the SINLESS SACRIFICE for us the week following Passover
This feast followed immediately after Passover and describes how the Jews leaving Egypt did not have time to let their bread rise with yeast, or leaven, since they were in such a hurry, so they baked flat bread without yeast. Leaven, or yeast, is symbolic of sin throughout the Bible, so bread without yeast is descriptive of no sin. Jesus was without sin and therefore He was a blameless, spotless, perfect sacrifice for our sins. During this feast all Israel was to clean their home of any leaven for seven days.
Jesus left on the Day of His Ascension to Heaven where He is now hidden away from being on the earth and sits by His Father’s side until He returns at the end of the Tribulation when the Jews recognize Him as Messiah and mourn that they did not accept Him at His first coming. (More about this on The Day of Atonement which is also called Yom Kippur in the fall.) Matthew 26:29 ESV, “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that Day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
3. FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS: Spring – Jesus’ RESURRECTION three Days after Passover and during Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of First Fruits was the first harvest celebration of the year when the Israelites were to offer the first fruits of the late spring wheat harvest. It was just three days after Passover (when Jesus died). This was the day that Jesus was RESURRECTED from the dead, the first to be resurrected, never to die again. (Those who had been resurrected before always died again.) Therefore, Jesus became the “first fruits” of this resurrection that all of us will experience who believe in Him! He defeated death and offered us new life. Paul refers to Jesus as the “first fruits” of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:20.
4. FEAST OF WEEKS, SHAVUOT or PENTECOST: Summer – 50 Days after Resurrection (50 Days after Feast of First Fruits) – the Holy Spirit came into the Disciples on this day, therefore, that day is the BIRTH OF THE CHURCH
This feast involved several sacrifices tied to the theme of the harvest that was offered during the Weeks Festival. It was at Pentecost (Acts 2) that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the 120 believers in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus is considered to be the birth of the church. Peter preached later that day, and about 3,000 Jews accepted Jesus as their Savior, and they became the first souls harvested or the first fruits of the New Testament church. Pentecost is the beginning of the Church Age which has lasted nearly 2000 years, while the Feast of Trumpets will be the end of the church age. Jesus completed these first four feasts 2000 years ago and now He will complete the three future feasts to come. If the first four feasts had a literal fulfillment then we can count of the next three also having a literal fulfillment.
5. FEAST OF TRUMPETS or ROSH HASHANAH: Fall – Possibly the future RAPTURE of the Church when the Restrainer of evil will be removed. (The Restrainer being the indwelling Holy Spirit who has been in all disciples in the Church, restraining evil in the world)
This is the first fall feast which lasts two days and is the first day of the civil new year. It was not known which of the two days or which hour the new moon would appear so a certain group of Jews would look for the new moon and announce the first day of the year when they saw it. Also, each year these days fall on different days of the calendar. Of course, we need to be ready at any time for the Rapture, keeping occupied with the work of the Lord until He comes for us!
The blast of a trumpet announced the feast and the start of the new year. The trumpet reminded the Jewish people of their past, of God’s power, and is a reminder for the Jewish people to remain faithful to God. On the last day there are several trumpet blasts. The last blast of the trumpet (a goat or sheep horn trumpet called a Shofar) could be that famed one when “at that last trump the dead in Christ will rise!” 1 Thess. 4:13-18 & 1 Cor. 15:52. So, this is why this feast MAY be associated with the RAPTURE, when the Messiah Jesus appears as He returns for the Church (also 1 Corinthians 15:52).
Some people say it could be the last trumpet of the trumpet judgments in Revelation, but the book of Revelation was not even written during Paul’s writings of 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians. The Jews would have recognized this to be the last trump on the Feast of Trumpets that they celebrated for centuries. But we do not know for sure. But we know the times and seasons that the Lord’s return for us is close!
After the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), follows the Ten Days of Awe or Ten Days of Repentance, so the people can prepare themselves for God’s judgment and cleansing on Yom Kippur. People repent of their sins, so they come into right standing with God during this time. These Days of Awe leading up to Yom Kippur may coincide with the Tribulation period after the Rapture. The Jews will come to see that Jesus is the Messiah at the end of this period and repent and turn to Him.
6. THE DAY OF ATONEMENT or YOM KIPPUR: Fall – CHRIST’S 2ND COMING
This middle feast in the Fall occurs after the Feast of Trumpets. It was the one day of the year that the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies to offer the blood of sacrifice on the mercy seat for his sins and for all the sins of the Jewish people for the whole year. It is a day of repentance to ask God for forgiveness and to make amends.
In the future, it will be a day of God’s final judgment of all non-believers. Yom Kippur points to Jesus’ Second Coming.
When the Jewish remnant sees Jesus, they recognize Him as their Messiah, then atonement is obtained: Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1–6, 25–36 refers to their recognition with these words. Zechariah 12:10 ESV, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Romans 11:25-27 ESV, “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Gentiles are those of us who are not Jews)And in this way ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;’ “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” So, when the last Gentile comes to faith in Christ during the Tribulation, the Jews will all turn to Messiah as Savior and He will return from being “hidden away!”
7. THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES or BOOTHS: Last Fall Feast – MILLENNIUM
This is the seventh and final festival. The Jews were to build tents (booths/tabernacles) in their yards and dwell in them during this several day Feast to always remember and commemorate the 40 years the Israelites lived in tents in the desert before entering the Promised Land of Israel.
It foreshadows when Jesus will once again dwell with His people by tenting among us (Micah 4:1-7). Jesus has already come as Immanuel, God with us, and stayed on earth among people. However, at His Second Coming, He will reign for 1,000 years on earth (The Millennium) and ultimately, after that, live with His people for all eternity in the new heavens and the new earth.
SUMMARY:The death and resurrection of sinless Jesus and His giving of the Holy Spirit on the birthday of the Church fulfilled the first of the four feasts exactly to the day. It seems logical that the last day of the Church would be next on the prophetic calendar of the Feasts, followed by the Tribulation leading to His Second Coming, and then His dwelling with us during the Age of the Millennium. His return would then complete the Feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. We will see how it plays out!