THE SPRING FEASTS OF THE LORD
April 7th 2012 is the first of the Jewish Spring Feasts, and it’s called Passover. April 8th is the second spring feast and it’s called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The third is the Feast of First Fruits and it falls on April 10th.
In total, Israel has seven feasts that are all found in the book of Leviticus chapter 23. The feasts of the Lord are typically prophetic of future events.
• The Passover pointed to the sacrifice of Christ (vv.4&5).
• The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents the holiness of communion with Christ as represented by the absence of leaven (vv.6-8).
• The Feast of First Fruits anticipates Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits from the dead (vv. 9-14).
Christ fulfilled the four feasts in the spring cycle at the exact time they were designated for celebration on Israel’s annual calendar. This provides clear support for saying that the career of Christ, revolving around His two comings to earth, fulfills the seven annual feasts of Israel. Since His coming satisfied the spring cycle, it appears certain that events related to His second coming will complete the three Fall feasts. They will be fulfilled in relation to God’s plan for Israel and not in relation to God’s plan for the Church, since the feasts are related to Israel alone. The ultimate fulfillment of Israel’s feasts relates to salvation for all mankind, but the precise prophetic significance relates to national Israel.
THE PASSOVER in 2012 falls on April 7th. In 2013, it will be March 26th.
The Passover for Followers of Christ is an Old Testament picture of the New Testament teaching that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb that takes away the sin of the World.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 NKJV)!
The crucifixion was a kind of repeat performance. God has already shown that a sacrificed lamb (“without blemish, a male…” Exodus 12:5) was sufficient for the redemption of an entire people back in Egypt.
The cup of the Lord’s Supper is the third cup of the Passover Seder, the cup of redemption a reminder that Jesus Christ bought us out of the market place of sin and has set us free to be “slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17&18 ESV).
“17But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”
The FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD falls on April 8th in 2012, and will be March 27th in 2013.
Yeast was a picture of sin and by eating the matzah (bread made only of flour and water with no yeast), it represents how we, as Christ-Followers, should turn from our sins in repentance and obey the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Interestingly, matzah bread is striped and pierced during baking!
“But He [was] wounded (pierced) for our transgressions, [He was] bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”(Isaiah 53:5)
The bottom line truth for us from the Feast of Unleavened Bread is that we ought to get radical about the removal of sin in our lives!
“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV).
THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS is April 9th – Easter Sunday, and in 2013 falls on March 28th.
It’s incredible to know that Jesus rose on the third day of Passover season, the day of firstfruits, called Yon HaBikkurim in Hebrew. In Jewish history God’s people offered the first ripe sheaf (firstfruits) of barley to the LORD as an act of dedicating the harvest to Him.
The Apostle Paul, a Jewish believer and rabbi, wrote,
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. Each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” (1 Corinthians 15:20,22,23,NIV).
Jesus’ Resurrection is the promise of the future resurrection of believers. (John 5:28&29)
This Easter season I encourage you to contemplate these powerful realities with a sense of present holiness and future anticipation.
As we daily yield to Him the resurrection power of Jesus Christ will be released in us!
“10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Have a great Easter and live a life of intentionality!