The Feasts of the Lord God commanded His people the Jews to keep the Sabbath, the Sabbatical and Jubilee times of rest and restoration.
The weekly Sabbath - ‘Shabbat’ or day of restThe 4th commandment: to rest one day a week , keep it holy and honour God. It was a sign of the covenant between God and His people. (Exodus 31:13,17) It was intended as a gift from God, a day of joy, freedom from work and worldly concerns and a time of spiritual enrichment. There are similarities with communion: sharing wine and bread together with the lighting of candles. ( to be a light in the world)
The Sabbatical and Jubilee – restoration,social justice and good environmental practice. Sabbatical: every seventh year the land was to rest or lie fallow, debts were to be cancelled and slaves freed. The Book of the Law was read to all Israel. Jubilee: every fiftieth year slaves were to be freed, debts cancelled and land and property returned. (Leviticus 25)
Feasts of the Lord: plan of redemption God has revealed His plan of redemption through 7 annual feasts. The Hebrew ‘moadim’ means God’s appointed seasons, special times when He acts.
The Biblical feasts are closely related to the farming seasons. The crushing the grain into fine is a type of Yeshua HaMashiach, who was smitten, crushed, bled and died for the atonement for our sins.
Feasts - given to Moses on Mount Sinai Spring Feasts Month • Passover Pesach Nisan 14 • Un-leaven Bread Chag Hamotzi Nisan 15 -22 • First Fruits Yom HaBikkurim Nisan 16 • Pentecost Shav’uot Sivan 6 Have already been fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus Autumn Feasts Month • Trumpets Yom Teru’ah Tishri 1 • Day of Atonement Yom Yippur Tishri 10 • Tabernacles Succot Tishri 15 –22 Still to be fulfilled
God’s Appointed Seasons - Feasts of Israel: SPRING [adapted into table form from David Hargis ‘Feasts of Israel’ 1999]
Passover- ‘Pesach’ The Passover celebration commemorates the time when the Jewish people were delivered from slavery in Egypt. They put blood on the lintels of their doors and as the angel of death passed over, their first born escaped the fate of the Egyptians.
Passover (Leviticus 23:5) Points to the Messiah as our Passover lamb, whose blood would be shed for our sins. (1 Corinthians 5:7) Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.
The Passover LambThe paschal lamb had the name of the owner hung on a sign around its neck. Pilate had a sign put on the cross. The writing was‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.’ The Hebrew letters for this were the Tetragrammaton, ‘YHWH,’ showing Jesus was God Himself! This is why the priests asked Pilate to change it, but Pilate refused. (John 19:19-22)
The traditional Passover meal The story is told (Haggadah) with questions from the children. 4 cups of wine are taken during the family meal, symbolising: deliverance from slavery in Egypt redemption by the blood (of Jesus) being a chosen people having a land of their own.
The Sedar Meal: symbolism Salt water – tears of sorrow and pain during slavery Green vegetables – life in the wilderness e.g. parsley or lettuce Bitter herbs - suffering as slaves e.g. horse radish Charoset (sweet) – freedom from bondage e.g. fruit, nuts spices Shank bone of lamb – reminder of the paschal lamb slain. (Jesus) Roast egg – new life
The Passover- Matzah symbolism The matzah is broken into 3 pieces which are placed in a Matzah tash -aspecial cloth holder with three sections, one for each piece of matza . This symbolisesthe unity of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The leader takes the middle sheet of matzah and lifts it for everyone to see and breaks it in two. This symbolizes Christ’s body broken on the cross. Afikoman - a piece of matza wrapped in a linen cloth and hidden somewhere in the house for the children to find. This symbolises Christ’ body laid in the tomb. (Matt. 27:59-60).
Unleaven BreadBread without yeast was eaten as the Israelites were in a hurry to leave Egypt. They were told to remove yeast (leaven), a sign of sin from their houses. The lines and holes in the Matzah remind us of the stripes on Jesus’ back and his pierced hands and feet, through which we are healed.
First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) - points to the Messiah's resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in as the "first fruits from the dead.“ (I Corinthians 15:20)
Jesus and the Sign of JonahOn the third day He rose again! Jesus was crucified and buried on the day of Preparation for the Feast of Un-leaven Bread. He arose before dawn on the Sunday, as the ‘Firstfruit’, the first day of the week and appeared to the women.
The Unique Events of Good Friday There was an earthquake and sun was darkened for 3 hours from 12 noon to 3 pm as Jesus died on the cross. A blood red moon appeared after sunset to fulfil the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32, foreshadowing end time events. From historical and astronomical evidence it is likely that this was Friday 1st April 33 AD when there was lunar eclipse visible from Jerusalem. Ref: Walker D. (2009) Daniel’s Seventy Weeks www.oxfordbiblechurch.co.uk
‘Weeks’ ‘Shavuot’An ox with horns overlaid with gold was led before with singing and music of flutes. ( Psalm 122: 1-2 ) ( Deuteronomy 26 ) A wave offering of 7 species: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates is made with twin loaves of wheat, fruit in a basket, 2 sheep and a wine libation.
Weeks ‘Shavuot’ Pentecost 2 loaves of fine flour represent the refined life. Leaven shows we are still imperfect. 2 tablets are a reminder of the 2 houses Israel and Judah divided by sin but united through the Holy Spirit or of the Jews and Gentiles. The paschal lamb had the name of the owner hung on a sign around its neck.
Weeks ‘Shavuot’ Pentecost After the temple was destroyed it was difficult for the Jews to keep the Torah, so the Rabbis brought a change of focus to the feast from an agricultural one to Moses receiving the Law. (Ten Commandments)
Weeks or Pentecost ( Leviticus 23:16, Acts 2).Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Church was established on this day when the Holy Spirit was poured out and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter's great sermon and the first proclamation of the Gospel . Points to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age
First Fruits to Weeks‘Chag Ha Bikkurim’ to ‘Chag Hashavout’ Celebrates the barley harvest and then the wheat harvest by bringing a wave offering to the Temple. Barley is a course grain fed to animals and represents the flesh. Wheat is fine and represents a refined spiritual nature.
First Fruits to‘Chag HaBikkurim’ to ‘Chag Hashavout’ The new covenant and new heart of flesh instead of stone. (Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Ezekiel 36:26-27) The Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh. (Joel 2:28-29)
God’s Appointed Seasons - Feasts of Israel- AUTUMN [adapted into table form from David Hargis’ Feasts of Israel’1999]
It points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet .(I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:52). Feast of Trumpets(Leviticus 23:24) This is also Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
‘Yom Kippur’ - Day of Atonement Picture with permission of the Temple Institute, Jerusalem The High Priest sacrifices a bullock as a sacrifice for his own sins and a goat for the iniquities of the nation of Israel. Another goat, the scapegoat, carries sins into the wilderness.
Day of Atonement ‘Yom Yippur’ (Leviticus 23:27)- a time of deep repentance Picture with permission of the Temple Institute, Jerusalem Prophetically points to the Second Coming of Jesus. The Jewish remnant will "look upon Him whom they have pierced," repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36). It also points to the Great White Throne Judgement.
Tabernacles ‘Succot’ Ingathering This is the celebration of God’s protection and provision during the wanderings in the desert, when the Israelites lived in booths. 4 species are gathered: willow, palm, citron and myrtle. These are shaken in 4 directions for protection from bad weather or symbolising the harvest from the 4 corners of the earth.
Booths or ‘Succas’ are temporary shelters where people celebrate the feast. These are a reminder to look to God for your provision.
‘ Succah’ The Tabernacle Solomon’s Templerepresent God’s temporary dwelling permanent dwellingwith His people Christ’s 1st Coming in the Flesh Christ’s 2nd Coming in Glory Millennial Reign
Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord's promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).
Tabernacles ‘Succot’ Water is drawn from the spring at Siloam and poured out as a water libation with a wine libation on the altar daily, as ‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ is sung. (Isaiah 12:3). ‘On the last day of the feast Jesus said: “if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.. He who believes in me..out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” ’ (John 7:37b - 38) Prophetically this points to the latter rains of the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh. (Joel 2:28)
The Church Age – between the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets The gospel is being taken to all the nations. The church celebrates communion in remembrance of Jesus until He comes again.
The Feasts and Events in the Life of Jesus The significant events in the Life of Jesus were at the Feasts as a sign from God. birth baptism death resurrection coming of the Holy Spirit 2 BC 30 AD 33 AD 33 AD 33 AD Trumpets Tabernacles Passover First fruits Pentecost www.oxfordbiblechurch.co.ukBible Chronology
Events in Jesus’ Life at the Feasts – as a Sign Birth Oct 12th 2 BC Tabernacles Baptism Oct 12th 30 AD Tabernacles Death (crucifixion) April 1st 33 AD Passover Resurrection Firstfruits Outpouring of the Holy Spirit Shavuot (Pentecost) These dates are calculated from other references in the Bible and astronomical data. Jesus’ death was 3.5 years after his birth www.oxfordbiblechurch.co.uk
Jesus’ Birth at Trumpets Accompanied by signs in the heavens: at sunset 6pm, on the 27th September 2 BC (Gregorian), a rare astronomical alignment described in Revelation 12: 1-5 “Now a great SIGN appeared in heaven (the stars): a woman (VIRGO) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of 12 stars. v2 Then being with child, she cried out in labour and in pain about to give birth...v5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron (the Messiah).” See www.stellarium.org
The Sign of Virgo (Revelation 12:1-5) The sun (SON) was inside the constellation of Virgo The moon was at her feet. A crown of 12 stars surround her head.
Jesus’ Baptism on His 30th Birthday in October AD 29. “It came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased. Now literally this says: “Now Jesus began to be about 30 years old” (Luke 3:21-23). Jesus Himself began His ministry at about 30 years of age (the age when a priest could start ministering was 30).
The Death of Jesus on the Cross at Passover 33AD ‘Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.’ (1 Corinthians 5:7)
The Resurrection at Firstfruits 33 AD ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.’ ‘But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.’ (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23)
THE NATIONAL JEWISH FEASTS In addition to the 7 Biblical Feasts which the Jewish people are commanded to keep in Leviticus 23, Jews celebrate a further 2 national holidays which commemorate miraculous events in Jewish history when God intervened to save his people: PURIM & HANNUKAH.
The Jewish festival of Purim 4/15th Adar (Feb/March) Celebrates the time when the Jewish people were saved from annihilation in Persia by the intercession of Queen Esther. People dress up and re-enact the story, hissing, shouting and waving rattles at the evil Haman, who tried to kill the Jews.
Purim means ‘lots’. It refers to the lots cast by Haman to decide on which day he should massacre the Jews. Children play a game with a ‘dreidel’ or spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, an acronym for ‘a great miracle happened there.’’
PURIM Purim is celebrated with pageantry, puppet plays for the children and giving of presents and sweets. A special cake called a ‘Hamantaschen’ is eaten.
The Jewish Feast of Chanukah or ‘Festival of Dedication’ or ‘Lights’ 25th Kislev-2/3 Tevet (Nov/Dec) Celebrates the cleansing of the Temple after it was desecrated by the Syrian Anthiochus Epiphanes in 170 BC. by sacrificing a pig on the altar. Judas Maccabeus took back the temple in 164 BC.
CHANUKAK –Jewish festival of Lights Celebrates the miracle when the menorah light went on burning in the Temple for 8 days: when their was no holy oil left: hence the 8 branches on the candlestick.