Understanding Biblical Holidays The Feasts of the Lord
These days were given by the Lord and designed to be a prophetic calendar for his kids. They are not Jewish holidays. However, it turns out that by and large the Jewish people are the only ones keeping them. "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD'S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations-- My appointed times are these.” – Leviticus 23:2
The Jewish holidays are NOT only historic… but prophetic and very definitely point to Israel’s Messiah. "These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them." Leviticus 23:4
What is the "Prophetic" significance of these Feasts? Jewish people did not seem to realize that all of the feasts were also symbolic types. In other words, they were "prophetic in nature," each one pointing in a unique way to some aspect of the life and work of the promised Messiah:
1) Passover … pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins. Yeshua (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.
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread… pointed to the Messiah's sinless life, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Yeshua’ - Jesus' body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
3) First Fruits… pointed to the Messiah's resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Yeshua (Jesus) was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the "first fruits from the dead."
4) Harvest - Shavuot or Pentecost… pointed to the great harvest of souls, both Jew and Gentile that would come into the kingdom of God during the Church Age. The Church was actually established on this day when the Messiah poured out the Holy Spirit and 3,000 souls responded to Peter's first proclamation of the Gospel.
The long interval of three months between Harvest and Trumpets pointed to the current Church Age, a period of time that was kept as a mystery to the Hebrew prophets in Old Testament times. That leaves us with the last three (fall) Feasts which are yet to be fulfilled in the life and work of the Messiah… Because Yeshua (Jesus) literally fulfilled the first four feasts and did so on the actual feast days, I think it is safe to assume that the last three will also be fulfilled and that their fulfillment will occur on the actual feast days. We cannot be certain how they will be fulfilled, but I would guess that they most likely have the following prophetic implications:
5) Rosh HaShanah / Trumpets —The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with… the blowing of a loud trumpet! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:52)
6) Yom Kippur / Atonement… (The Holiest Day of the Year – It is the FACE to FACE day with God) It points to the day of the Second Coming of the Messiah when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they "look upon Him whom they have pierced," repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:1-6; 25-36) “Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you;” – Leviticus 25:8-11
7) Sukkoth / Tabernacles - This points to the Lord's promise that He will once again tabernacle with His people when He returns to reign over all the world from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1-7)
It is important to take note that of the Seven Feasts of the Lord, there are 3 MAJOR "HARVEST FEASTS" where God has promised blessing" and they are:
1. "Passover" or "Feast of Unleavened Bread."
2. "Shavuot / Feast of Weeks" – which is also called "Pentecost," a Greek translation of the Hebrew words meaning, the "fiftieth day" when the Festival was celebrated. (Leviticus 23:15,
3. The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Trumpets "Rosh Hashanah" …or New Years Day for the Jewish Calendar: The current Biblical Year is 5777 (2016-2017) The next Jewish calendar year begins at sunset on the 21st- 22nd September.
Scriptural references: Leviticus 23: 23 – 25; Numbers 10: 9 – 10, 29:1 and Nehemiah 8: 1 –12
The Feast of Trumpets is Israel's 'dark day.' It ocurrs at New Moon when the primary night light of the heavens is darkened. Israel's prophets repeatedly warned of a "coming dark day of judgement" - known as "The Day of the Lord!" (Zephaniah 1:14-16; Amos 5:18-20)
But, even as the darkening of the moon in the night heavens announced "The Feast of Trumpets" so too will the heavens be divinely darkened in the future in the coming "Day of the
Lord" (Joel 2:31 and 3:15; Isaiah 13:9-10; 34:4,8; Acts 2:10).
The apostle Paul also described this cosmic disturbance and darkness, which will announce the "Day of the Lord! (Revelation 6:12-17)
The Bible says less about the Feast of Trumpets than any of the other feasts – it was simply to be a holy day celebrated with trumpet blasts, on the first day of Tishri the 7th Month (Sept. / Oct.). The blowing of the trumpet was associated with the calling of the solemn assembly; a warning of danger and action to be taken (such as gathering of the troops to war or the arrival of a king). Over the centuries this feast, because it was the first in the series of three fall festivals is considered to be the holiest time of the year. It was traditionally to be called "Rosh Hashanah" (literally head of the year), or New Years day. This may be connected to the events described in Nehemiah 8: 1–12 called "holy" in verses 10 and 11. While this event is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament, at least two extremely important prophetic events are described there with the beginning of the trumpet blast – the "re-gathering" or "rapture" of the church; (1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 18) and the return of the Lord (Matthew 24:31).
The Biblical New year for Israel is the first day of the first month, called Nissan in the Jewish calendar (called Nissan in Esther 3:7, and Abib in Exodus 13:4; 34:180).
The Rabbi’s of the time of the early century believed that the Lord God created the world in the month of Tishri. The blowing of Trumpets was a memorial of God’s grace to Abraham when He substituted a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son Isaac (Gen. 22). Therefore the Jewish people today blow a ram’s horn on Rosh HaShanah. This feast was not only to be observed as a memorial, but like all the seven Feasts of Jehovah, it is a prophecy … It points to the present re-gathering of Israel. From Numbers 10:1-10 we learn that the blowing of the trumpet was for the calling and gathering of people (Isaiah 43:5-6; Ezekiel 36:24).
Almost seven and half million have been gathered from over eighty countries and are now in the land of Israel. It almost seems that we should hear God’s trumpet blasts! The blowing of trumpets also points to return of the Messiah; so, like all these Feasts of the Lord, this one points to Him, Yeshua the Messiah. The present re-gathering and the establishment of the State of Israel are strong evidences that His coming is close at hand. At His coming in the air for His redeemed ones, the "trumpet of God" will sound forth (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:51 - 52). It is time to prepare our hearts to listen for the trumpet call and shout!"
The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated today with several blasts of the "Shofar" (trumpet made of ram’s horn). It is a very solemn time, just proceeding the holiest day of all – the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). On Yom Kippur God’s atonement (forgiveness) is sought and His judgement is feared.
The 10 days of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are called the "days of awe"… when one considers his/her sins before God and enters into a period of repentance; of asking for forgiveness from God and those one has harmed; and of restitution. All over the world, wherever possible, Jewish people will go to their Synagogue, recite long prayers, confess their sins of omission and sins of commission (Ne Al Chet), and pray God; "that He should inscribe them for the coming year." Our very best wishes are extended to them and it is our prayer that in the province of God, they will have a blessed year. God grant that all our Jewish friends will have less tears and fears than in past tragic years.
So to all our Jewish friends we say; "Rosh HaShanah, Good Sabbath to you!" No one can predict what will happen in the Middle East in the immediate future and how it will affect Israel, but we know the God who holds the future for His Covenant people. So again, we pray the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He should inscribe them for the coming year, the traditional Jewish greeting; L’Shana Tovah Tikoseivu! While there is no special celebration of this feast in the Church a time of repentance, asking for forgiveness and of restitution certainly would not be out of place, especially as we await the last trump and the coming of the King of Kings. Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement begins at sunset 29th- 30th September, 2017
Scriptural references: Leviticus 16: 29 – 34, 23: 26 – 32; Hebrews 9: 11 – 14, 22: 24, 10: 1 – 25.
Yom Kippur is the most solemn and important day in the Biblical calendar. Only once each year was any Israelite permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle or Temple and to approach the Lord where His Spirit resided above the mercy seat. The High Priest on the Day of Atonement went through a complex set of sacrifices to atone for his own sins and the sins of all the people. A goat was then led out to die outside the walls of the city – symbolically taking the sins of the people with it. The High Priest would wear a white robe and would dip it in the blood. He was then able to enter the Holy of Holies, sprinkling blood on the Ark of the Covenant. It was by no means certain that he would leave alive! If the blood purified him he would come out on the other side. A rope was tied around his legs so he could be pulled out if he should die. If he lived, he would go outside, lift his hands up and pronounce the Aaronic blessing on the people. In the book of Revelation speaking of the end times it says, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. – Revelation 9:11-16
In ancient days, the blood of bulls and goats could not provide true and permanent forgiveness of sins and so God’s Son came to provide the ultimate sacrifice Himself. He was sentenced to death in the temple by the High Priest who said, prophetically, that it was good that one man should die for the nation. He was led outside the walls to bear the sins of the people – all the people of the world. When the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, and again by the Romans, there was no longer a Holy of Holies, a High Priest or a sacrificial system. The Jewish people had to find another means of atonement. Their solution was prayer and good deeds. Today, the Day of Atonement is spent in the Synagogue, in repentance, fasting and prayer asking to be written in the Book of Life for one more year. In traditional Judaism, the day of Yom Kippur marks the climax of the ten day period of repentance called the “Days of Awe” whereby they can repent before sealing their fate.
Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles
Scripture: Lev. 23: 33 – 44; Deut.16: 13 – 15; Zech. 14: 16 – 19; John 7: 2 – 52
"Last Great Day" is the ’8th day’ of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles was the last of the seven Biblically mandated celebrations and also the most joyful; in fact it was the only one in which the Israelites were commanded by God to rejoice! (Deuteronomy. 16: 14) starting five days after the Day of Atonement on the fifteenth of Tishri (Sept. / Oct.) and extended for seven days… the first and last days being those of "solemn rest". Tabernacles are also known as the "Feast of Ingathering" (Exodus 23:16; 34:22)… and the "Feast of Booths."
On the first day of the feast, each participant had to collect branches of wild olive, myrtle, willow, and palm trees to construction their booths. (Nehemiah 8:13-18) They then lived in them for seven days. It celebrated the final harvest of the year, and God’s great provision for His people. During this feast, the Israelites were required to leave the comfort of their homes and live in tabernacles or booths – three-sided temporary structures with leafy roofs through which the stars could be seen. In this way they would remember how their ancestors had lived in booths or tents when they came out of slavery in Egypt. The two most important ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles was the pouring out of water drawn from the pool of Siloam, and the illumination of the Temple. They were both of post-Mosaic origin and referred back to the "water and the pillar of light" provided during the wilderness wandering, when people dwelt in temporary shelters.
The Feast of Tabernacles looks forward to the Kingdom of the Messiah. Revelation 7:9- 17 describes a great multitude, which have come through the tribulation, as arrayed in white robes with palms in their hands. In New Testament times Sukkoth was a major celebration, often referred to simply as "the feast." It incorporated great ceremonies using water and light. Yeshua (Jesus) made His proclamation in the temple during Sukkoth: "In the last day, of that great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirsts, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,’" John 7: 37 – 38. He was challenging the system in a very relevant and pointed way.
ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH… While Israel is given signs to observe relating to God's plan for His elect nation, the church is told to watch and eagerly await the any-moment rapture. Signs for Israel… Paul notes that "Jews ask for signs" (1 Corinthians 1:22). Why? We believe it is because God has historically related "signs and seasons" to His earthly plan for Israel.
Zechariah says that, in the Millennium, all nations will come up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, or incur God’s wrath, Zechariah 14: 16 – 19. The ultimate fulfillment of this feast will come after the return of the Lord, when God will once again dwell or "tabernacle," with His people.