Overview of the Feasts

As mentioned in our previous outline, the feasts point to the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death. The feasts are divided into two sections; these are (1) The Spring Feasts, and (2) The Autumn Feasts. It is impossible to understand the true significance of the feasts if we leave Him out of the picture.

Holy Convocation
“The feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations” (Leviticus 23:2). The Hebrew word for convocation (miqra) means “a rehearsal”, and implies a getting ready or practicing for some future event. This can only be symbolic acts that speak of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. In these “rehearsals” God was teaching the Jews something of what the Messiah would accomplish.

Festivals and Ceremonies
The feasts as ceremonies were observed in both the Temple at Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16) and in the home. This reveals that there must not be any separation between our spiritual and secular lives. The feasts were also twofold in nature since they looked both forward and backward.

We noted in our first study that the word “feast” (Hebrew ‘Mo’ed) has the meaning of an appointment in a specific place, which was for the Jews, Jerusalem. They were to pilgrimage to the Temple three times every year. On each occasion a redemptive act was carried out. All seven festivals teach us important truths, while each individual feast majors on a central theme in the redemptive plan of God.

The Spring Festivals
There are four Spring feasts, these are:

(1) Passover: This was celebrated in the first month and the fourteenth day of the religious calendar, Aviv, also called Nisan (Leviticus 23:5).

(2) Unleavened Bread: This feast immediately followed Passover on the fifteenth day of the month, and celebrated for seven days (Leviticus 23:6-8).

(3) First Fruits: This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread. It always began a day after the weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 23:9-11). This festival is not observed in traditional Judaism.

(4) The Feast of Weeks: We know this by the name Pentecost. It always took place fifty days after the start of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:15-21). The word ‘Pentecost’ is derived from the Greek and literally means ‘fiftieth.’

These four Spring festivals should be seen as a single interrelated unit. The Passover season is not considered to be over until Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) is celebrated.

The Autumn Festivals
These feasts begin a forty day period called ‘Teshuvah’ in Hebrew, which means ‘return and repent.’ It began in the sixth month and ended on the tenth day of the seventh month (The Day of Atonement). 

(1) The Feast of Trumpets: On the thirtieth day of this period is the Feast of Trumpets or ‘the day of the awakening trumpet blast’ (Leviticus 23:23-24). This means that there was a whole month of preparation while they waited for the trumpet blast that announced the final feasts. This feast speaks of the resurrection of the dead and the rapture.

(2) The Day of Atonement: Observed on the tenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:26-32). This symbolises the literal Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as He stands on Mt. Olivet (Zechariah 14:4).

(3) The Feast of Tabernacles: Celebrated from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:33-34). This festival teaches us about the coming Messianic Kingdom. 

The Feasts in their Historical, Messianic, and Spiritual Settings

The Feasts

Historical Setting

Messianic Setting

Spiritual Setting

1.

Passover
(Pesach)

Deliverance from Egypt

Christ’s death on the cross

Repentance and faith toward Christ (His redemptive Blood).

2.

Unleavened Bread
(Hag HaMatzah)

The Exodus

Christ’s burial

Water baptism / separation and sanctification

3.

First Fruits
(Bikkurim)

Crossing the Red Sea

Christ’s Resurrection

Walking in newness of life

4.

Pentecost
(Shavuot)

The Law given on Mt. Sinai

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

The baptism in the Holy Spirit / growing in faith

5.

The Feast of Trumpets
(Rosh HaShanah) 

The Jewish New Year

The resurrection of the dead / rapture

Hearing God’s call in for lives

6.

The Day of Atonement
(Yom Kippur)

Cleansing of sin by high priest

The literal Second Coming of Christ

Yielding our lives to God

7.

Feast of Tabernacles
(Sukkot)

Entering the Promised Land

Christ’s Earthly Reign / Millennium

Having God’s rest in our hearts / day of rest

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