The seven feasts were given to the Jews to point them to and prepare them for the coming of the Messiah – the Lord Jesus Christ. It is vital to study the feasts in the light of Christ … “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). Throughout the coming studies we will endeavour to reveal Him in the feasts.
Each feast speaks something of His redemptive work for our salvation.
Each feast must be viewed in the Light of the person of Christ … “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).
Four of the feasts speak of His first coming, these are: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost.
The last three speak of His second coming, these are: Trumpets, Atonement, and Booths.
We will outline the significance of each feast in the studies that follow.
The study of each of these feasts is important for a fuller understanding of our Saviour and what He accomplished for us on the cross.
Few Gentile Christians understand or appreciate what the feasts of Leviticus 23 signify. Too many think that they only apply to the Jews. This approach robs the believer of a wealth of spiritual insight and blessing. We often look to Christ from a New Testament perspective only, but we will obtain a clearer incite to Him by taking advantage of Old Testament prophecy and symbolism.
The Old Testament is inspired too!
Others consider the Old Testament to be outdated and superseded by the New. Such people neither know the Scriptures or the power of God.
Failure to understand or study the feasts removes important scriptural background to the life, death, burial, resurrection, and second advent of Christ.
We must first acknowledge that all Scripture is equally inspired by God … “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Remember, the Old Testament was the Bible used by the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles in bringing souls to salvation.
There are two Hebrew words used in Leviticus for the English translation of “feast” (:2 & :6).
1. “Mo’ed” … This word means “appointed time” or “exact time.” There is nothing haphazard about God’s instructions, commandments and timing. This idea is confirmed in two New Testament verses regarding the Lord Jesus Christ’s first and second advent: “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4), “Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
2. “Chag” … This word means “sacred festival” or “procession.” These feast days were to be considered holy and sanctified by God’s people. They were not simply to be days of obligation observed through duty and ritual, instead God intended them to be days of joyful rest and worship.
Do Gentile Christians have to keep these feast days?
There are many who think that they should. I know of people who blow shofar horns and live in little booths during some Jewish feast days, and think they are being really spiritual. Colossians 2:17 informs us that the law (of which the feasts are a part) are only shadows of the real thing. Those who live by Levitical ceremonies live in the shadows of the truth and place a veil over their eyes, thus hindering the full revelation of Christ. Jesus Christ is the True Light, and we bring that light to bear on the shadows. Once we do this the Old Testament and its prescribed feasts become both meaningful and instructive. The Jew, who does not know Christ as Saviour, does not know the full revelation of the feast days, so they are observed out of tradition and duty, but Christians, who use both Testaments, should grasp the significance of them.