The Feasts of the Lord--Part I

FEASTS OF THE LORD      (most of the following study is taken from The
                         Seven Feasts of the Messiah by Eddie Chumney)
 

HEBREW NAME             ENGLISH NAME            TIME OF OBSERVANCE

1. Pesach               Passover                Nisan 14

2. Hag HaMatzah         Feast of                Nisan 15-21
                        Unleavened Bread

3. Bikkurim             First Fruits (of        The morrow after the
                        the Barley Harvest)     sabbath during
                                                Hag HaMatzah

4. Shavout              Feast of Weeks/         Fifty days from the
                        Pentecost               Feast of First Fruits

5. Yom Teruah           Feast of Trumpets       Tishrei 1
  (Rosh HaShanah)

6. Yom Kippur           Day of Atonement        Tishrei 10

7. Sukkot               Feast of Tabernacles/   Tishrei 15-21
                        Booths
 

THE APPOINTED FEASTS

The Festivals of the Lord found in Leviticus, chapter 23, were given to
us by God so His people could understand the coining of the Messiah and
the role that the Messiah would play in redeeming and restoring both man
and the earth back to God following the fall of Man in the Garden of
Eden.

The Festivals are divided into two major portions, depending upon
whether they occur in the spring or the fall.  The Spring Festivals
teach about the First Coming of the Messiah, and the Fall Festivals
teach about the Second Coming of the Messiah.  During the course of the
year, the rains come in Israel at two primary times - the spring and the
fall.  In Hosea 6:3 we read- "...His going forth is established as the
morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former
rain to the earth."  The "latter and former rain" in this passage is
commonly interpreted and understood to be the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The "former and latter" rain also refers to the First and Second Coming
of the Messiah.  The Hebrew word for the former rain, found also in Joel
2:23, is 'moreh', which means "teacher".  Jesus, the teacher, was sent
by God to the earth to faithfully teach us righteousness, just as God
faithfully sends us the rain. (Isaiah 55:10-11)  The harvest (believers
in Christ) is the product that the rain (Jesus) produces.

The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 2:16-17 refers to the Feasts as a
"shadow of things to come."  The first four Feasts or Festivals, which
are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost, primarily
teach about the significant events in the First Coming of the Messiah
and why these events were an important part of God's redemption of man.

The last three Feasts, which are the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) also
known as Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast
of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot), give us a fascinating insight
concerning important events that surrond the Second Coming of the
Messiah.  God gave the Festivals to teach about the death, burial, and
resurrection of the Messiah, the empowering of the believers by the Holy
Spirit, the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah, the
wedding of the Messiah (which we have already outlined in a previous
study, but will include portions here as well), the Millennium, and much
more.

The Bible also provides some powerful reasons for studying and
understanding the Seven Festivals of the Messiah:

-The Feasts are in the Bible, and all the Bible is inspired by God.
 (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

-The Feasts are a shadow of things to come that teach us about the
Messiah.  (Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:1)
 

-God gave the Feasts so we could learn and understand God's plan of
redemption for the world and our personal relationship to Him.
 (Romans 15:4)
 

THE BIBLICAL CALENDAR AND THEIR MONTH OF THE YEAR

                                        MONTH OF        MONTH OF
NAMES OF MONTH          OUR MONTH       CIVIL YEAR      SACRED YEAR

Tishrei                 Sep             1st             7th

Cheshvan                Oct             2nd             8th

Kislev                  Nov             3rd             9th

Tevet                   Dec             4th             10th

Shevat                  Jan             5th             11th

Adar                    Feb             6th             12th

Nisan (Aviv)            Mar             7th             1st

Iyar                    Apr             8th             2nd

Sivan                   May             9th             3rd

Tammuz                  June            10th            4th

Av                      July            11th            5th

Elul                    Aug             12th            6th
 

To fully understand the Feasts being appointed times given by God, it is
important to understand the Biblical Calendar that God gave to us.
There are two primary calendars in the Bible.  The first one is called
the Civil Calendar and is used from Genesis 1:1 to Exodus 12.  The first
month in the Civil Calendar is Tishrei.  Rosh HaShanah, or the Jewish
New Year, the first day in the Civil Calendar, is the beginning of the
New Year.  The second calendar in the Bible is the Religious Calendar.
The Religious Calendar is used from Exodus 12 to Revelation 22.  God
established the Religious Calendar in Exodus 12:2- "This month shall be
your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to
you."  The month that God was referring to was the month which is called
Nisan.  Prior to God establishing the month of Nisan as the first month
in the Religious Calendar, Nisan was the seventh month in the Civil
Calendar.  God gave the Religious Calendar so that we could understand
that these Feasts, which He gave and which are His appointed times and
foreshadow important events in redemption, would happen on the days He
ordained on the Religious Calendar.  These important days on the
Religious Calendar are the same days that He gave as Festivals in
Leviticus, chapter 23.
 

HISTORICAL APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS

FEAST                   HISTORICAL APSECT

1. Passover             Israel's deliverance out of Egyptian bondage

2. Unleavened Bread     The going out of Egypt

3. First Fruits         Crossing the Red Sea

4. Pentecost            Giving the Commandments at Mount Sinai

5. Rosh HaShanah        Blowing the 'Shofar' (trumpet)
  (Feast of Trumpets)   Jewish New Year

6. Day of Atonement     Priest entered the Holy of Holies
                        Cleansing of the people's sins

7. Tabernacles          Entering the Promised Land/Great Rejoicing
 

MESSIANIC APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS

FEAST                   MESSIANIC FULFILLMENT

1. Passover             Death of Christ on the Cross (tree)

2. Unleavened Bread     The burial of Jesus

3. First Fruits         The resurrection of Jesus

4. Pentecost            Pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)

5. Rosh HaShanah        The resurrection of the dead/
  (Feast of Trumpets)   Rapture of the believers

6. Day of Atonement     The day of Christ's Second Coming

7. Tabernacles          The Messianic Era/Millennium
 

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION OF THE FEASTS

FEAST                   SPIRITUAL APPLICATION

1. Passover             Repent and trust by faith in
                        the shed blood of Jesus

2. Unleavened Bread     Sanctification and separation from evil
                        represented by water immersion (baptism)

3. First Fruits         Walking in newness of life

4. Pentecost            Immersion (baptism) in the Holy Spirit
                        and faith in God

5. Rosh HaShanah        Hear the calling (shofar (trumet)) of
  (Feast of Trumpets)   God for our lives

6. Day of Atonement     Yielding ourselves to God so that we may
                        live (face to face) in His Presence

7. Tabernacles          A daily rest in the Messiah and having the
                        rest of His Kingdom in our hearts
 

SIGNIFICANCE IN BRIEF

1. Passover             Reminds us that God is the forgiver of sin who
                        grants us eternal life in His Kingdom through
                        the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Passover

2. Unleavened Bread     Depicts putting sin out of our lives

3. First Fruits         Christ, the firstfruits risen from the dead,
                        afterward, those who are Christ's at His Coming

4. Pentecost            Serves to remind us that our Creator still works
                        miracles, empowering us to carry out His work
                        in this world

5. Rosh HaShanah        Looks forward to the return of Jesus Christ
  (Feast of Trumpets)   (rapture of the Church), and to the resurrection
                        of the "dead in Christ" -the hope of Christians

6. Day of Atonement     Pictures the loving reconciliation we have with
                        God, made possible through Christ's sacrifice
                        It also shows the remarkable truth that Satan
                        will eventually be removed so that humanity can
                        at last attain reconciliation with God on a
                        universal basis

7. Tabernacles          Represents the Millenium, the reign of Christ on
                        Earth for 1,000 years of true happiness and
                        utopia
 

OVERVIEW OF THE SPRING FESTIVALS

The four Spring Festivals are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits,
and the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.

These four Spring Festivals are joined together as an interrelated unit.
The Feast of Weeks is considered the conclusion to Passover.  The season
of Passover is not considered totally over until Pentecost is completed.

Passover begins in Egypt (a type of the world), where the children of
Israel had become slaves.  In the days of Joseph, there was a famine in
Israel and the children of Israel went down to Egypt and gave themselves
to rulership under Pharoah.  Because of this, Pharoah had legal
ownership over the people.  This ownership could be broken only by the
death of Pharoah, thus freeing the children of Israel to go to the
Promised Land.  When Pharoah died, his rulership over the children of
Israel was legally broken and the people were free to go to the Promised
Land.

Spiritually speaking, Pharoah is a type of Satan.  Until you accept
Jesus into your life, Satan has legal ownership over you.  By the death
of Jesus, the legal ownership that Satan has over our lives is broken
and we are free to enter into the spiritual promised land of God and
receive all the promises that He has promised to us.

>From the crossing of the Red Sea (Nisan 17) to the day Moses met God on
Mount Sinai were 47 days.  For 47 days the children of Israel traveled
through the wilderness before they came to Mount Sinai on the third day
of the third month. (Exodus 19:1)  God instructed the people through
Moses to sanctify themselves before He visited them three days later on
Mount Sinai, which would be the sixth day of the third month. (Exodus
19:10-11)  This day would be the fiftieth day following the crossing of
the Red Sea.  It came to be known as the revelation of God at Mount
Sinai.  This day, being the fiftieth day from the crossing of the Red
Sea on Nisan 17 would be the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.

>From the Exodus story, we can see tht the Lamb was slain on the
fourteenth of Nisan, the day of Passover.  On the fifteenth of Nisan,
the day of Unleavened Bread, the people left Egypt. On the seventeenth
of Nisan the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and 50 days later
on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, God gave Moses the Commandments.

In the studies of the Feasts that will follow, we will see how Jesus
died on Passover (Nisan 14), was in the sepulcher on the day of
Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), and was resurrected on the day of First
Fruits (Nisan 17), and the Holy Spirit empowered the believers 50 days
following Jesus resurrection on the day of Pentecost.  We will also
learn what these Feasts mean to the believer and how they relate to our
personal relationship with God.
 

OVERVIEW OF THE FALL FESTIVALS

The Fall Festival season begins with a 40 day period called, in Hebrew,
'Teshuvah', which means "to repent or return".  This 40 day period
begins in the sixth month of the Religious Calendar, and concludes on
the tenth day of the seventh month, which is Yom Kippur, the Day of
Atonement.  Each morning in the synagogue following the morning prayers,
a trumpet (shofar) is blown (except on sabbaths and the day preceding
Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets). The Biblical name for Rosh
HaShanah is Yom Terah, which means "the day of the awakening blast".  We
call it the Feast of Trumpets.  God gave us this day to teach us about
the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah, the wedding
of the Messiah, and more.  This day is both the Jewish New Year and the
beginning of a period of soul searching known as the High Holy Days,
culminating on Yom Kippur.  Therefore, the last 10 days of the 40 day
period of Teshuvah or repentance, is also called the high Holy Days.

The first and second days of the 10 High Holy Days (Tishrei 1-10) are
collectively known as one day. (Nehemiah 8:1-2,13)  The seven day period
from Tishrei 3 through Tishrei 9 is called the Days of Awe or the
Awesome Days.  God gave these special days on His calendar to teach us
about the future tribulation period on earth.  These seven days will
correspond to the seven years of the tribulation, known in Hebrew as the
"birthangs of the Messiah".

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is observed on the tenth day of the
seventh month. (Leviticus 23:26-32)  Since Rosh HaShanah teaches us
about the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah and
the wedding of the Messiah, and the Days of Awe teach us about the
tribulation, Yom Kippur teaches us about the literal Second Coming of
the Messiah when He will setHis foot down of the Mount of Olives.
(Zechariah 14:4)

The Feast of Tabernacles is observed the fifteenth day of the seventh
month of Tishrei to the twenty first day.  This Festival teaches us the
joy of the Messianic Kingdom or the Millennium.

There are four important aspects to remember when dealing with each of
the seven Great Festivals of the Lord:

1.  All of the Festivals are, at the same time, both historical and
prophetic.

2.  All of the Festivals teach about the Messiah, or Jesus.

3.  All of the Festivals are agricultural in context.

4.  All of the Festivals teach about your personal relationship with
God     and how you are to walk with Him as you grow in the knowledge
of     Him, from being a baby believer to a mature believer.
 

THE MEANING OF THE WORD "FEAST" IN THE BIBLE

There are two important Hebrew words that appear in Leviticus, chapter
23, and each word is translated as 'feast' in English.  In verse 2, the
word for feast is the Hebrew word 'mo'ed'- "Speak unto the children of
Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts (mo'ed) of the Lord..."
The word 'mo'ed' means an appointment, a fixed time or season, a cycle
or year, an assembly, an appointed time, a set time or exact time.  By
understanding the Hebrew meaning of the English word "feast", we can see
that God is telling us that He is ordaining a "set time or exact time or
an appointed time" when He has an apointment with humanity to fulfill
certain events in the redemption.  Jesus came to earth at the exact time
ordained by God as Paul wrote in Galations 4:4, and God has an exact
time or set appointment when, in the future, He will judge the world as
written in Acts 17:31.

In verse 6 is another Hebrew word translated as "feast"- "And on the
fifteenth day of the same month is the feast (chag) of unleavened
bread..."  The Hebrew word 'chag', which means a "festival", is derived
from the Hebrew root word 'chagag', which means to move in a circle, to
march in a sacred procession, to celebrate, dance, to hold a solemn
feast or holiday.  God gave the Festivals as cycles to be observed
yearly so that, by doing them, we can understand God's redemptive plan
for the world, the role that the Messiah would play in that redemtion,
and our personal relationship to God concerning how we grow from a baby
Bible believer to a mature Bible believer.
 

THREE TIMES A YEAR THEY WERE TO ASSEMBLE

There are a total of seven Feasts (the divine number for perfection or
completeness in the Bible).  God divided the seven Festivals into three
major Festival seasons.  The Feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and
First Fruits are in the Hebrew month of Nisan, which is the first month
of God's Religious Calendar in the spring of the year.  The Feast of
Weeks, or Pentecost, is observed in the third month which is the Hebrew
month of Sivan.  The Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles are
observed in the seventh month of Tishrei, which is in the fall of the
year.  Three is the number of complete and perfect testimony and
witness. (2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 John 5:8)  So the Feasts are a witness
to God's divine plan and the role of Messiah fulfilling that plan.
 

UNDERSTANDING THE FEASTS

In Leviticus 23:2 it is written, "...the feasts of the Lord, which ye
shall proclaim to be holy convocations..."  The Hebrew term translated
as convocation in Leviticus 23:2,4 is 'miqra', which means "a
rehearsal".  God gave the Festivals to be yearly "rehearsals" of the
future events in the redemption.  Because God gave the "rehearsals" to
teach us about the major events in the redemption, if we want to
understand those events, then we need to understand what God was
teaching us by these rehearsals.  We will do this in the study as we get
into the Feasts themselves.

The Feasts of the Lord--Part II

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