Introduction

 

The seven feasts of Israel are listed in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. They were not all feasts, as we think of the word feast. However, they were all observances in which the people of Israel were called together by the Lord.

Here is the list of the seven feasts, as found in the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 23:

Passover—In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s Passover (verse 5).

Unleavened Bread—And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread (verse 6).

Firstfruits—Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When ye be come into the land that I give to you, and will reap the harvest thereof, then ye will bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest (verse 0).

Pentecost—And ye will count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths will be complete: even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath will ye number fifty days; and ye will offer a new meat offering to the Lord (verses 15,16).

Trumpets—Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, will ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation (verse 24).

Day of Atonement—Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there will be a day of atonement: it will be an holy convocation to you; and ye will afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord (verse 27).

Tabernacles—Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month will be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the Lord (verse 34).

The seven feasts of Israel were grouped into three great annual convocations.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

In terms of our present calendar, the three annual celebrations were as follows:

1. Passover

2. Unleavened Bread— FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (March/April)

3. Firstfruits

4. Pentecost — FEAST OF WEEKS, or PENTECOST (May)

5. Trumpets

6. Day of Atonement— FEAST OF TABERNACLES (September/October)

7. Tabernacles

Do you see how the seven feasts were grouped into three major celebrations?

Now, let us show how our Christian experience is revealed in the three major celebrations of Israel. The spiritual applications are as follows:

FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD—initial salvation; becoming a Christian; the born-again experience.

FEAST OF PENTECOST—the baptism with the Holy Spirit; wisdom and power for bearing witness, for ministry, and for righteous, holy behavior.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES—the realm of victorious Christian living; being changed into the image of Christ; the fullness of fruitfulness; dominion over every enemy; complete union and rest in the Godhead.

Let us further break down the three annual celebrations into their seven parts, showing what they mean to Christians.

1. Passover—Christ on the cross; eating the Lord’s Supper; protection from judgment through the blood of Jesus, the slain Lamb of God.

2. Unleavened Bread—Christ in the heart of the earth; water baptism; death to the world; crucifixion with Christ; sincere repentance.

3. Firstfruits—Christ raised from the dead; our resurrection with Christ; the born-again experience.

4. Pentecost—Christ sends to us the Holy Spirit; the former and latter rain; the baptism with the Holy Spirit; the law of the Spirit of life; mighty signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the Word of God; the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.

5. Trumpets—Christ, the King, returns; the Day of the Lord; rulership of Christ over the earth; the emerging spiritual life of the saint; Christ declares war on the wickedness in the saints; the New Year of the Kingdom of God; raising up the army of the Lord.

6. Day of Atonement—Christ forgives and cleanses all who come to Him; the Holy Spirit deals with sin in the disciple; the saints confess and forsake their sins under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; putting to death the deeds of the body; the eternal judgment of evil spirits; the saint is transformed into the image of Christ; Year of Jubilee; the cleansing of God’s Temple, the Body of Christ; the marriage of the Lamb.

7. Tabernacles—Christ and the Father dwell in the Christian; the "rest" of God; the redemption of the physical body; the completion of the work of redemption; Paul’s mark; the new Jerusalem; the fullness of the Presence and Glory of God; the revelation of the marriage of the Lamb.

The seven feasts of Israel are an Old Testament portrayal of God’s plan of redemption through Christ. God’s plan of redemption is based on and always works through Christ—the slain Lamb of God who was raised from the dead.

To redeem is to buy back or to seize by force some person or thing that has been brought into bondage and to restore that person or thing to his or its original inheritance or place.

Satan (always under God’s supervision) has brought every person, and the whole earth as well, into the bondage and darkness of sin and death. Christ leads out of bondage and darkness every person who comes to Him and guides the believer into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

As we outline the fulfillment in the individual Christian of the seven feasts of Israel, please keep in mind that God’s love has directed that we are to look steadfastly to Christ, walking before Him continually so the Holy Spirit may bring us to maturity in Christ.

The role of the Holy Spirit is similar to that of Eliezer of Damascus, who brought the fair Rebecca from her home and took her on a journey through territory unknown to her until finally she arrived in the presence of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Isaac is a figure of the Lord Jesus who Himself is the mark, the goal, the end of our quest.

The pattern of the seven feasts indicates that the Christian redemption is not a once-for-all happening. Although the beginning of salvation in a person’s life takes place in a moment, a decisive, clear-cut act, the work of redemption includes a continuing development, a growth to maturity.

The covering Passover blood is the initial gift of redemption, the acceptance of which is the first step of the person entering salvation. The feast of Tabernacles, the last of the celebrations, is the fullness, the dwelling in us of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

Salvation has a definite beginning and a definite ending, an alpha and an omega. Redemption has an ending in the sense of a coming of age, a maturing. Maturity in Christ is a goal worth pressing toward (Ephesians 4:13).

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