Next I want to look at the 7 God appointed feasts in the Bible found in Leviticus 23, and what they mean historically to the people of Israel as well as prophetically to the Church of Jesus Christ and God’s ultimate plan of salvation for mankind.
God is precise. He’s economical. He wastes nothing. He always seems to have multiple meanings and fulfillments in His ways of saying and doing and being.
It’s never more apparent than in the feasts. It will blow you mind!
The 7 Feasts
God’s plan of salvation is summed up in the 7 feasts found in Leviticus 23. These are God appointed feasts for His people to meet with Him.
As they point back historically to events to be remembered in the Jewish people’s history, they also point forward prophetically to “shadows of things to come” as stated in Colossians 2:16-17. “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality however is found in Christ.”
All 7 feasts were and are previews of coming attractions. 4 have been fulfilled in Christ, with three remaining to be fulfilled.
At the same time they lay out God’s plan of salvation and rescue for mankind, all through Christ.
The word “feast” literally means, “to keep an appointment.” God intends for us to keep our appointments with Him. He made them. We shouldn’t break them.
With that said, let’s look at the 7 appointments God has made for His people.
First Feast – Passover. Exodus 12:1-11 describes the first Passover. “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.”
It was the moment God finally freed the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. The feast was established by God to be remembered every year of God’s redemption. It was prophetically fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah as our Passover Lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins.
Jesus, the Passover Lamb for all of mankind, rode into Jerusalem 4 days before Passover, on the 10th day of the month, on the very day the people were selecting their lambs to be slaughtered as commanded in Exodus 12.
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. John 19:4 says, “Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, Look I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.” Unbeknownst to the people, they were being presented with their final sacrificial Lamb, which they blindly and hatefully rejected, but God, on our behalf, accepted, as the first step in His plan of redemption for mankind.
Jesus, the perfect, spotless, first born, male, sinless Lamb of God was slain on Passover, fulfilling this feast as God’s first step in our salvation.
Second Feast – Unleavened Bread. This feast is celebrated the day after Passover. Historically the people of Israel didn’t have time to make bread with yeast. They were commanded to make in haste unleavened bread (bread without yeast) for their exodus out of Egypt the day after the Passover. This bread is known as Matzo bread. It has 3 pieces (representing in the Church the Trinity). In the feast the middle piece of matzo is taken, broken, and hidden inside a clothe napkin until the end of the meal. At the end of the meal its revealed. This feast was commanded by God to be remembered for the haste of their exodus and God’s faithfulness in releasing them from their bondage of slavery.
Jesus fulfilled this on the very day of the feast when He was broken (crucified), hidden (buried) and then revealed (resurrected). Our communion is a close practice of this. 1 Cor. 11:24, “This is My body which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of Me.”
Yeast, by the way, always represents in God’s Word sin. Yeast when introduced to dough quickly changes the very chemistry of dough, just like sin permeates quickly into our hearts and changes us for the worse if we allow it.
This day after Passover, this Unleavened Bread, pointed prophetically to the Messiah’s yeast-free, sinless life, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was covered and hidden 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.
This is the second feast fulfilled in Christ moving forward God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Unless a seed of kernel falls to the ground, it cannot produce fruit.
Third Feast – First Fruits. Israel, much like most cultures up until the last hundred years or so, was more agricultural than industrial. Many were farmers of food and animals. This appointed feast historically was celebrated on the first day of the week, on a Sunday. It was to celebrate the first fruits of the newly planted harvest. One barley branch, representing the entire harvest, was waived before God in thanks for His faithfulness and in faithful acknowledgment of His continued provision through the rest of the year.
To that end, this feast pointed to Jesus as the first fruits of the harvest of souls at His resurrection. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, on the first day of the week, Sunday, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”
Jesus became the guarantee and the beginning of the final harvest (resurrection) of mankind. This was the third feast that points to God’s salvation for mankind directly fulfilled through and in Christ Jesus.
So we have Jesus death, burial, and resurrection, all fulfilled on the precise day of each festival (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) and all pointing to God’s redemptive plan of salvation for mankind.
Which bring us to our Fourth Feast – Pentecost. God appointed His people to count out 49 days from First Fruits to gather together to celebrate with thanksgiving the “season of the giving of the Law”. This was a high holy day, one of three super feasts (Passover being the first, then Pentecost, and finally Tabernacles). On these 3 major feast days God commanded all males to gather in Jerusalem to give thanks.
Traditionally, Pentecost was first celebrated 50 days after the Exodus when God gave His people the Torah, or the Law. It is considered to be the birth of the nation of Israel, since the law brought all 12 tribes under one corporate umbrella of people.
When the Law was given, fire and noise came from Mt. Sinai. We also see prophetically and similarly that, on the Day to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell, there were cloves of fire upon each head and a sound of a rushing wind came through the place, and the Church was birthed.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who believed and would wait. This event, this day of Pentecost when the Church was birthed, prophetically points to the great harvest of souls, both Jew and Gentile, that would come into the kingdom of God during the Church Age. We are in the age of working in the fields, of reaching and reaping.
The Church was established on this day of Pentecost when Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 souls responded to Peter’s first proclamation of the Gospel.
These first four feast were all fulfilled in Christ on the very days of the feasts, completing the first part of God’s redemptive plan for mankind, all through and in Christ.
So now we have three feasts left to look at, the “fall” feasts”, and three feasts which have yet to be fulfilled in Christ. There’s the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The long interval of three months between Pentecost and Trumpets points to the current Church Age we are in, a period of time that was kept as a mystery to the Hebrew prophets in Old Testament times.
Because Jesus literally fulfilled the first four feasts and did so on the actual feast days, do you 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? None of us can be certain how they will be fulfilled, but it makes sense that they most likely have the following prophetic implications.
Fifth Feast – Rosh HaShanah / Trumpets. This feast was to make an announcement for an assembly, for war, for worship, or for the entrance of the King. It was also a way of proclaiming the New Year, much like the fireworks we launch on our New Year’s Eve celebrations.
In this celebration of the new year before the trumpets could be blown, first the new moon needed to be spotted in the night sky. If it wasn’t seen, then they’d wait until the next night. Once spotted they would run back to the High Priest to announce its sighting, and the High Priest would give the authority to blow the trumpet announcing the new year. That’s why this celebration could last a total of two days or up to 48 hours.
No man knew the day or the hour of the trumpet blast.
Prophetically this points to the Rapture when the Messiah will appear in the heavens as a Bridegroom coming for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet! 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, ““Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15:52, ““in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
This event could happen at any moment. Which means we must be ready. It doesn’t have to happen on the actual days of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah, but it could. Not sure why Jesus would break His perfect string here. It may be tomorrow, may be the next day, it may be next year, maybe be several years, but I do know it’s soon!
This begins the culmination of God’s redemption plan for mankind as Jesus calls His Bride away, creating the catalyst for the period of time known as Jacob’s trouble, the great Tribulation.
Sixth Feast – Yom Kippur / Atonement. Between Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement are called the “Days of Awe”, ten days of introspection and repentance. It is a time of soul searching and making things right with God and one’s neighbor. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. It’s a day to be restored to God as a holy people in service to the Lord.
The high priest would prepare all year long for this day. On this day they would enter into the holy of holies representing the nation to make atonement for their sins before God. They would tie a rope around their ankle, just in case things didn’t go well. That way the people could pull his dead body out of the holy of holies without getting killed themselves.
This process included confession (recognition of our sins), contrition (remorse for our sins), conversion (repentance of our sins), compensation (repayment of our sins), and consecration (dedication beyond our sins).
The Day of Atonement points prophetically to the day of the Second Coming of Messiah when He will return to earth after the Tribulation, judge the nations, and set up His earthly throne and reign. 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, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
Romans 11:1-6; 25-32, ““I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
This is the second to the last festival appointed by God that speaks to God’s salvation plan for mankind. Trumpets and Atonement are yet to be fulfilled in Christ, but prophetically will occur I believe very very soon, which bring us to our final feast, Tabernacles.
So as a review, there’s Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits – Salvation (gaining His people)
Pentecost – Sanctification (grounding His people), along with reaching and reaping
Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles – Glorification (gathering His people)