The seven appointed Feasts

THESE ARE THE APPOINTED FEASTS OF THE LORD, THE HOLY CONVOCATIONS, WHICH YOU SHALL PROCLAIM AT THE TIME APPOINTED FOR THEM … LEVITICUS 23:4

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The 7 holy furnishings showed us the way to approach God in the tabernacle; the 7 branched Menorah signifying our union and relationship with the Lord; the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit reminding us to be His light in this world; the number seven has been depicted as Gods number in the bible time and again.

Genesis 2:2-3 And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had done in creation.

Genesis 7:2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive upon the face of all the earth.

Exodus 22:30 You shall do likewise with your oxen and with your sheep. Seven days it shall be with its dam; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

Exodus 24:16 The Glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes; a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.

Revelation 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God”.

Likewise God also set up seven feasts for His people to celebrate throughout the year, which reveal His redemptive plan of salvation. The first four feasts, which have already been fulfilled in the New Testament, refer to the death, the burial, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit to His apostles.

The final three feasts; the Feast of the Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of the Tabernacles all fall within a short period of 15 days, and heralds the promise of our Lord dwelling with us once again.

  • The Feast of Passover occurs in March/April, the fifteenth day of the first month in the Gregorian calendar when God brought deliverance to His people from the bondage of Egypt, and the blood of the Lamb protected the faithful. In the New Testament Jesus became the Passover lamb and died as a sacrifice for us and delivered us from spiritual bondage.

Leviticus 23:5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening, is the Lord’s Passover.

Exodus 12:5-7 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening. Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them.

Luke 22:14-16 And when the hour came, he sat at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I shall not eat it, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

  • The Feast of the Unleavened Bread On the evening after Passover, God told the people exiting Egypt not to allow their bread to rise, but to collect everything and leave, and in the future they were to commemorate this feast by getting all yeast out of their homes for seven days. This refers to the Messiah’s sinless life, as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible, thus making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was 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.

Leviticus 23:6 – And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.

Yeast represents sin, when you put a little yeast in flour and water it grows – multiplies with each warm second they remain together. Once the yeast is added, there is no way to get it back out. Yes, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a festival that helps us to focus on replacing sin with righteousness, and the only real way to put sin out of our lives is to put Jesus Christ into our lives.

Exodus 12:15-16 – Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses, for if anyone who eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 – Cleanse out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

  • The Festival of the First Fruits (Easter) This feast occurred three days after Passover, and signifies the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this day. On this festival, in the Old Testament God’s people were to bring to God the first thing out of the ground from the spring harvest. Jesus is called the First Fruit of resurrection, He rose from the dead on this very day.

Leviticus 23:9-14  And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give to you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old, without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the cereal offering with it shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the LORD, a pleasing odour; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

1 Corinthians 15:20-21 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

  • The Feast of Pentecost (the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles) Fifty days after First Fruits, there were thunders and lightning’s, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, with a very loud trumpet blast. Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire and the whole mountain quaked violently. There the Lord gave his commandments. ~ Fifty days after Jesus’ death, His spirit came down and gave God’s Word to the People at the Festival of Pentecost. Just before the resurrected Jesus is taken up into heaven, he tells the disciples about the Father’s promised gift of the Holy Spirit, which will soon be given to them in the form of a powerful baptism. He tells them to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will empower them to go out into the world and be his witnesses.

Exodus 20:18-20 When all the people perceived the thundering’s and the lightning’s and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; the people were afraid and trembled, and stood afar and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will hear; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to prove you, and that the fear of him may be before your eyes, that you may not sin”

Acts 1:4-5 And while staying with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard me, for John baptised with water, but before many days you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 2:1-6 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as on fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

  • The Feast of Trumpets occurs in September. This was a time of blowing the trumpets that were often used as a celebration of the returning king. Jesus said that He would one day return as King in all glory, accompanied by the sound of trumpets. This day heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ into this world.

God has always had a heart to warn people before He executes His judgment. The Feast of Trumpets reflects God’s desire to summon His people to repentance so that He can vindicate them on the day of His judgment.

Leviticus 23:23-25 The Lord said to Moses,  “Say to the people of Israel, in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation You shall do no laborious work; and you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.’”

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Lo! I tell you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 But we would not have you ignorant brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangels call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The blowing of the trumpets was understood to be a call to repent and prepare oneself to stand trial before God who would execute His judgment ten days later on the Day of Atonement. The Feast of Trumpets mark the beginning of ten days of consecration and repentance before God.

Revelation 8:1–9:21 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

  • The sixth feast is the Day of Atonement This was the day the priest went into the Holiest place and put his hands on a “scapegoat” to take the consequences of our wrong doing. The goat would then be released into the wilderness as a symbol that we had escaped punishment. Jesus was our scapegoat and great High Priest, who went into the presence of God, placed all our wrong doings upon Himself, and the veil in the tabernacle was split open at his death.

A fundamental human need is to be free, not only from external oppression, but also from the internal burden of sin. Sin alienates us from God and fellow-beings, causing us ultimately to experience eternal death. The Good News of the Gospel is that God through Jesus Christ has made provision to cleanses us from our sin and to restore us to a harmonious relationship with Him.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Day of Atonement was a gracious day each year, what a marvellous provision God made for His people to experience an annual cleansing and a new beginning through His atonement!

Leviticus 16:30 For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord”

  • The 7th and the final feast The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes God’s longing to come and dwell with man. 7 is the number of completion as seen in Genesis 2:2 when God finished his work on the 7th day. The number 7 has a special significance in this final feast, and God commanded Moses to observe it for 7 days. God dwelt with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the Old Testament He again appeared as a cloud over the tabernacle of Moses and dwelt amongst His people. Jesus lived and died amongst the people in the New Testament; and the Feast of Tabernacles is a promise of God dwelling with us once again; but we are to first come out of this world from its sinful and ungodly ways.

Leviticus 23:33-36 The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, on the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the feast of booths to the LORD.  On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. Seven days you shall present offerings by fire to the Lord, on the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work.

Deuteronomy 16:13,15 “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you make your in-gathering from your threshing floor and your wine press. For seven days you shall keep the feast of the LORD your God at the place which the LORD will choose; because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water'”.

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Jesus came and fulfilled all the prophesies as per the Old Testament. These festivals belong to God the Father and Jesus Christ, and are God’s appointed festivals. These days are special to Him because they reveal what His plan for mankind is all about and maps it out very clearly for us. Jesus fulfilled them right on the set calendar dates according to the Old Testament. He entered Jerusalem on the day appointed, as the Suffering Servant riding on a donkey and just as the Passover lambs were being killed, He sacrificed His life for us. We should then endeavour to come out of sin and become like Him and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Festival of First Fruits portrays Jesus as the righteous one; hence he rose up and was lifted into heaven.  Pentecost reflects the Holy Spirit enabling all of us to truly change. The Feast of Trumpets gives us hope that Jesus will return and set all things right again. The Day of Atonement memorializes the time when all evil will be banished, and the nations will at last come to accept Jesus and His atoning sacrifice. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures Jesus dwelling within each one of us.

It is very clear that God wants to save us all. These celebrations offer so much meaning and so much understanding, it is vital to understand it reflects God’s plan for each one of us. As we move forward with understanding the word of God we find ourselves being drawn into a greater and more wonderful reality than we have ever known before.

Holy history is not just a balancing act between the ‘positive’ and the ‘negative’ forces of nature and the spiritual realm, it is controlled by God. It has a beginning and an end; Jesus Christ came to earth as a Little Baby; became the Suffering Servant, and the Sacrificial Lamb. And He will surely reign again as the conquering King, the Judge and ultimate ruler of this world.

What an amazing blessing it is when we see how Jesus Christ fits into all of the of the Old Testament teachings! 

Leviticus 23:37 ‘These are the appointed feasts of the LORD; which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD offerings by fire, burnt offerings and cereal offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day.

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JOHN 14:2-3 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Revelation 21:5-7 And He who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And He said to me: “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son”.

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